Ian Hippolyte

A model with long brown hair, bright yellow eye shadow and wearing a shirt and tie underneath a short silver dress, leans across an office desk in a fashion portrait taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Ian Hippolyte.

"What really sparked my passion for photography was film," reveals fashion photographer Ian Hippolyte. "Most people tend to start with photography." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 35mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5 and ISO 400. © Ian Hippolyte

"What really excites me about fashion photography is the fantasy," begins London-based fashion photographer Ian Hippolyte, who has shot for magazines including GQ, institutions such as the Royal Opera House and record labels, including Atlantic Records and Sony Music – all attracted to his bold, polished and dark-edged signature style.

Born in Saint Lucia but raised in London, Ian says the capital's richly diverse mix of cultures fostered his artistic upbringing. "There are times when the city can feel alive and vibrant and other times where it's dark and moody," he says. "There's always a juxtaposition of glamour with grit and I think this is reflected in how I approach my work."

While Ian's background helped provide a rich tapestry of inspiration, he reveals that it was also an obstacle when breaking into the industry. "The biggest challenge I've faced is being working class," he says. "Being able to create art simply for the sake of it is a privilege. A lot of people from working class backgrounds can't afford to do this as we rely on our art forms to make a living, so we don't have the ability to invest in a ton of personal projects and travel around the world finding ourselves. Anything I invest in as an artist has to be commercially viable so that I can continue to live, as I don't have anything or anyone to fall back on.

"Being black is also a challenge that I face. Fortunately, we've seen a lot of movement and push for diversity across the industries over recent years, which is great, but we are still decades behind."

A portrait of Canon Ambassador Ian Hippolyte.
Location: London, England

Specialist areas: Fashion, portrait, beauty

Favourite kit: Canon EOS R5
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L III USM
A model wearing a short silver dress and a head-covering of pearls poses for the camera against a black background in this slightly blurred image taken on a Canon EOS R5 by Ian Hippolyte.

"I'm always learning and studying the great photographers who came before me," Ian enthuses. "I try to implement new techniques in each shoot and focus on the details." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 59mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 160. © Ian Hippolyte

A black and white portrait of a model wearing an elaborate feathered headdress and a long, fitted dress against a stark white background, taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Ian Hippolyte.

"With experience, I've grown a lot in confidence and so I feel more comfortable on set and I'm able to pivot and adapt where necessary," says Ian. "I also work with assistants now, so I can focus less on logistics and more on connecting with my subject and getting the best images possible." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 30mm, 1/200 sec, f/8 and ISO 160. © Ian Hippolyte

Ian's love of photography stems as far back as he can remember, to when he first experimented with using a camera phone to capture macro shots. At 14, it became clear his mobile was no longer fulfilling his creative needs so Ian's parents bought him a Canon EOS 600D.

"I made YouTube vlogs and started taking photos of my friends, trying out different shooting techniques," he says. "But after studying film when I was 16, I quickly realised that I was drawn more towards the aesthetic, visual side [of image-making]. I loved the idea of capturing a singular moment that looks beautiful but could also tell a story if you look at it for a little while longer."

Ian's Instagram photos quickly garnered attention, leading to paid gigs, from which he reinvested his earnings into test shoots with agency models to boost his portfolio and attract more clients.

Set against a colourful orange background, a model wearing an off-the-shoulder dress and with her head turned to the right is captured from behind. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Ian Hippolyte.

"From a photography perspective, I usually start with a lighting idea and will draw it out as a diagram for each setup," says Ian. "From there, I'll figure out what equipment I need." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 61mm, 1/5 sec, f/8 and ISO 160. © Ian Hippolyte

A portrait of a woman wearing black sunglasses, a tight black suit and large gold earrings against a blue background. Her eyes can be seen looking upwards. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV by Ian Hippolyte.

Commenting on what makes his images unique, Ian says: "It's a combination of all the elements: lighting, colour, subjects, posing and so on. It's really a reflection of how I see the world and what feels right to me." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 110mm, 1/200 sec, f/8 and ISO 250. © Ian Hippolyte

A central theme in Ian's work is his ability to depict strength, particularly when photographing women. "Strength can be shown in different forms," he says. "It can be shown through power, through sexuality, through vulnerability."

