Answering adverts on the internet can lead to all sorts of trouble, but this is one advert that worked out just fine. This opportunity came via Facebook, and one of my contacts had spotted and ‘liked’ a message from WEX Photographic (I still call it Warehouse Express) who, in conjunction with Canon UK, were offering a small number of photographers the opportunity to photograph a catwalk show as part of London Fashion Weekend.
London Fashion Weekend takes place at the end of London Fashion Week, and so on Sunday I boarded a train bound to London, and because it was a Sunday, naturally ended up on a bus for a good third of the journey. No matter. A tube journey to Charing Cross – Central Line to Tottenham Court Road and Northern Line to Charing Cross (the Circle Line wasn’t operating for some reason) followed by a short walk. Instructions were to meet at One Aldwych Hotel – a smaller and more discreet hotel compared to the nearby Savoy or Waldorf and one I walked straight by due to lack of signage…
We were greeted upstairs, given a short briefing about what to expect and told to sign a waiver saying we couldn’t sell images and then walked over to Somerset House, where a large marquee had been erected in the central courtyard.
About 40 other photographers piled in, many getting overly territorial over their pitch. As I was taller than many I decided to stand towards the back of the tiered platform, with the aim of shooting over those ahead of me.
The show we were covering was the last show of the weekend, entitled the Trend Show, and was split into 4 sections showing some future fashion trends with short breaks between each section, sufficient time for the models to change outfits.
The lighting was quite impressive. We were told that a correct exposure would be achieved at around 1/640th of a second at f/5.6 and ISO800 and this was correct. White balance of the lights was given at 3000K. Given that some of the drama productions I shoot at you are pleased if you can use a faster shutter speed than 1/20th of a second at f/1.8 at ISO 1600.
Here are some of my favourites. You will notice some shadows – these were photographers in front of me jockeying for position and moving into my shot. Whilst the photo editor at Vogue would have binned these, I quite like some of the facial expression, so have left them in.
Next time, if there is a next time, I will take a longer lens (I took a 24-105 and a 70-200), but a 300mm lens would have given me more options, and to possibly take a monopod – not necessarily for support, but to fight off other photographers wanting your pitch. Either that or some dog treats.
Thank you WEX, Thank you Canon for the opportunity – compared to motorsport photography, there were plenty of differences – being warm, dry and indoors being the major ones!
The trip back to Norwich was uneventful – walk – tube – train – bus – train, with comedy disorganisation evident at Witham when were transferred back onto buses.