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So, the last week has been more than a little crazy – International Bridal Fashion Week was in New York City. I had the pleasure of working with OneWed.com, running around the city photographing various designer bridal fashion runway shows! It was a hectic, amazing time. Bridal Market, as it is known, is also interesting because it attracts editors, bloggers, designers, stylists, and many more to NYC – which gave me a chance to meet in person with a number of wedding industry folk whom I previously only knew through the internet and social media. Four days, six runway shows, and several thousand photos later – I have to admit, I am little worn out. But I thought you all deserved a little sneak peek of what I was up to!

I was also told by Azure from OneWed that I should teach a course for beginners in shooting runway fashion. I am by no means a hardened runway show veteran. I have photographed my share of shows though. Here are my tips to anyone who is looking to start or has been booked to shoot a runway show and has no experience:

1. Get there early and get a good spot

When I say, “Get there early.” I mean it! Arrive at least half an hour before the show if you want a really good spot. Often there will already be a spot or two already reserved for photographers shooting for the designer, magazines, or wire services.

2. Don’t leave your spot unless you mark your territory

Once you have your spot, don’t leave it unmarked. Put down some tape with your name on it. Leave your bag, your camera, your coat – SOMETHING! Photographers will take your spot if you do not mark it.

3. Use the right lens

Do not show up to a runway show with a wide angle lens unless you are shooting the entire ‘scene’, in which case you don’t need to be in the pit. I photographed every show this last week using my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L series telephoto lens. It allows me to get closer when the model is far away, then you can pull back as they get closer or zoom in and get detail shots.

4. Check your frame

There are going to be a lot of photographers crammed into a very small area. Make sure when everyone is set up that no one’s lens or hands or heads are going to be in your frame.

5. SERVO, SERVO, SERVO!

If you are just starting out, do not manual focus for an entire runway show. You are going to miss a ton of shots. Use the AI Servo focus mode on your camera, it will ‘track’ the subject so you can focus on the model as they are moving.

6. Don’t move around once the show starts

Once the show starts, you should be set in your position – so that you are not moving into the frames of the photographers around you. Be mindful of your head, your arms, and your equipment.

7. Have your back-up equipment close at hand

There is nothing worse for ANY photographer than having an equipment failure or running out of space on a memory card when they ABSOLUTELY must get the shot! Have batteries, memory cards, etc. on your body so you can quickly get to them if you need to. It is also a good idea to have back-up equipment close on hand. If something goes wrong, you do not want to have to walk in front of all the other photographers while they are trying to get their shots! Think it won’t happen to you? I saw two instances of photographers running out of space on their cards and one had a total camera failure this last week.

8. Bring a ‘turtle’ or a hard case to stand on

You may not get there early enough to get a great spot. Or you might not be tall enough to see over the other photographers and have a clear frame. So what do you do? Have a plastic step stool like this in your bag or have a hard metal or plastic case to stand on.

9. Bring a monopod

You are going to want to support that camera so that your photos are straight on, especially if you have a big telephoto lens on it. It is going to get heavy fast and you don’t want to be raising and lowering your camera over and over again (see what I said about not moving around). A monopod takes up less space than a tripod and it will allow you a little bit of movement if you need it.

10. Be nice to those around

There is a certain amount of camaraderie in the photo pit, as long as you are nice to everyone. People will usually happily share camera settings (color temperature, ISO, shutter speeds, etc.) if you ask nicely. If you are rude, you are going to find yourself getting shut out very quickly.

Well, I hope that was helpful! Come back soon to see more bridal fashion photos!

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