I recently had the chance to attend two trend shows at London Fashion Weekend as a guest of Canon/Calumet. Gear was my 5D Mark III and a small bag of lenses, but I almost exclusively used an EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II in the end due to the convenience of the zoom range. As I’ve not had much exposure to catwalk photography before it was quite an experience, and the technical aspects of shooting were an interesting learning opportunity: Exposure was not too difficult as the lighting was quite predictable, and AI servo focus combined with the Mark III’s exceptional focus system meant I could reliably hold focus. By far the hardest thing was anticipating the good shots before they arrived; with only a few seconds for each run there was very little time to prepare. Motordrive was essential; although I was able to get quite a few good shots during the walk by timing my exposure to match the peak stride, it was much more difficult at the end of their run; the models would typically pose for just a fraction of a second, and their actions were quite unpredictable. I’d routinely fire off a half dozen shots on high speed using servo AI during each model’s pose, and I got a good hit rate that way (although with far more discarded photos). It’s a very high-pressure environment with little time to react; change a lens and a run would be over!
I think I’d try and pick a different spot if I had another opportunity; I’d have liked to get some more high-key photos looking down the catwalk. Instead most of my photos were at an oblique angle, with a near-black backdrop formed by the unlit crowd.
Photos can only be hosted here rather than facebook etc. due to restrictions by the British Fashion Council, but feel free to have a look and offer any tips or things you would do differently.