runway shooting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mrmacedonian, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    hey my sister was involved in a charity runway show today and she asked me to come take some pictures. never having done anything like a runway show and seldomly shoot indoors i was nervous but i slapped on my flash and said why not. i sat next to a lady from Kent Smith Photography with a 70-200mm f/2.8 L-series.

    any way, i took at look at the setting on the back of her camera to get an idea of what would be useful in that situation. as a quick sidebar, she was shooting @1/125, f/2.8, and an ISO of 1250. I must say the ISO surprised me considering the emphasis every book i've read had on choosing as low an ISO as possible.

    my first steps were taking a few shots with the camera on full-auto along with the flash on auto and it was taking shots with an ISO of 400 or 800. i then switched to shutter priority and adjusted my shutter speed to match hers (1/125) and the photos were.. better. my lens unfortunately is wide open @3.5 so it was the best i could do to match hers. I pumped my ISO from auto to 1250 and with my flash on auto my photos were entirely washed out, i was concerned but went back to the full auto shots and then adjusted settings in full manual to get the best i could. auto-flash wasn't working to well for me either so I began stepping 1/x until i found setting and found myself moving between 1/1 (when models were starting at the base of the runway and moving to 1/32 to avoid washing them out at the end which was ~5ft directly in front of me (i lucked out and some reserved seats stayed empty).

    the primary purpose of my post is to maybe discuss any tips or tricks people are able to explain as i did not find anything when i searched the forum as far as "runway, run way, fashion show.." etc. perhaps i didn't look well then it'll be a short thread with 1-2 links :p if not then it may be good to discuss?

    i'll also include a few attempts here.. they're soft and in cases noisy i'm well aware of the issues just thought i'd show some results.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    there were a handful that came out better (flukes, far as reproduce-ability is concerned) but those were good examples of the median

    andrej

    Canon 50D, gripped (very happy considering it was 3hours long :p )
    Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3
     
  2. jackieclayton

    jackieclayton TPF Noob!

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    they aren't bad... the first two the lighting is a bit harsh but those balloons its reflecting off of isn't helping... i'm not sure how I would fix that in the future, maybe a diffuser on the flash (are you using the built in or a strobe?) She used a high ISO because she was indoors and needed to boost the ISO to get her shutter speed up... yes, ideally you want to use the lowest ISO possible for less noise... and perhaps 1250 was the lowest she could get to have a good shot. Not sure what camera she was using, but the really really really good cameras out there have good noise reduction capability at high ISO.

    As far as tips for runway, I have to say that the last one would be awesome if you had gotten her whole figure (her feet are cut off) and it were less noisy... there is also a big shadow behind her head and I'm not sure how you would fix that situation being at a staged event, but maybe bouncing it a certain way would eliminate it. The reason I like #3 so much is that i like that angle for runway, it looks like it should be in magazine at that angle, where the 1st two look like a pageant picture in a yearbook or something (no offense or anything, its still a nice shot, but the third definitely says 'runway'). Plus, by taking a photo at that angle (head on) you not only get the wardrobe but you get the model at a flattering angle.

    If you find that you can't get a steady shot without boosting the ISO so much that its grainy, bring a tripod and set it head on with the runway (if you can). you wont have to worry about being steady and you said it was 3 hours long, your hang won't get tired! Its great you have a big zoom on your lens, so then you can still set up far back enough but focus in on the runway.

    hey, for what its worth you could always contact the lady to see if you can go to the studio and view the shots... just say you're a student and you were interested in how she took her shots. i'm sure she'd be flattered and want to share the knowledge!
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Rather than putting the flash into manual mode, you can adjust the FEC (flash exposure compensation). That way you can leave it in Auto mode but still have some control over the flash exposure. Light falls off over distance (at an inverse square), so if you are going to shoot the models at different points along the runway, you need to have different flash output as the distance changes. Doing this in manual mode would probably be cumbersome. But in E-TTL mode, you can use FEC to tell the flash to be one stop over the metered value, for example.

    I'm guessing that the pro photographer was trying to balance the ambient exposure (or just use ambient only, I don't think you mentioned if she had a flash or not). So I'd guess that her shots didn't have a background that was as dark as what we are seeing in your shorts.

    It obviously wasn't very bright in that location, based on her settings. That is where is pays to have a good lens with a wide aperture and a camera that can handle high ISO like that.
    Of course it's best to leave your ISO as low as possible...but a little noise is better than a blurry shot or a severely underexposed shot.
     
  4. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    thx :p

    Canon EOS 5D

    Yeah I like that shot; these are all volunteer models so they're untrained as far as speed of walking and holding poses for certain periods of time. Not that I'm saying its their responsibility to make the shot but with the slow lens i'm using, it doesn't help :p

    The shot was halfway down the runway so my flash set at 1/1 was still unable to get the job done! :(

    not a bad idea. Knowing how that company works I wouldn't count on them returning my phone calls :p (their photographers have earned a certain stuck up reputation as their big price tag comes with some big attitude.. i like to think the best of people but i've seen it once or twice firsthand; though not from this particular lady)

    in any case, thanks for the comments I know so very little about proper utilization of flash so this was as much experimentation as anything, and i feel like it was quite the learning experience as well :)

    andrej
     
  5. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike, I need to read more into Flash and my flash (Promaster 7500EDF Digital Electronic Flash for Canon). also, yes it was quite cumbersome but i got quite quick at swapping between 1/1 and 1/64 by the end of the show :p

    Yes she was using a flash roughly the size of mine.. if i had to guess itd be the 580ex but it was very dark so i can not be sure.

    Yes! i was quite envious seeing her aperture @2.8 but definitely not envious of the $1800 price tag :p

    thanks for all the comments and pointing me in the right direction w/ the flash mode. i'll be looking into it over the next couple of days :)

    andrej
     

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