How to photograph a runway fashion show.
When photographing models as they walk the runway at a fashion show, my job as a photographer is to capture every aspect of each design. In this blog post I am going to share with you how I go about shooting a catwalk and what I think about before I take each photograph.
Before I even start taking photos at a fashion show, I think about who will benefit the most from the images I create. Whether I am there on assignment for a client or not, the general goal is to document each design in the show. As a result, I feel that there are three primary groups of people that should be considered when documenting the show:
1. The designers
2. The hair stylists and make-up artists
3. The models
These three groups of people really want their work to shine. And so, I try to capture each design in two different compositions during the show. Firstly, for the designers, I want to capture the full design. A full body framing of the model coming down the runway, with every part of the design visible. These are the most popular images you see and even though it might seem easy, it’s not. Check out my post from the second night of Alberta Fashion Week to read how I go about shooting and creating the full body images.
Secondly, there are the hair stylists and make-up artists. For these people, I want to capture a close-up frame of the model to show off the artist’s work. This is generally referred to as a “detail image” and is easiest to capture when the model is at the end of the runway, closest to me, and has stopped walking. However, before they stop walking, I am already thinking about the shot. As the model is coming down the runway, I am looking for unique items and features around the head and shoulders that I would want to include. Jewelry, stylish make-up, crazy hair, hats, etc. All of that will make a play when I create my final composition. As soon as the model stops, I then frame my shot. Since the composition is a head shot, I have only one target in mind when it comes to focus; the model’s eyes. If their eyes aren’t in focus, the shot generally isn’t a winner; unless my strict purpose is to show off an accessory (in which case I will generally try to crop the eyes). Once I am framed and have focus, I finally take the picture.
I hope this all makes sense to you, because the amount of time it took you to read the last three sentences was more time than I have to do everything you read. Generally, I have about 5-8 seconds, depending on the model. It takes practice to go over all of that in your head in just a few seconds, but it eventually becomes second nature. The results of those two different shots will also benefit the third group, the models. They want to analyze how they walk and pose, so getting a full body image and a detailed close-up can really benefit a model in that respect.
So there you have it. Two different frames that benefit three different groups of people. That is how I go about shooting a runway show. It might be different than you, depending on your goals, but if you have the same goals that I do, then hopefully this will help you with your results.