Lunch time reflections and wanderings

A day in the life of a London Fashion Week photographer

It's week 8, and I am challenging myself again to photograph a fashion show and some backstage activity. I was very lucky to be able to go to three fashion shows this year. Fashion Show Live, which took place at the London Stadium in Stratford, the Justin Cassin LFW Show at Shoreditch Town Hall and finally the FxFashion Show at Stationers Hall in St Pauls. So there are a few things to consider before putting your hat in the ring for photographing a fashion show. When the events are, timings of the shows, what fashion designers are being showcased, what to photograph, the venues and having the right gear in terms of cameras and lenses.

I have been lucky enough to photograph a few of the small fashion shows over the years. Fashion isn't really my passion but it's an interesting challenge and I love meeting people at these shows, mostly the designers, models and people attending the shows. It's a real mix of people. Many of them are extremely passionate about fashion. I am always keen to ask questions to those who create intriguing garments and their thinking behind them, like the piece in the lead image above by a designer called SHUXUAN G, who in their own words calls it ... seamlessly blending Oriental futurism with romantic poetry, along with a touch of modern minimalist relaxation. Pretty bold and iconic. Wouldn't look out of place on a main stage at London, Paris, Milan or New York Fashion week.

So the first thing to do is go on to the London Fashion Week website and check out the schedule of shows on during the week and jot down a shortlist of the shows you're interested in attending and photographing. I shortlist shows where I find the designer or styling interesting, venue also plays a part in my thinking too. The next step is to drop an email to the press team at each fashion designer's companies to ask for a press pass. It helps to have a little bit of work behind you so that you can send along a page (and your instagram account) with these shots. Be polite and accommodating. It helps more if you are shooting for a large agency like Getty, newspaper, blog etc. Provides you with a little more clout. I don't have that luxury so it's a little hit ... many times and hope they like what you've done in the past.

Lorena behind the scenes at FxFashion Show, London

Lilly Laschelcic wearing Bouqui Glamhouse, London

Dabz backstage in the zone, FxFashion, London

If you are lucky enough to be send a press pass, drop them a reply back with thank yous and if you have any questions, this is a good time to ask. Nothing wrong with asking questions. If you're not sure about something, I'd ask other photographers who have shot at a fashion show or at that particular venue. Next is to pop the fashion show's that you have been accepted to, into your calendar with the venue location and if you know, which designers are being showcased there. Some events showcase more than one fashion designer. So get all that noted down so that you are ready. Often good to try and find their instagram accounts. It's all the rage now, people don't ask for phone numbers, email addresses or Linkedin accounts, they ask if you have Instagram.

A few days before the fashion show, I'm checking my gear, ensuring the batteries are charged, memory cards are wiped and my cameras dates are reset. I pick my ideal lenses and get them all ready in my bag. The other things to think about is tea, water and snacks... and my gilet. Who knows how warm of cold it'll be in the venues. On the day, I'm there an hour or two early so that I can capture some behind the scenes photos and of people attending the show, as you'll often find the most fashionable people there. Behind the scenes / backstage photography in my eyes is the most fun, getting those candid moments of make up artists, designers and models getting prepped for the runway. I tend to use a lense which means I don't need to be very close to the subjects so that I don't disturb them while they are in the zone. They have enough things to think about.

Alexandra and Vwegba at FxFashion Show, London

Vwegba wearing Sariusai at FxFashion Show, London

Prepping for the show, FxFashion

Then on to the main event, get to the photographers spot early, get my place and wait. I use this time to get to know some of the other photographers or whoever is around me and also to do some last minute checks on my equipment. Usually at shows, they'll have a dress rehearsal where they'll be checking the music, the lighting, the model walk etc. This is the moment when I can take some test shots to ensure I'm getting the right settings on my camera. There isn't a lot of time to change these settings once the show starts so this step is vital. I often bring two cameras with me so I can use two lenses and I don't have change lenses during the show. There is no time for that. I learnt this during the days when I used to be a music photographer and capturing bands, only being allowed a short time to capture. You need to be fast and ready for whatever moment comes into frame.

Once the show ends, there are often people lingering around chatting and taking photos of each other. Sometimes I stick around to capture a few people, often candidly, occasionally asking if I can take their photo. You'll pretty much get a yes every time. They always want to be captured being at these events. Then it's home time. Before I head to the wonderful world of sleep, I'll download all my photos. Gives me a little bit closure at the end of the day. Over the next day or two, I'll look through all the photos, process them, tag them with my name, show, instagram handle, designers, venue etc so that if anyone somehow downloads my photos, they'll know who took them.

As a courtesy I often send my photos to the person who provided me with the press pass along with a thank you and mentioning if they use any of them, to tag me with my name, website, Instagram handle etc. It helps with my reach and seo for my website.

Below are just a few photographs from this years London Fashion Week events. In the future, I'd like to take these to capture bigger fashion events, as well as film and music events... where more of my passion resides. Oh, and the dream, to capture sports events, especially football.

Chez and Nicholas at Fashion Show Live, London Stadium

Lilly Laschelcic wearing Kwame Koranteng at Fashion Show Live, London Stadium

Dabz wearing SHUXUAN G at FxFashion Show, London

Let me know what you think. Follow me on this journey.

If you'd like to work on a photo with me one week, feel free to drop me a message via Instagram @bimalt or via my contact form.