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Things to remember…

February 4, 2011

When you are shooting a fashion show…

The basics of photography can be found anywhere… the lenses to carry, the camera, the memory cards and all that. But there are other things that one forgets, or ignores.

Here’s the list I came up with after shooting my first fashion show.

1. Comfortable shoes:
It is really easy to want to wear fancy shoes (particularly if you are a woman) to a fashion gig. There’ll be all those gorgeous women on stage, and really dressed up women offstage. But remember how your feet hurt after a night of dancing? Triple that and then put some nails under it – that’s the situation if you wear your dancing shoes to a fashion shoot.
Much of your time will be spent hanging around the edges… if the setup is bad and the press doesn’t have a comfortable place to shoot from, you’ll have to improvise and end up crouching or standing on a weird chair somewhere. If you are short like me, the temptation to wear heels is quite high… some way to get height. Invest in decent boots with heels. Or sneakers that have a thick sole.

2. A good backpack:
Why? Because you’ll want to carry at least two lenses. Some people also want to carry at least two cameras, and I haven’t exactly got to that stage. And then there is the flash, which will remain in your backpack if the lighting is really good. And then you’ve your wallet, knickknacks, cards and other things that you would want to be easily accessible. A lot of camera bags do not have the option for anything else. You might want to have a sling bag on the side. Or find a backpack with a little pouch where you can dump all the extras. And something that is durable and comfortable – durable, because

you would be dumping it anywhere while shooting… so it better be padded and strong. Comfortable – if the place isn’t safe, it is going to remain on your back and be heavy.
None of the girly bags for this one either. That handbag you got last week might be a bargain and perfect to take to the fashion show – if you weren’t lugging around a 2 kg camera with it.

3. Water Bottle:
Keep liquidated. Drink lots of water. You don’t realise while you are shooting but the minute you sit down, the body starts screaming in pain

4. The Open Bar:I don’t know if this is a norm for fashion shows (but I’m guessing it should be, given some other events I’ve attended) but there tends to be an open bar. And it is really tempting to glug down all that free booze… but remember, you need to be able to stand and in various positions and shoot for the next few hours. And focus. And carry heavy equipment. And not knock other people out with your beer breath. Save the bar for later. Seriously.

5. Lenses:
Okay, I have to say this… I’m not sure if I’m qualified enough to say this but still… the first day I carried a 70-200 lens. I figured that was the best because I could get those close-ups and the initial shots. Luckily, I also dumped by 18-200 in my bag. The head of the ramp was a step away from where we stood, which meant I could barely even get the face from my 70-200. Most of the photography magazines I read advised me to carry those long lenses for a fashion shoot. Word of advice – dump that wide angle in there too. You never know how the set up is going to be. Not to mention, carrying a 70-200 can be quite like weightlifting.

6. A little notepad and pen:
True, we are merely photographers and don’t need to take notes about the designers and their quotes and all that. But when you are submitting your photographs, you do need to know which designer did what designs. So better to keep a little notepad handy and note down the designers name, the last image number or least some comment about the design so you can recall what the photo is later. And yeah, the showstopper’s name too.

7. A healthy ego:
If you are a woman, and short like I am… yeah this would probably be a good thing, particularly for the first shoot. You are surrounded by women whose legs are almost as tall as you, and they have the perfect skin and perfect face and the hair and all that… and they have the most yummiest guys beside them. A healthy ego is really handy in this situation.

(Side Note: Considering I was sitting so close to the ramp and the excitement wore off after a while… I realised they are so much human. They have those yucky green veins on their legs too, they also suffer from the third-day-of-shaving-your-legs bristle, they have pimples, they have frizzy hair too. And scars. I don’t know if this happens with others but some models became my favorites really soon… they knew exactly how to pose, where to pose and how to look. They realised the ramp was short and stopped a step before, so we could actually get photos of their face instead of their nose hair. And how long to pause. Some of the celebrity showstoppers… they didn’t know what they were doing… the skipped down the ramp, twirled and were gone before we could even click the shutter. Gimme a tall model any day! I liked those models who had a small smile on their face, that just radiated confidence and walked like they owned the ramp. Instead of those others who had that ‘attitude’ look on their face but just came off… grim.

And yeah I’d never thought I’d say this… but being tall totally rocks! Those clothes simply wouldn’t look the same on a smaller frame! *drool*)

Happy Fashion!

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