Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day Three, Learning Three: Shooting Runway Fashion

Tips for shooting fashion runway models:

There are three basic shots in Runway photography, plus a couple of extras.  The three basics are:

            * Full body shot, with the front foot flat on the floor

            * ¾ body from above the knee to the head

            * Head and shoulders
 Full body, front foot flat on the floor

That’s it.  Nail those three and you’re doing alright.  Of course, it’s a bit harder than it sounds because the models are moving pretty quickly, the lighting can be difficult, and there are no second chances.  Plus, many show producers want you to capture those three for every outfit, so there’s very little time to look at the back of your camera to see if your settings are correct. So a few more tips:

  1. Get there early and stake out your spot on the floor.  Try to be at the end of the runway so they’re walking directly towards you.
  2. Zoom lenses work well on Runways.  Use a 70-200 if you have it.
  3. Put your shutter speed between 125 and 325 depending on your lens (longer lenses will need faster shutter speeds)
  4. Put your aperture between 2.8 and 5.6 to blur out the background.  If your camera is having trouble focusing quickly (or your images appear slightly blurred), increase your aperture setting to have more depth of field. 
  5. Time your shots off of the music in order to capture their front foot flat on the ground.
  6. Some shows allow flash photography, some don’t.  If you can shoot without flash your images will have better depth and dimensionality.  Your flash recycling time may also be slower than you need.
  7. Bring water.  Shows can be tiring.
  8. Typically there’s not room for a tripod, but many photographers bring monopods.  This helps if you’re shooting with a big lens.
  9. Experienced models will take their moment at the end of the runway and look you right in the lens.

Okay, about  those extra shots:  after you nail the full body, ¾, and headshot, try to capture a couple of close-ups of their accessories:  earrings, necklaces, belts, shoes.  Many photogs forget to shoot an image of the model walking away.  Designers spend a lot of time making the back side of their outfits look good, so don’t neglect that shot.

Want to share a tip or offer a different perspective?  Please, write a comment!


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