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elliotm00 May 12, 2010 1:42 PM

Runway fashion show tips?
I've been a beginner for about 15 years. I have a D40 and the two kit lenses - 18-55, 55-200, both VR. I understand the basics.

Next week, I'm attending a fashion show at an art school. I'd like to try to take some decent shots and step up my game a little. I went to one last week, and the results were predictably disappointing: because of the slow lens and low light, even when shooting at shutter-priority at 1/125 and under-exposed, the images were still not sharp. I probably should have set the ISO higher -- I still don't have a feel for how high I can go. I was at 400.

This one will be in an auditorium of the college. I don't know where I'll be sitting, but probably to the side of the runway, whereever we can get seats. I'm looking into renting a lens: either the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 or the 80-200 f/2.8 (yes, i know it would be manual focus).

I do not have a flash, other than the built-in one.

I plan to set the white balance, shoot shutter-priority at 1/250. I don't think I care about aperture, right? The background will probably be dark. Is this right? I will be using a monopod. What else should I do to set up before the show?

What about the actually photos? When the model comes out, do I just start shooting in continuous mode for the duration of her walk? Do I always shoot the full body (the focus is on the garments)? Do I take dozens of shots of each model in hopes that a few will come out?

These photos are just for friends and family and Facebook (friends of friends). A few may get printed in 8x10. (My daughter is one of the student designers.)

Thank you! I appreciate whatever advice you can give me.

VTphotog May 12, 2010 8:24 PM

Get a good flash. Runway models are either used to it or need to get that way. Practice first. Unless you can stop them in the middle of the runway, of course.
Since you are taking the photos for friends and family, they are probably going to be more interested in the faces than the clothes (besides your daughter), so a mix of close-ups and full body shots will probably be needed to satisfy everyone.
As your daughter is part of the program, she should be able to get you seats where you need to be. If not, don't panic- I find that having a big lens and flash attached, and acting like I can go anywhere I want, lets me go anywhere I want. (if you need a press pass, again, your daughter should be able to provide)


shoturtle May 12, 2010 8:28 PM

continuous focus, and in burst mode. As VT said a good flash.

elliotm00 May 14, 2010 10:53 PM

If I rent an SB-800, should I skip renting a f/2.8 lens and use the kit f/5.6 lens? Or should I rent both?

Should I shoot in portrait mode?

Is 1/250 fast enough?


shoturtle May 14, 2010 11:02 PM

with the flash you will be able to freeze the action at 1/200. If you want to control the dof and isolate on just the model. A 2.8 lens will let you do that if you can not separate the model form the background as well.

elliotm00 May 16, 2010 8:16 PM

If I had to choose between using the 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens without a flash, and the 55-200 VR kits lens with an SB-800 (on a D40), which would I be better off using?

(I assumed the lens, since I can take continuous photos without having to wait for the recharge.)

Thanks for all your help so far.

shoturtle May 16, 2010 8:21 PM

I shoot in burst allot with a flash, at times I have run off 5 second burst with my flash. And it could handle it. I was advise to shorten the burst rate to about 3 so the flash do not over heat. So continuous photos with a flash is not a problem.

My big issue is how the lighting at the show will be. I would go with a flash if the light is not great. But if there is some good lighting the 2.8 should work fine. Really a tough call without knowing the lighting. But the Flash would be the safer bet. But does the venue and event will allow a flash?

elliotm00 May 17, 2010 2:48 PM

Thanks for all your advise. The event is this week. This will be a good learning experience for me.

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