Shooting Runway!

One of the most challenging photography jobs is to shoot a runway show. To succeed you have to get at least one image of every outfit being shown, when I say at least one image I really do mean that you should have several. You also need to get the ‘right’ image. Many people make the mistake of shooting the models at the end of the runway when stationary and going through their ‘end of runway’ maneuvers.

The right image is going to be one which captures the model walking down the runway, with one foot off the ground. If you don’t believe me or want to check it out, google any runway show from Paris, Milan, New York, or London and you’ll see what I mean. Here is one example¬†http://nymag.com/fashion/fashionshows/2013/resort/main/newyork/womenrunway/oscardelarenta/#

btw, Oscar’s designs are rather nice yes?

Once you’ve got that problem sorted out, you’ve got just two other little ‘problems’ to resolve. Firstly, you should been shooting from the end of the runway. You need to be far enough back from the end of the runway to be able to shoot full length at a lens focal length of at least 35-40mm if you’ve a DX format camera or at least 50-60mm if you’ve a full frame camera. The reason? You REALLY don’t want to give a rail-thin runway model the kind of barrel distortion you’ve get with a wide-ish angle lens! Getting that kind of access for an important show, well you’d better say you’re shooting for Vogue or Elle etc.!

The next problem is… ah…. more personal! Assuming you’re shooting from the A position you’re gonna be sharing that space with many many other photographers so you’re gonna have to be equal parts nice and nasty! Make sure that you’ve got just enough room to operate your camera and maybe to change memory card but then make sure that you’re allowing your buddies next to you enough room to do their stuff. Believe me, if you don’t they will ‘remind’ you!

Now all you’ve got to do is contend with the “artistic” lighting the director would have created for his masterpiece! Fast apertures, high ISO cameras and good auto white balance will help you enormously here!

Shooting runway would be the only time I would consider shooting jpg. You’re going to shoot a lot so unless you’ve a super high speed camera, you might think about adopting this tactic also. You’re going to need lots of storage space too, I’ve shot 1000-2000 images in a night when shooting 5-7 different collections!

Oh, the last “instruction”: Have Fun!!!

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The Lost Generation

Without any doubt, the advent of digital imaging has brought great advantages to consumers and pro’s alike. However with all the advantages comes a few disadvantages. To me one of the biggest is that we just don’t print anything anymore. When was the last time you actually got a print from Walgreens, Costco etc? How many pictures do you have on your PC, your phone or sitting on that memory card that you’ve been meaning to download for the last few weeks?

The thing is, photographs are not just your memories, in 100 years time your descendants will want to look at the pictures you take today. They will want to see pictures of “granny” when she was a baby and they will know that we have never, ever had more and better means to capture and save images. At the same time we have never thrown away so many memories.

I think there is a thought process which says that digital images are timeless. However it’s been proven time and time again that our digital storage mechanisms are fragile and can easily be damaged or destroyed. DVD and CD disks probably only last 10 or 20 years maximum. Hard disks can fail in as few as 3 years and will definitely have failed in 5-8 years. Rarely do they last longer than that. Phones can be stolen or lost, then what do you do?

Efforts by Apple and Google to mirror your images to the “Cloud” help and various backup and disk mirroring processes also help but it’s a fight to keep a digital archive up to date and secure…

We should print more! I say this not because I have a vested interest (I guess I do) but because I love to look at old pictures and I am afraid that in the coming decades there will be fewer and fewer pictures to see.