Zoom, Focus, Spray and Pray
Well since the 400co Fashion show I have been trying to identify the things I did well Vs the things I need to work on.
But first let me explain what I was aiming for in terms of images:
1) Pin sharp pictures
2) 3 specific runway shots (a full length, a knee to head and a faceshot at the end)
3) all the shots needed to have the models with their hands beside them, their chins down, their eyes focused and they had to be timed so that you snapped your photo such that you could not see the bottom of their shoes.
These seemed to be the key points when it came to what a pro photo should look like.
Some of the factors that I had to consider this particular night
1) It was blowing a gale, trying to get that pin sharp shot was going to be tricky with hair flapping around
2) The light was (according to the pro's in the pit) 'shithouse' (that is a direct quote). We had no lighting above, it was outside, it was night time, the escalator had mirrored sides, the roof was a 4 piece mirror reflecting light in 4 directions, the walls on both sides were compartmental mirrors doing the same thing, there was a yellow bright LED on the shop front next to the runway that made the end shots split lighting and we were not allowed to use flashes.
3) I was using a prime lens so my depth of field only at about 75mm on one camera body and at 55mm-200mm on the other and in the end it was too fash to use both so I stuck with the prime in the hope that the end shots were good.
What I did well
Given the light conditions my images accurately reflected the colours of the clothing which I think from a designers perspective is important, the colours were not blown out, they looked like the dresses on the runway so I was happy with that.
I felt I got the shots I was aiming for (listed above) on point, I timed them very well and the composure was great.
What I felt I need to improve on is my understanding of the exposure triangle.
I need to have clearer shots, I think my photos would have absolutely killed it if they had of been just that much more clearer, the pro photographer had his photos crystal and whilst his colours were blown out some, I think that clear made for a better end product. For that I need the right equipment and learn how to use it properly.
What I would do differently next time
For now I am looking into a 50mm prime lens for the end of runway shots, I would shoot with two camera bodies, The first set with a 50-200mm lens to capture the full length far off shots, the second set with the 50mm prime to capture the front facing end pose.
I would check my white balance accurately, use my light meter to get the ISO and Shutter speed correct, I would shoot in Manual mode instead of aperture mode so that I could fully control the camera and I would probably boost my flash compensation by one point and reduce my exposure compensation by one.
Last I would line up my sweet spots for the shots in advance - choose the three spots that are best lit and get my camera set to capture my three shots at those areas. I would also use two mono pods so I could rest the second camera in the crook of my elbow when not in use and so I get a steady shot every-time. I would opt for ball head monos, use quick release burst mode...
...and I would learn to batch process.....
Anyway, it was a great experience and I would love to work in the pit again basically to hone my skills as frankly the Adrenalin was unreal and there is nothing like the rush of that 10 minutes as you work to capture the moment.
On the positive whilst I am not pinning hope on being published int he courier mail (at least not after seeing the pro's photos) what I am willing to pat myself on the back for is that even the pro's say its hard to get the three shots you need to get for each model and I managed that for every one of them so take the small win.