Was invited to do a fashion show behind the scene just before the weekend. Just thought I’ll share some of the challenges of the day trying to capture the moment.
1) Exposure: The light is not consistence in the guest seating area, and in the back stage (area behind the JNG logo. The most challenging part is during the catwalk, the main light is the windows by the end of the runway. As seen in the photos, the room gradually gets darker towards the JNG logo. There is almost 1.5 stop of difference, from silver reflective surface by the JNG sign, to the end of the runway where the 6:30pm daylight is still very bright.
Solution: For the runway, meter the light 1/3 down the runway, and dial in aperture as the model is doing the catwalk closer to the end of the runway. If left to the camera’s AV mode, will most likely underexpose when models are just at the begining of the runway due to the reflective Logo. As for changing exposure between the runway and the back stage, I made custom setting for each. C1 for the runway with white balance dial in, and C2 for the back stage.
2)Shutter speed: For some reason, the Canon 5D3 loves to use really slow shutter speed for 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. It can go as slow as 1/20 or 1/15. Although I have steady hands, the subject aren’t always still. Even shooting at 1/60, it can get blurry when subject is on the go.
Solution: Canon 5D3 has the option to choose the slowest shutter it will go when under automatic mode. Or better solution, use M as aperture control for dof is as important as the shutter speed. Manual change the exposure using the ISO, so glad that Canon allows user easily do that with the right hand without needing to look at the camera, so our eyes can stick to the viewfinder.
3)Moving model: To ensure sharp pictures, Wildlife photographer will typically use really high shutter speed to capture moving subject, anywhere from 1/2000 or faster, with ISO might be as high as 6400. Although this is a catwalk, with the quick rate of change from subject to camera, long focal length lens, dim lighting for tracking, all makes it a small challenge.
Solution: Set the camera to servo tracking, use a fast 135mm prime, and shutter speed of 1/200 (wish I can use more, or ISO will be in 5000), was manage to get by with aperture of f2.5-3.5. Any faster f-stop will have too shallow dof for moving subject, and pushing the ISO too high and start loosing details and dynamic range.
4)Flash or not to Flash?: Although adding flash will certainly help with getting nice crisp pictures. I find that using flash is very intrusive at capturing event photography. On top of that, will likely have to use ETTL to capture the catwalk, as the distance between the light and the moving model will change quickly. Very difficult changing light setting manually while model is walking towards the camera/light.
Solution: Decided to use a faster aperture f2.5-f3.5 and higher ISO 2500 to compensate.
5)White Balance: There will usually be daylight from window daylight mix with the lights in the room. Depending where the subject is, one light will tend to be stronger. As seen in the picture below, there is a strong skylight above left, while green fluorescent from the makeup room casting green on the right.
On the runway, there is a blue gel light by the JNG Logo, a red gel light by the end of the runway. On top of that, the main light are the windows over powering the ceiling lights in the room.
Solution: 5 minutes prior to the start of the show, I asked the coordinator about the available light. He informed me the main light will be the windows. With the blue cast in the back by the logo, and the red cast at the end, the best solution is to use a grey card, and mass process the white balance in post. The white balance changed from 3200 kelvins, to 4500 kelvin as we get closer to the window light.
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