london fashion weekend blog - september

the setting

I was invited by Canon in September to photograph the London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery. 

As always, the catwalk action was fast and flowing, so I had to have my camera settings ready from the start, as there is no time to experiment once the show is under way.

The Saatchi Gallery is a perfect setting for fashion shows. To create the catwalk, several adjoining galleries were opened up, revealing one long walkway of about 200 feet.

The photos in my galleryare highlighting designer JS Lee and also some current Autumn trends.

I've put some technical stuff below which will help you as and when you get the chance to photograph a catwalk fashion show. 

James Richardson Photography

James Richardson Photography

London Fashion Weekend, Saatchi Gallery

the method

James Richardson Photography

James Richardson Photography

London Fashion Weekend, Saatchi Gallery

As mentioned, catwalk fashion shows go like lightning and last usually 5 to 10 minutes. Which makes it all the more exhilarating for the photographer. Especially when you experience it for the first time.

The first and possibly most important rule is to arrive early so you can claim a prime spot in the photographer’s pit. This ‘pit’ is actually a series of steps at the end of the catwalk, allowing you to shoot the models as they walk towards your lens. My advice is try to situate yourself about two or three steps up, as central as possible. This will put you on the same level as the height of the model and will result in more aesthetically pleasing photographs.  

It is important to get your camera settings right before the show starts, which can be challenging if the show lighting doesn’t actually come one until the first model is walking down the catwalk.

So my tip for this blog is to assume a shutter speed of 1/400 sec, aperture fully open at f5.6 and ISO 1600. I was using my Canon 70-300mm f4 L series zoom lens, so f5.6 was my widest aperture in this instance.

When the show starts, you will be able to very quickly check your first few photos to make sure that ISO 1600 is the right film speed.

Always focus on the eyes of the model as they walk towards you; and with that in mind set your camera to Spot Metering as opposed to Evaluative Metering; and make sure you are shooting High Speed Continuous.

One final piece of gold dust for you, lighting designers of catwalk fashion shows always create a hot spot towards the end of the catwalk into which the model will walk. This hot spot is where you will find the optimum lighting conditions and so you should aim to capture the model when they enter this hot spot. You will quickly ascertain where the hot spot is when the first models arrive at the end of the catwalk.

My camera on this shoot was a Canon 5d MKIII.

people and places photography

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