How to Shoot Street Style at Fashion Week.
To the casual onlooker the whirlwind that is a fashion week may seem like a well dressed circus. Filled with busy designers, editors and buyers rushing from show to show. fashionistas and celebrities pose outside of GLAMOROUS venues and lots of press and protestors can be seen around the host city. These biannual events in four major international cities mean big business in the fashion world and this month i got to grips with London's ss18 fashion week.
As a newbie official press photographer I headed out around London with my fashion/press photographer friend Lucy, with a brief to shoot street style at London Fashion Week! I have only ever dipped my toe into the world of fashion as a photographer, so I was very excited to experience fashion week and learn the ropes of shooting fashion. In the long days we were out shooting I have learnt so much about how fashion week works and shooting street style. So today I thought I would share some advice on how you can shoot some street style photographs yourself at a fashion week of your choosing!
Research venues + make a schedule
My biggest tip that I have learnt over LFW is to go in with a well researched plan so you know where to be and how long it will take you travel to different venues. Looking at the fashion week schedule online is a great place to start so that you can decide where to go on each of the days you decide to shoot. I would definitely recommend planning to arrive at venues at least half an hour before a show starts and to hang around for people leaving once it finishes.
One thing you will notice is that a lot of the bigger shows won't say which venues they are taking place at and that is one thing I have learnt about the fashion world; it is very secretive. I work for an agency so I can get information on where shows are occurring through them, however if you are shooting independently then you could try calling up or emailing some of the PR people for the shows themselves and maybe do a bit of acting. Or you could try finding out who is going to the shows and contact them to see if you can get anything out of them. For example you could message some bloggers saying you are wanting to shoot their look and would like to know what venues they are attending on a certain day. Of course with this kind of thing don't be intrusive and make it so it is in their best interest to share the information with you without forcing it out of them.
Know the personalities
To add onto my last piece of advice make sure you know all the personalities worth photographing. One thing I quickly realised is that there are plenty of people worth photographing, you just need to know who they are. Designers, editors, bloggers and celebs will mostly be happy to have their photograph taken outside of venues and some will hang around specifically for that reason. Just make sure you know your names and faces and don't be afraid to ask for someone's Instagram username (better than asking for a name generally) so you can caption your images nicely and maybe even give them some photos to share with their followers! Do however make sure you ask them to credit you if you are happy to give someone your photograph for free
Fashion weeks are usually held in February and September which means the weather can be very varied. My advice is to dress comfortably as you will most likely be stood around for long hours, and to be prepared for any rain as you can get some great shots when it is raining so make sure you are able to stay put with the right clothing and protection for your gear.
Speaking of equipment my advice is to pack smart and to only bring the essentials which should include you best camera and a good all round lens. I used a Sigma 50mm art lens for most of my shots which is great for street style because it gives you a really nice depth of field, which will help your subjects stand out from their surroundings. I also suggest that you do not bring any artificial lighting such as flashguns unless you are planning on shooting at night, as most professionals use natural lighting so there is no need to use it as fill in these situations.
Here is what I brought with me:
- Canon 5D mark II w/ camera strap
- Sigma 50mm 1.4 art lens + UV lens filter + hood
- Canon Sigma 24-70mm
- Extra battery + memory cards
My last piece of advice especially for those of you shooting independently rather than for an agency is to try a different approach. You could shoot film, or focus on a certain look or angle. Doing something outside of the box is a great challenge and will give you some focus. It will also give your work an edge if you are shooting for your own personal portfolio.
And that concludes the advice I have collected whilst shooting street style at my first fashion week! The great thing about photographing fashion week in this way is that you don't need an invitation or press pass to do it and you can really capture and communicate with your subjects in a environment where they want to be photographed. If you do plan on shooting fashion week yourself be prepared to find yourself running around the city and standing around for long periods of time in mixed weather conditions. It is so much fun though and such a great opportunity to network with people and really go for the shots you want, so just go for it if it is something you fancy doing!