Shooting Runway Fashion
SARAH (QUESTION): Do you have any tips for shooting runway events outside? Should the images be tack sharp? Should I use a flash? I am shooting Aspen fashion week.
PHILLIP VAN NOSTRAND (ANSWER): Runway shows should be incredibly lit, so you don’t really have to do anything but pull the trigger. You should also have a sense of timing to catch the model in mid-stride. If it’s natural light things might be a little different, but whatever you are doing, try to highlight the clothing and the shape of the model. If it’s a busy background full of people, use a shallow depth of field to isolate the subject. And I’m not talking about f/1.8. Play it safe at around f/4 or f/5.6, look at these for some guidance: http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=runway. These images are all probably around f/5.6 or 4.0, with a really long lens (70-200mm 2.8 usually).
There is not much money in fashion. I have photographer friends who shoot fashion week and the pay is low for a long day of shooting (think 10+ hours and editing before the day is over). This is for media outlets that use the images for stock and immediate publication. On the other hand, I recently got asked to shoot Men’s Day, a precursor to fashion week that just showcases men’s fashion. I am getting paid $1000 for a day’s worth of work, which I am very excited and happy about, because this is something I’ve been doing for free, for fun, the past two years. I’m shooting for a PR firm representing the hair product company that is being used on all the male models backstage. My assignment is to capture behind-the-scenes moments, audience, street fashion, and the final presentation of the models (on the runway). It will be a full day, but maybe only about 4-6 total hours of shooting. I’m very happy with this arrangement, and it is literally twice as much as I got paid for my very first wedding 9 years ago, which is great.