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Runway Show question

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by TVayos, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. TVayos

    TVayos Guest

    Has anyone here used primes to cover runway shows? Is this a dumb idea?

    I have used my 35 F2 for everyday life and a few hundred booth shots at trade shows and evening events. We like the results over my zoom work at the magazine. I do move around a lot more nowadays to get these shots.

    We have to cover a few fashion shows in the next month. Has anyone here covered a runway show with a prime? What do you use? Do you use flash? or crank iso and use fast glass?

    I will not be able to move around once the show starts but will have prefered sitting front center at the end of the runway. Models are walking directly down the runway toward me. The runway is usually around 50 feet long.

    I typical shoot these with a zoom for the last few years which is more convenient. The shots have shown the product but lacked the kind of pop that my prime work has yielded.

    One of the lens I have been considering is a 85mm 1.8 to compliment my 35mm F2. How will the 85mm 1.8 fair in the typical runway conditions? How would the 50mm 1.4 fair?
  2. fjgindy


    Jan 21, 2007
    35mm f2, 50mm f1.8, and 85mm 1.8 would all work...depends on how you want to frame it. I pretty much stick with the 85 1.8 and catch the models at different distances on the runway. Personally I never use flash in a theater/live show situation...but thats just me. I think it's annoying and in many situations they won't even allow it, though in a runway situation it probably would be allowed.

    Some 85 1.8 runway examples. Hope this helps:

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2007
  3. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I'd hate to use a prime in that situation. Instead of fashion, my last runway event was a swimsuit competition. I put on my 70-200mm VR, and so did the two other photographers next to me. Maybe it's heavy, but it gave me a great range to work with during the show.

    If I had a prime, all of my shots would come out looking the same depending upon where the girl was on the runway. A zoom gave me choices as to how I wanted to capture her. Sometimes I wanted full body, sometimes I wanted closer. There was no room to move back and forth, so I needed a good zoom.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

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  4. Hi there.

    I wonder why you cut off the feet ?

    This seem to be a common occurence at runway shots, is there any reason, or is it just a matter of focal length ?


  5. TVayos

    TVayos Guest

    I usually shoot a few full length and some close ups for detail. Depending on the garment.

    Usually magazines want you to focus on the garment.

    My problem with zooms comes when shooting indoor shots when a flash is required. I thought my pictures might be improved with primes.

    Thanks for the examples.

    Anyone else have experience in this type of situation?

    Much of what I shoot is lacy white apparel where the flash blows the highlights and detail. Whites seem to loose much of their detail. Any recommendations?
  6. Paul K

    Paul K

    May 14, 2006
    Catwalk photography

    Although it's some time since I done any serious catwalkphotography, and hardly any since I went digital, I found that the basic techniques still are valid, although things have become much easier with digital

    For me the standard equipment remains two bodies with a high GN flash (Metz 60CT-4), one body with a short zoom, 2.8/35-70, and the other with a long zoom, 2.8/80-200mm. In the film days I would also have a 2.8/300mm, but thanks to the digital crop the 2.8/80-200 takes care of that.

    I use relative high ASA (400 ASA), and keep aperture near fully open, so I get as much as possible stagelight in my pictures, with shutterspeed around 1/125th, about the slowest usable with moving subjects.

    I still use flash, although much more as fill in then as mainlight source, as stagelight will often be too high and sideways to give flattering shadows, and this way the models will be lit out better. I keep my color temperature on 'flash' as I like the full color the mix of flash and tungsten give

    My settings are Manual (for metering) , AF-C with dynamic AF with one AF field manually chosen (so it's me who decides what the camera focusses on when I start to shoot), and motordrive on 2fps (which of course I basically don't use as such, but it's always handy to have the option to shoot two frames in a row) and obviously I shoot RAW

    Of course the big advantage of digital is being able to keep on shooting, no more nervously changing film in the dark after 36 shots, but don't shoot everything on one card

    The position right at the end of the catwalk isn't the best one IMHO, as usually all photographers want to sit there (and stand up to take there shots), while at the same time it's usually also the position for VIP spectators who want to see the show rather then photographers backs, and of course the people who invited them choose their side. Also you basically end up shooting upwards from below, which is not ideal when the models come closer and you end up shooting in nostrils and under the skirts.

    Best check before the show starts if there is a designated spot reserved for the photographers and claim your territory (by sitting down and remaining there till the show starts) Otherwise chose a spot on the left or right corner of the catwalk, as then you will less spoil the view for the guests and still have a good view

    Well, these were my two sents, HTH, and good luck :smile:





  7. TVayos

    TVayos Guest

    Thanks for the samples. I need to get more detail on the garments. Any suggestions? The images are very nice but we publish several apparel trade magazines and are looking to see more detail in the garments. My biggest problem has been the loss of details on the black garments and blown hightlights & details on white garments.

    Buyers are looking to see the details. I have shot around 60 catwalks in the last five years using an 18-70 dx lens and flash. The results have been okay. My prime work at shows has been better. I have been afraid to try it and be wrong.

    Has anyone else covered this area of fashion with a prime? I am trying to avoid carrying a boat anchor of a lense around all day at shows. I am wondering if the 50 1.4 or 85 1.8 has been used by anyone else to do this kind of work.

    Since our publications are very popular the front two center seats are always reserved for us.
  8. Paul K

    Paul K

    May 14, 2006
    Runway is not catalogue ......

    I had to ride that bycicle too at one time (literal translation of a Dutch proverb :redface: ) when I had a designer asking for the same kind of thing, and all I can say is that shooting catwalk is shooting atmosphere, and shooting detail is shooting catalogue.

    To shoot detail (and correct color and texture) you need to be able to control all details as light, contrast, pose etc., and catwalk is the last place to be able to do so.

    And although of course it's not the lens which will enable you to record wide contrast, even with a top body the 18-70 is a compromise at best, and obviously not the lens you can expect to deliver that kind of performance when shooting under those kind of circumstances .

    If you do want to try to technically achieve what you describe, IMHO you are talking Fuji S5 Pro, but then you will be trading in buffer and (writing) speed, essential for shooting catwalk (although the TTL with the new Nikon flash units is said to be on par with that of the film days), and maybe 1.4/85, 2.0/135 and 2/200, but then you will lose the flexibility a zoom offers, and I think it's still doubtfull if you will get the detail a studio shot offers.

    But I don't understand why buyers would have to rely on the catwalk shots to be able to judge the details of the garments. In my days of fashion photography and designers and fashion fairs (Igedo, Amsterdam Fashion Week) they always have a presentation with a photobook of their garments (and samples of the colors, tissues, buttons etc) the shooting of which is the thing photographers earn their money with, and the catwalk shots only help promote the atmosphere the designer wants to present his collection in (and for which shots the designer usually wants to have but doesn't want to pay much for .... )
  9. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York
    I shoot only primes


    Email me if you want and I will discuss it further.

    Basically you have to choose what you want to get, make a plan and stick to it.
  10. TVayos

    TVayos Guest

    Thanks Giorgio. Do you have any samples of the 105 with runway work?
  11. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York


    I have countless samples but the 105 was a bit short for my purposes, I like the 200mm focal lenght first and foremost then I like the 300mm focal length.

    But then thats just me...
  12. TVayos

    TVayos Guest

    Which 105 do you use? VR F2.8 or DC F2
  13. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York


    I used the 105 DC f2 lens for that photo.

    Nikkor 105mm lenses all of them are very special, Nikon is well known for producing an exceptional 105mm lens in all of its permutations. My favourite is still the 105 f1.8 a lens so good that I have had it since new and will never part with.

    You just cant go wrong,
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2007
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