Last week I had the opportunity to shoot London Fashion Week for a magazine publication. I was really excited, it was my first time shooting it and I wasn't really sure what to expect. I've been getting quite a few emails and questions regarding it all so I thought I'd write up a little post - I hope it helps!
Firstly, to shoot or get into a fashion show, you need accreditation to prove you're shooting for a publication. I know there are ways of applying through the British Fashion Council by yourself, but I can't give any advice on that as I was granted access through the publication I worked for. However, network around in advance months before show starts and you might find an opportunity to work for a magazine or a blog that can get you in!
Getting around Fashion Week is hectic. Fashion Week itself was hectic. You have to pick up your press pass, or tickets, whichever you've been allocated, from Somerset House and some shows can start quite early - this doesn't sound too bad until you realise how hectic traffic can be and that sometimes you need to be at a show up to an hour before it starts. I was literally running around London like a caffeine fuelled mad woman.
Here are some general things that might seem like common sense but were things I didn't realise, and that might help with anyone looking to shoot future shows -
Use Uber! - Uber is a personalised taxi service that picks you up from where you're stood and drops you off, so there's no need for finding taxi ranks and flagging down cabs! I was in a huge rush to get to one particular a show on time and didn't have time to catch the nearest tube and walk down, so an Uber was a life saver - I managed to get dropped off right at the door with time to spare! If anyone wants to try Uber and hasn't already, use my code "ubersukideen" for £10 worth of free rides!
Carry snacks and water- I have to carry snack bars on me at all times generally because I find it hard to be able to eat on the go as a vegan, but I don't think I found any time to sit down and have lunch all week. I managed to fit in time for dinner.. just once. Some days I didn't get in until late, and if you take into account after parties and that Fashion Week is more than just the shows, finding time to eat is really important. It sounds silly and like something really basic but not eating all day can take it's toll and you want to be on top form to produce good work, so remember to eat and bring food with you incase you don't find time.
Bring ID and Business Cards! - Don't expect to get in anywhere unless you can prove who you are. My passport is always in my bag incase of unexpected nights out, but just incase it isn't in yours, make sure to bring some form of identification incase you aren't allowed to pick up your passes, which then means you won't get to your show on time! Business cards are another thing that I picked up just in time for Fashion Week and were definitely helpful - I gave them out to some designers and bloggers who have since been in touch, so it's definitely helpful in getting your name out there.
Dress appropriately - I know it's Fashion Week and it's all dress to impress, but also dress to be on your feet all day, and if you're at the AW shows, dress like it's cold. I wore heels for when I was at events where I was required to dress the part, and for getting around Somerset House (because who doesn't wanna look good when they get street styled?) but I carried flats in my bag. Not all the shows are close together - Topshop Unique at Tate Britain was a tube and a walk from Somerset House and it rained - not something I'd have been stoked on if I didn't bring proper shoes and a jacket. I had a girl message me saying that she wore heels for one day of Fashion Week and her feet were so swollen she couldn't get her boots on on the way home, so to avoid that, come prepared.
Be nice! - This is a general rule of thumb for life but the photo pit is a busy, busy place - sometimes peoples lenses and heads get in peoples shots, sometimes other photographers can seem abit irritable, especially if everyones in a tight space. Be nice, smile, apologise if you get in someones way. There's no benefit to being rude whatsoever. You're also representing yourself as a brand, so act professionally - you never really know who you could be making an impression on. I made some helpful contacts just through smiling and small talking at shows!
- Colour Balance - Ideally this is a given, but if you aren't already shooting in RAW, do yourself a favour and change that ASAP! Shooting in RAW records all data from your sensor, so you get the highest quality, higher brightness, and lets you make more adjustments without ruining image quality. Sometimes I'd shoot a show and when looking at the image on my laptop, I realised some adjustments needed to be made in post process. Shooting in RAW allowed me to play around with the brightness and colour of the image whilst retaining quality.
- Manual Mode - You want to have full creative control over your images. I always shoot in manual as a habit from photographing concerts, but being able to photograph and change settings quickly is ideal, especially as most shows are over from anything between 10-20 minutes.
- Lenses - This is a case of personal preference, as some photographers I saw were shooting on 70-200m lenses. I took my 24-70mm and 50mm lenses with me. The nifty fifty is handy to have on you whenever, I tend to carry it with me at all times just as it's light and small, but it can come in handy during LFW, especially if you're shooting street style at Somerset House, which seems to be incredibly popular with photographers. However, as it's a fixed lens and I was there to shoot shows, the 24-70mm was ideal, especially to zoom in to clothing details when needed, like below at Xiao Li. Oh, the irony.
The general rule of thumb when shooting designers is to get one full length, a crop and a close up of detail. Get creative and remember to have fun - Fashion Week can be quite stressful but it's also a great place to "network", get inspired and meet new people. Like Alexa Chung and Noel Fielding! -
If there's any questions I haven't answered yet or anything else you'd like to know, comment below or email me!
I was asked to come and assist with a photoshoot Daisy Street were doing with Made in Chelsea star Francesca Newman Young. Final images and videos can be seen on Daisy Street's Twitter and Instagram!
Behind the scenes of the shoot - how many girls does it take to get some balloons up?
Inspiration in the Daisy Street office
I currently work in a photo studio shooting modelling portfolios - here is some of my recent work of a girl that came in and had never done any modelling before.