By Michele Smith
Facebook – MicheleSmithMarketing
New York Fashion Week is the highlight of every fashion designers year and there are several moving parts to say the very least, even in the preparation stage. With an abundance of models, celebrities and designers forefront, there are people behind the scenes with jobs equally as important. Many people wonder what actually goes on behind the scenes and more importantly what goes on behind the lens. While most people do not have the opportunity to attend, we do see the photos after the fashion week events. From a photographer’s perspective, this is what really happens behind the scenes. While there are photographers aplenty, the photographers who are in the “pit” of a runway show are in the middle of the action.
The photographers hired in the pit are runway specialists, meaning that they focus on capturing every look perfectly as models walk down the runway. Most of these photographers are also hired for high-profile events such as the Oscar’s, Grammy’s and other major award ceremonies. Many fashion week photographers shoot shows back to back, translating to a very long 12-hour day. Finding the right spot in the photographers pit can be tricky, because preference is given to the designer’s photographer. There is usually only one spot dead center and it is important not to encroach on the designer’s primary photographer. Other photographers can position themselves dead center, but they have to work with an elevation issue. Timing is also a very important part of the photographer’s job. This is crucial to capturing the exact shots. Most photographers count steps, look for opportunities for one foot in front of the other (flat) and try to capture both arms in shots; which is tricky, because when models walk their arms are typically swinging. This basically boils down to patience in order to capture a fabulous image.
There are many other behind-the-scenes quirks that photographers have to deal with. As mentioned above, there is a hierarchy. It does not matter if you are the first photographer on the scene to stake a spot if you are not the designer’s primary photographer – if you do not move you will get booted by security. Another common misconception is that runway photographers are prepped prior to the show. This is only the case when show choreographers are messing with rookie photographers. Typically, photographers bounce from show to show, unless they are specifically requested to stay at a particular location by the designer or venue. Runway show photographers are also always asking attendees in the front row to uncross their legs. Why? When an attendee has their legs crossed their feet are dangling over the runway which causes a photo issue for both the designer and photographer. Other issues include attendees holding anything, including cell phones.
Runway photographers have a pretty strict schedule before the show. If a show starts at 10 a.m., the arrival time is no later than 8:30 a.m. The other high-pressure strict requirement is that runway photographers are not allowed to miss a shot. They have to operate under a 100% success rate at all times and unfortunately 99% does not even cut it.