Fashion is an exacting business where the slightest line or fold can make or break an outfit. As these minor details pile up, they then make or break the fashion line itself. Many a designer’s fortunes were made by paying attention to the most minor of details. When photographing fashion shows that include the iconic catwalk, the standards of excellence are no less enforced.
The perfect shot at a fashion show
Should you not capture the perfect shot, the same high standards that can make or break a fashion designer’s career will be applied to you as well. In order to ensure that your shot captures the quintessence of high fashion, there are a few techniques to which you must pay careful attention.
Preparation for catwalk and fashion show shootings
Much like the models and designers’ creations you wish to photograph, an overwhelming number of factors which determine the quality of your photographs will be decided before you ever take your first shot. As with all professions, fate may favor the bold, but it favors the well prepared even more. If you simply arrive at the show with camera in hand and not a clue about the environmental factors that will influence the quality of your shot, chances are you will spend more time trying to account for the ambiance and miss the perfect moment.
That is why it is in your best interest to be as prepared as possible. Take the time to learn what the setting’s circumstances will be like beforehand. One of the most important factors you absolutely need to know is lighting. Fashion shows are carefully crafted to best present the designs on display. Sometimes this calls for an abundance of light while others it may serve best for single spotlights. Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to take a lot of the guesswork out of the settings your camera needs in order to take that iconic shot.
Likewise, it behooves you to know who will be modelling in the show. Often, the most famous models will also be wearing what the designer feels is the strongest design. This can work in your favor on two fronts. First, everyone wants to see their most famous and recognizable models. This can go a long way towards producing a great shot. Second, this model will also likely serve as a de facto highlight of the entire show. By knowing who is modeling in the show, you can be prepared to take the shot that will come to define it simply by biding your time.
Camera settings fashion show
This is the “meat and potatoes” of photography, though when shooting fashion there are often numerous settings that may be counter-intuitive when compared to other types of photography. Many general rules for other types of photography simply do not apply for fashion photography, and knowing how the environment affects these settings can be the difference between a long career and a brief run.
Color Effects with the white Balance setting
While this is often an overlooked setting in many other types of photography, it becomes vital in fashion photography. While other niches either provide the appropriate white balance within the shot or are less concerned with capturing the true colors of a shot, color and lack thereof are part and parcel of the fashion industry.
If your white balance is not properly set, you simply will not be able to capture the shocking palette of bold color choices or the stark contrast of black and white neutrals. Moreover, little ruins a great fashion shot like an impure color saturation that shows hues of blue or green when there should be none. Should you not capture the true colors of a designer’s line, you are unlikely to be asked to shoot for them again in the future.
Shutter Speed, high speed oder low speed?
While this detail is just as important for taking a great fashion shot, there are far fewer settings for which it will be effective. Keep your shutter speeds high, period. You should know how your specific device responds with various shutter speeds, but fashion shows are all about the fine details. There is no room for softness of image. Everything within the focal point must be as sharp as possible. However, since the show moves quickly by nature, determine a lower limit and do not go below that. You will not have not to continuously adjust once feet hit catwalk.
ISO and Aperture for the perfect model shoot
It may seem that a small ISO and wide aperture are more desirable for fashion shots, but that is often not the case. Too large an aperture and you lose the depth of field necessary to capture all the details of the model. In order to counter the often low-light conditions of a fashion shoot, rather than open the aperture and lose some depth of field, you can simply increase the ISO. While this may seem to risk an increase in noise, the sharpness of the photograph will often more than account for the modest grain.