Stockholm Fashion Week took place last month, bringing the catwalks to different locations around the city as stages to exhibit the garments, the trends, the creations and other fashionable objects of desire.
As a fashion lover myself, I couldn’t be more thrilled when I got the opportunity to choose which fashion shows to attend and photograph in order to report back to you here on Your Living City. So in this instalment of Camera Diaries, I want to share with you some of this excitement and tell you how it is to shoot fashion shows.
Shooting at catwalks is a bit like taking a portrait but with movement and action. Like you would do when photographing your family in the park or your friends at a concert, in the end it is a portrait that involves a little bit more movement and has a bit more life to it. Shooting fashion is about a model and it tells the story of a trend or tendency presented by the fashion the model is wearing.
When you arrive at the place where you are photographing the catwalk, you feel excited to be on the front row surrounded by the audience. You can glance the models head to toe and as a photographer you feel the rush of knowing you have to be fast, because models move really fast. You also know, that you have to focus on what the model is wearing and how to best capture it. You have to keep in mind some practicalities. These are the same things you can apply beyond the fashion show into your daily life photography, when wanting to capture people in action.
First, I make sure I have my camera in manual and that the light balance is set to interior light. I always go with my camera and a zoom lens. If I’m sitting in the front row with the rest of the audience, a 18-55mm or a 24-70mm will do. Sometimes I choose to stand with the other photographers at the end of the catwalk for better frontal photos, for which I use a 70-200mm.
Consider the light and use a higher ISO than what you’d normally use, this is because you will be using a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement of the model in this case (or in general the person you are shooting). For a fashion show I would go up to ISO 1000 and then figure out if I need to increase or decrease depending on the light.
Then comes the setting up of the speed, which for a person who is only walking can be as slow as 1/200s or as fast as 1/400s. Models do dash down the runway, so it’d say it’s always safer to go a bit higher up on the shutter speed levels.
Depending on what you want to communicate with your photograph, you’ll have to decide how to set up your aperture. I normally would use an aperture of F3.2 or over to portray people in movement, as you don’t want them to fall in the area where they would look out of focus, and also I do want the background of the audience to look blurry so that they don’t steal the attention from the subject. But if you have good light conditions and you also want the background to be part of the message of your photo, then you should opt for an aperture of F5 or a higher value.
Here is a slideshow with some of the photos I took during Stockholm Fashion Week F/W 2017:
One good trick if you’re shooting with a Canon camera is to enable the AI Servo function which helps to automatically re-focus your subject, for when either you, or the subject, is moving. If you’re on a Nikon camera you have to re-assign the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of the camera to “AF-ON“. What this does is when you’re holding down the AE-L/AF-L button with your thumb, the camera continues to track whatever subject you’re pointing it at. When you release that button, it will stop focus tracking.
I hope these tips have been of help for you. If you want to ask me a question or want to talk photography or fashion, I would love to hear from you!
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Fashion week will be back in September with the spring and summer trends. Find out more at http://fashionweek.se/ . See you at the catwalks!