What is Fashion Photography?
Asking, what are the types of fashion photography is a fair question as these head terms can have many strands. One style that many people know of is Editorial fashion photography. Back in the day when all photos were printed, either in single prints or in hard copy magazines you’d see lots in this style.
Some Designers and Brands are focused on Street Fashion, others High Fashion. Catalogue Photography is a specific niche that’s made it big in the last 10 years for online shopping websites. Jewellery fashion is another types some photographers specialise in.
Runway, Catwalk or Pageant?
We refer to runway, catwalk modelling and photography as one and the same. Both have models usually strutting along an elevated platform. Not always as yo can see below. If the runway is very long or the event budget doesn’t allow for hiring the platform then it’s at ground level. The first row of VIP seats are usually set further back. The benefit of this style of runway is that the coasts are lower to run the event, no stairs for models to navigate and importantly, the length of the Runway / Catwalk can be very long. Fashion buyers, magazine editors, fashion bloggers can spread themselves out and get a greater vantage point.
Pageants, also have models walking back and forth but in this style it’s more about the person, their character, energy, smile, eye contact rather than about garments, jewellery and accessories. There’s more personal style and elegance about them. Their everyday humaneness and usually they get to make a short speech about something they are passionate about. Modelling with a different purpose.
Pre and During Show Tips
For beginner fashion show photographers, a few tips we can share is try to 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 if go 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 photos is, both fee 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 when they strike a pose.
Experienced models will hold their look at a few 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 / Speedlights 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. 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 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. If you can also try for wide room shots to capture the scale of the backstage area.
Fashion Photography Prices & Rates
Fashion show pricing & rates will vary just like any other high production event. Always best to get a quote after the photographer brief and shot list is created. How many hours will the photographer be on location? Are you hiring the photographer per hour or on half / full day rates. What level of post production is required for the files being delivered. And also how far is the venue for the photographer to travel too. Generally, fashion show photography rates will be between $600 to $1440, this covers from a few short hours to a full 8 hour day on location.
Australian Fashion Council
For more information on Australian fashion head over to the Australian Fashion Council website and check out their upcoming list of fashion show events.
The Fashion Council of Australia focus on the fashion supply chain to promote Australian industry from students to major suppliers. Specifically the Fashion Council is all about; Design and Innovation, Supply chain, ethical practice, nurturing local businesses and growing our exports. One key activity of special interest are their Trade Events and Networking ↗ Australia once had a substantial thriving locally manufactured textile and fashion industry so it would be great to see the majority of our quality garments made locally.