A Little Information
About The Big Show
You want to know my truth about shooting fashion shows? I don’t shoot them! Seriously. But I have shot them in the past, especially when I was first starting out in my career. The thing is, if you’re a fashion photographer, it’s going to come up. You’re going to get offered the gig at some point. Or a designer friend is going to need a favor and you won’t want to turn them down. Or maybe you really want to head in that direction with your career. For me, I’ve gotten to the place now where I will kindly refuse the gig because I just don’t enjoy shooting them.
I find them tedious and I hate standing around with a bunch of other photographers trying to get the “best shot” which ends up looking pretty much like the shots of the photographers standing to the left and right of me. I can’t help but feel that “paparazzi” thing either. The lighting is out of my control (and you know by now how much of a “light freak” I am.) The music is so loud sometimes, I can’t think. There’s no elbow room for error and it doesn’t pay that well. What’s the glory in all of it then? I don’t know. I would rather be sitting in the front row with a good view of the latest designs that will be strutting down the runway. I LOVE fashion design. Remember, I was originally going to become a fashion designer before I fell in love with photography. So for me, watching the show is way more fun than shooting it. BUT……..That’s just me! If you are planning on shooting a fashion show in the near future, here’s a few tips and links to some very useful posts and sites about the subject.
1. Cover your ass! Bring an extra camera body for two reasons: A. So you can mount two different lens to get two different shots of the same outfit. B. Murphy’s Law: if your primary camera for whatever reason on Earth decides not to work at the exact minute the show starts, you can switch to your back up with very minimal stressing out.
2. Depending on where you’re going to be standing, you’ll want to use a zoom lens with a range from between 24mm to 105mm. This is going to be a rare moment when I am actually going to advise using zoom lenses. They’re just more accommodating for this kind of shoot. Usually they place photographers at the end of the runway. You’ll want to get a full length shot of the model, a 3/4 shot, possibly a turning shot or back shot and hopefully a nice face shot, especially if the model’s wearing some great jewelry pieces or accessories.
3. Bring a mono-pod. Save your arm. You can also use it as a weapon if one of those other aforementioned photographers gets out of hand. Seriously, I’ve seen it happen. I am only joking, but I’ve seen photographers go at it with their mono-pods. Uh….in my opinion, a fashion show is not really that important to get into a blood bath over.
4. Make sure you have one of those on-camera flashes. With back up batteries. You can never count on their lighting set up.
5. Bring plenty of memory cards. They fill up fast!
6. Why not! Go ahead and shoot in auto-focus. I would.
I found this post on DPS had some really useful tips on shooting fashion shows: How to Shoot A Fashion Show. Fashion shows DO have a lot of energy. The music is loud and usually upbeat, the models are fun to watch, the clothes are usually more theatrical and dramatic. Here’s a link to the Spring 2009 Chanel Show. They did things a little different at this show but you can jump on to style.com’s site and check out any number of other designer shows. Personally, I just happen to enjoy watching the shows more than shooting them. But again, that’s just me. To each his own and that’s what makes the world go around! If you have had some experience in shooting runways shows, leave a comment for the other readers. Your input is really welcomed!