His mastery of colour and light serve as other cornerstones of his distinctive style. "Lighting is something I'm very meticulous about as it really shapes how we see things and the little details can make a big difference to the overall image," he adds. "I love to include deep, rich colours in my work. Red is a particular favourite. You won't find many pastels over here!"

How did you master your craft?

"I learnt through doing! I would just experiment with the camera and anything I wasn't sure about I'd Google or watch a YouTube video. I learned a lot through various online creators and courses. It was really exciting to see how others worked and I implemented some of their techniques. I also researched the work of photographers I admired and simply studied the photographs to figure out what kind of lens they shot with, what lighting was used and so on."

What are you looking for in a shot?

"That moment where everything aligns – the light, the pose, the garment, the subject's expression. Everything has to line up to create 'that' photograph, so sometimes it takes a little bit of playing around to get into the rhythm and capture the moment."

What do you think separates you from other fashion photographers?

"Just my vision; everyone sees things differently. We all have access to the same tools and the knowledge is out there, but the results can vary drastically as our vision is different."

What do you do to ensure your style stays current and in demand?

"I'm always keeping an eye on what's new and what's happening in the world of fashion. I'm also always looking for new teams with whom I can collaborate, who can contribute different ideas and perspectives."

What's been your most memorable shoot to date?
"Shooting for an outerwear brand on the Isle of Skye in Scotland was pretty eventful. Standing on the side of a mountain, in the rain, wind blowing, feet soaking wet. A far cry from the comfort of my London studio."

And finally, where do you hope your career will take you next?

"To the pages of Vogue! It's always been my dream to have a Vogue fashion story. I'd also like to travel more and shoot in different cities around the world."

One thing I know

Ian Hippolyte

"In terms of challenges I've faced, I found the fashion industry is a very closed club and they only let one person in at a time unless you can pay your way in or know the person working the door. I've felt ignored at times by the industry so have had to constantly remind myself that my work is valid and I deserve to be here as much as anyone else."

Instagram: @ianhippo


YouTube: @ianhippolyte

Ian Hippolyte's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Ian Hippolyte's kitbag containing Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.


Canon EOS R5

Whether you are shooting stills, video or a mix of both, the hybrid mirrorless EOS R5 can do it all. "I love the image quality this camera produces – the resolution and detail in images shot on the EOS R5 is insane," says Ian. "The autofocus is also amazing for fast-paced fashion shoots; the eye-tracking has completely elevated the way I shoot."

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Capable of outstanding results thanks to its 30.4 MP CMOS sensor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will always have a special place in Ian's kitbag. "It is a very reliable camera body, delivering amazing image quality, and has a rapid and responsive autofocus system with lots of points to choose from."


Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Delivering crystal clear optics in almost every shooting environment, the EF 24-70mm is "the lens I use 90% of the time", says Ian. "The ability to quickly zoom in from a wide angle to capture a portrait means I don't have to spend time changing lenses and I can also shoot in natural light as it stops down to f/2.8."

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L III USM

Offering a f/2.8 maximum aperture, the EF 70-200mm is a boon for emphasising super-sharp subjects against a defocused backdrop, which is precisely why Ian likes to use this lens on location and for beauty. "The zoom and aperture allow me to get an incredible shallow depth of field and a telephoto 'look', isolating the subject from the background," he says.


Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

An adapter that makes it not just possible but easy to continue using EF lenses with EOS R System cameras. "It's such a useful tool that allows me to use all my favourite EF lenses with my Canon EOS R5," says Ian.

Related articles

Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego

Canon Europe Ambassador Programme

Find out how the ambassador programme works, and meet the phenomenal photographers chosen to represent Canon.

Canon Professional Services

Members get access to CPS Priority Support, both locally and at major events; a priority Fast Track repair service; and — depending on your level of membership — free back-up equipment loans plus return shipping and discounts on maintenance. They can also enjoy exclusive members’ offers.