Hi there FashionPhotographyBlog.com readers, today we have a Peter Werner on our site. He has been a long time follower of FPBlog for many years and took time out of his day to write us a response to an article we posted before titled on how to shoot fashion shows. We at FPBlog thought that his reply had great insights and brought another viewpoint to our previous post, that we want to share it with you, because we know it will be useful to photographers currently shooting at fashion events, or thinking about doing it soon.
We have invited Peter Werner to share with our community, his tips for shooting at fashion events so photographers can get a sneak peak into what to expect as well as how to prepare themselves so they don’t miss great photo moments in the middle of all the commotion at fashion events.
Just a word of warning before we dive into Peter’s tips – fashion shows and fashion events may not be suited for everyone. There are lots of people running around at these fashion events; triggers are going off everywhere, peak noise levels and you are constantly on your feet lugging around your photography gear. Then again, you could be an adventure seeker and live for the adrenaline rush. We just want you to be wary so you can be on point, focused on the shooting great photos and not getting distracted by all the commotion all around you. The stage is now all yours, Peter!
Fashion Events: How To Shoot Without The Stress
Thanks for the post (great stuff as usual)! I haven’t shot a fashion show yet, but I have shot several other types of fashion events so far. I absolutely hate it, too, but I think it is very good training for problem-solving when you have to move fast on a regular photo shoot. Here are a few things I have learned the hard way:
1. Don’t use the biggest memory card you have. If it dies or gets stolen, all your photos will be lost, and that’s a great way to destroy all the reputation you have built. Instead, use smaller ones.
2. If one memory card is full, continue shooting with your other camera body until you have time to change cards, don’t trade important moments for a card change.
3. Keep the full memory cards and the empty ones in separate pockets so you don’t lose time by re-inserting a full one by accident.
4. Use the two-pocket system for your flash batteries.
5. Don’t waste time deleting failures. You are very likely to miss your second chance to get it right.
6. Only check your images occasionally to make sure nothing is wrong (like a leftover exposure compensation or something like that). But don’t look at every single image you take right away.
7. Do take multiple shots of the same subject. The auto focus system sometimes focuses on the background, people have their eyes closed etc. So you want to have a backup in such a situation, plus you get to choose the best one of the set when you’re doing your editing. I usually take two or three shots per subject, depending on how much time there is, but you definitely need more for groups.
8. Always shoot RAW (even if you usually don’t), especially if you are using bounce flash a lot. Lighting often changes very quickly and people sometimes move in unexpected ways, so it is hard to get the exposure perfect every time. By shooting RAW, you can compensate for problems to a certain degree. Plus, you get between 12 and 16 bits of color depth instead of 8 with JPEG. Don’t rely on RAW’s ability to save you, though, you still need to expose as well as you can.
9. Get ear plugs. Not only can music be annoying, it can also be very loud. This is probably more relevant to concerts, but ear plugs also allow you to position yourself right in front of the speakers, where usually nobody is standing (or not for long), not even photographers, even if it gives you a perfect view on what’s happening.
10. Use a fast lens. Both Nikon and Canon make very sharp very fast zoom lenses. That way you can use more of the available light and thus get better recycle times on your flash. Fast lenses also enable you to use a shallow depth of field if you have to deal with a very busy background and but don’t have a chance to move.
The fast zooms are usually the more professional ones and, therefore, tend to give you sharper images, and they maintain their minimum aperture throughout the whole zoom range. And you can take non-shaky pictures at greater focal lengths if flash is not permitted or your flash does not reach far enough.
Even if you don’t use the aperture wide open, fast lenses are stopped down more at identical apertures, thus you are more likely to photograph on the lens’ sweet spot if you use an f2.8 lens at f4.5 than an f4.5 lens at f4.5. The Nikon VR system is great for low light, too.
11. If you know an important shot is coming up, make sure you don’t press the shutter release a few seconds before because your flash may not be ready again in time.
12, If you don’t own a good lens, you can always rent one, it’s worth it.
13. Also, be sure to get all the info you can in advance. If you know how the lighting is going to change, what the durations of individual segments are etc., you can plan in advance and for instance use a fresh card if you know you won’t have time to swap in the next 20 minutes. If you know that very shiny dresses are coming up, you can switch to spot metering and so on. Knowledge is power.
All those things can not only help in getting the pictures you want, they also help differentiate your images from those of the seven other guys right next to you with the exact same equipment as you have. I hope this is helpful for those of my fellow readers who are doing fashion events. Thanks again for this awesome blog, it is really an invaluable resource for the “secret” stuff that can’t be found anywhere else on the internet. Keep up the great work!
Did you find Peter’s tips for fashion events helpful? Please share this post on social media if you did. If you have tips of your own that were not covered in Peter’s list, please write them down for us in the comments box. below We would love to hear your tips!
Lastly, if you would like to be featured as a guest writer like Peter Werner, do send us a message and get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you! For more details on how to contribute to FashionPhotographyBlog.com click here –> CONTRIBUTE TO FPBLOG HERE