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Why You Shouldn't Shoot Fashion

We all have a vision of the fashion photographer’s life as being a dream job or the best photography gig you can get. They live in the lap of luxury right? Beautiful people all around them. Exciting things happening. Drink and food, hot music… Well, fashion photography can be great, but its also some of the hardest and most stressful work you’ll ever do as a photographer!

This past week we shot a local high end fashion show called Rock The Runway that was produced by Scot Wedgeworth, star of the new reality series Bama Glama on Food Network and sponsored by a lot of great national and regional sponsors like Red Bull and B-Metro Magazine. Some of the celebrities in attendance were: Italian Supermodel Victoria Pennington, our friend and high end wedding dress designer – Heidi Elnora (of Bravo’s Project Runway 2nd season), Star of CMT’s hit series Sweet Home Alabama – Devin Grissom, and music was provided by Fly By Radio (Best 80′s Rock cover band in the country!)

So, we had a great time but since we were the official photographers, we had our work cut out for us! When you are the official photographer, you are under pressure to get an awesome shot of each individual outfit and design, details of the event, wide establishing shots and celebrities and VIPs are always there to complicate things. The designers and event producers are paying you to have a wide variety of designs and shots that they can use for their magazine spots, ads and promotional material for the current and even next year’s event.
Some of the things you have to think about when doing live fashion show photography:
  • Be early, and know what’s expected of you from the event coordinator or producer (which shots are critical and how they will be used) and always watch the pre-show or practice run rehearsal. Use that time to experiment and dial in manual camera settings that work for you.
  • Think on your feet constantly, know where the next part of the show will happen, and where the models will be walking and pre-plan the most optimum place where you can stage yourself to get the best shot.
  • Look at and figure out your lighting and manual settings ahead of time. Ask a lighting guy about the lighting setup and where the best lighting will be
  • use the fastest lens that you have with the most versatile zooming (ie. an f/2.0 zoom 18-200mm). Lighting is almost always less than ideal. (this means high ISO, manual mode, noise reduction )This increases your chance of getting a clean, clear, well lit shot. Your sensor and lenses will be put to the test tonight!
  • Get there early to get a prime shooting position – usually at the end of the runway slightly to the left. You will need an unobstructed head to toe view. Shoot as close to even level as you can.
  • If you are going to flash, always have fresh batteries or an external battery pack and try to balance the background ambient with your subject. You don’t ever want a completely blacked out background! The event sponsor and production designers want to see their work as well in the background.
  • Shoot bursts of pictures (4-6 fps) at the posing points. Try to get full length and 3/4 poses. Do 90-95% portrait (vertical). Landscape only wides of the venues or groups of people.
  • Most amateur models walk way too fast – if appropriate, get the coordinator to show them the models posing points and get them to walk slower.
  • Cover your… booty. Make sure the models and the event organizers sign a model release to you.
Live fashion show photography will put your skills and camera gear to the test! Its one of the hardest gigs to shoot (yes, harder than weddings). But if you can survive it and pre-plan a fashion shoot can be very rewarding, with lots of extras and networking benefits that can make it worth while. And ultimately you can get some AMAZING shots that will take your portfolio a to the next level if you are interested in moving into the print and fashion world!

So, if you ever get a chance to shoot a live fashion show, do it and be ready to test your skills!

Listen to the Podcast of the live show from BAPP Radio here:

Check Out Photography Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with beaphotopro on BlogTalkRadio

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