Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Get the Job Done: Tips for first runway shoot

I wanted to wish my photo colleague Art Scott good luck on his first runway shoot. Scott is one of my buddies on the Digital Grin Photography Forum where we often chat about the business aspects of photography. In this forum thread another member posted a great video to help Scott answer some of his questions on how to light such a challenging session. I thought the information was so useful that I wanted to share it here too.

I think runway shows can be extremely difficult shoot. They are usually very dark, club-like settings with very little available ambient light. That means you will need to use powerful on or off-camera strobes to freeze motion in low light. That means you need to have a ton of batteries or a battery pack to keep recycling the flash as quickly as possible. I have the Canon battery pack recommended in the video and it has served me well in low-light environments including indoor weddings and runway shows. I can't wait to pull my strobes off camera and have them flash remotely with my Pocket Wizard in a setting like this. So far, I've only used my PWs in studio settings. I want to use them in a live event the way they are used in the video.

Also, get there early and stake your claim on the "sweet spot." You don't want to spend the evening pushing, fighting and vying for limited space near the stage if there are a pack of additional photographers shooting the event. One of the things that has served me well during this kind of event coverage is to gain rapport with as many of the models as possible before they hit the runway. That almost guarantees that they will lock eyes with you when they strut and pose, making for more intimate shots.

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