Pre and During Show Tips
For beginner fashion show photographers, a few tips we can share is try to and get centre position in the photography pack. The Official Photographer usually has this spot, so if they are there, be respectful of their obligations to the client and designers.
Have an assortment of lenses, we prefer to use prime lenses. It’s an advantage to have more than one camera body with primes. We always carry two bodies each and a number of lenses at the ready. Be quick at changing lenses as they runway action is pretty fast. Very exciting. Or stick to zoom otherwise.
Shoot in manual mode, we prefer to use 1/400 minimum and with professional lenses f/2.8 upwards, you’ll get great sharp shots at most shows with a good lighting setup. The lighting is usually either very warm light, about 3000 lumen, tungsten or (not our favourite) LED spot lights that can have very defined peeks in the light band. Check the histogram with these and you’ll see the weird look they can give.
Photography Techniques for Runway Fashion
Fashion show photography techniques vary between photographers. Some use their cameras like rattle guns. No need to. Pick your shots and stick to the photography brief. It’s not the most amount of photos, it’s the best photos that get remembered.
Runway photos by the top photographers are obvious to the trained eye. To the casual observer they’ll just look good without knowing the technicalities of each shot.
Composition is always of prime consideration.
What is particular to fashion event show photos are that both feet should be near to making contact with the floor. No souls of shoes showing. Front on photos should have the one foot directly in front of the other. That will give the female models an accentuated hour glass figure.
Take shots to the rhythm of the music as the models will use the beat as cues for pacing their walk. The Models strut at the end of the runway will be different to when they strike a pose.
Experienced models will hold their look at the photographers, take photos of them looking straight into the lens, you’ve only got half a second. When they turn to head back. Remember to capture shots of the outfits, hair and accessories from the back.
Flash / Speed lights at Fashion Shows
Don’t use a flash, in Sydney using a speed-light / flash has always been a no no. Imagine what it’s like for the models to walk down the runway while having very directional spot lights right in their eyes multiplied by 20 photographers flashes going off. Not a good experience for them or for the spectators.
As mentioned already, catwalks are fairly bright with hopefully quality light so use a modern camera and adjust the ISO, aperture and shutter speed to suit. No flash photography required.
And certainly a lot easier to balance the colour light temperature (called kelvin). Remember, the designers would like to see their garments in photos represented in the correct shades of colour to match real life examples. Not various other hues.
Backstage Photos Tips
Backstage photography is also an essential part of the capturing fashion shows. Accredited photographers may also have access to this area. Being mindful of the sensitivities of being backstage is very important. You may inadvertently take photos of people in the background getting changed so always be careful when composing the main subject and what is happening behind them.
Take close up detail makeup shots, photos of their hair being prepared, including the skilled talent of makeup artists and hair creatives.
Include photos with the outfits’ designers perfecting their creations. All these types of shots should be included in your shot list. You can also try for wide room shots to capture the scale of the backstage area.