What we Learned from Photographing a Fashion Show: Tips

So I was invited to attend Style Fashion Week at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles this past week. I have never attended an actual fashion show except a few that normally take place at conventions. It was my first time doing something like this so I decided to write a little bit about my experience and offer advice to anyone who may want to go, is going, or is simply curious.

I decide to break this up into sections because there is honestly a few things that I need to touch up on when it comes to this. So while this will be lengthy, I do hope it makes everything clear towards the end.


The first major part is lenses an which ones you should use. When it comes to this most photographers use a 70-200mm lens. Depending on the length of the runway you may want something a little longer but this provides enough reach. The other lens you should have is a 24-70mm which covers anything that is not happening on the runway for example like the red carpet event or backstage shots and the people showing up or leaving.

What did I use: Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS & Zeiss FE 85mm f/1.8 Batis


When it comes to camera you definitely want something that can handle low light. To be honest, runways are lit pretty well so you wont be shooting in extreme high ISO, but you'll want to keep the grain to a minimum. You will also see that a full frame cameras is not the best option here (but if it works for you then go ahead). This is because when attached to a 70-200mm, it is just that and you may actually need that extra reach an apsc sensor has. Most photographers use medium format or aps-c sensor cameras because it gives you just that. Lastly you may need two body's. For example[, one body attached to one lens and the other body with another lens. This makes it so much easier when taking photos and you honestly don't deal with the annoyance of juggling.

What did I use: Sony a6000 with 70-200mm (main) & Sony A7II with 85mm (secondary)

Extra Equipment

After my first day of shooting my wrist, hand and back were hurting because of that 70-200 lens. So on the second day I brought my tripod. I ended up using it as a mono-pod, because space is limited, and it made things so much easier.

Another thing to consider bringing is a pelican or turtle. If you don't know, a pelican is one of those large black cases where you store your gear and a turtle is a step stool. If your short you will benefit from this, just make sure you don't block those behind you!! If your in the back this will make you attain a better view. Lastly are memory cards and a lot of them!! Or at least cards that range from 32GB and on especially when shooting RAW.

Things You Don't Know Until Your There

You have to stand up for yourself and if your small you'll get pushed out. You honestly have to be there bright an early to claim a spot. Even after claiming that spot, stay there because if you leave someone else might take it or wiggle in through. Just because you claim it doesn't mean it will be there by the time you get back. While I was there I saw many photographers fighting with one another. This was way before the show even started. I saw people get in each others faces and start arguments. I was lucky to be in the back to the left side where no one bothered me, but everyone else was pissed at everyone.

If you ever have the chance to actually attend a fashion show either as an attendee or photographer I say do it. But remember, some people are getting paid for what they are doing so if your not be respectful and move out the way, unless your in your right and there the respectful ones. The experience of being confined in a small space for hours, is not a good thing, but you get first hand look at how cutthroat this is. The shows are great and you start to value how much lighting plays an important role in photography.

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