Fashion show photography

A purple shirt and a turquoise dress

A purple shirt and a turquoise dress

Last week I had great fun photographing the Africa-in-Motion closing party and fashion shows, along with my friend Mabel Forsyth.  Mabel kindly sent me one of her photographs, capturing a beautiful model in an amazing turquoise dress, with a little purple-shirted gnome in the background… honestly, does that purple really go with that turquoise?!

Photographing an event like a fashion show is new to me – this is about portraiture on a super-high caffeine overdose!  Portraits are fine, and I generally love engaging with people to create interesting photographs, but at the fashion shows decisions about composition needed to be taken at lightning speed – I was able to set myself up in a corner (as you can see in Mabel’s photo), which played a key role in the kinds of shots I could get, but there were still decisions needing to be taken all the time.  Professional fashion show photographers are said to attempt to capture each model’s face, head and shoulders, and full body – all well-composed and properly lit, of course.

Well that’s a great aspiration… but I only managed this for one or two of the models, and even then the shots were not of a uniform quality!  Of course, a professional zoom lens keeping a constant f2.8 aperture might have helped a bit (my non-professional zoom goes from from f3.5 to f5.6 depending on focal length), but this is not really about equipment.  It’s a question of skill and incredibly fast reactions that come with a lot of practice – and I have no problem admitting that I’m not able to keep up with that!  I don’t see myself having too many opportunities to reach that stage, and I probably wouldn’t want to anyway, given my limited interest in fashion.  But I had great fun, produced some usable images, and have even more respect for the hard work done by professional photographers at fashion shows.  And that has to be worth something, right? 😉