How to shoot backstage for a fashion show?


In this episode of the Fashion Photography Podcast 
we will answer Stephanie Geddes question from OUR FACEBOOK GROUP:

“Hi all, I’ve been asked to shoot backstage at a designers Copenhagen Fashion Week show.
I haven’t shot backstage before and wanted to see if anyone else had any experience to offer?”

We are giving you 5 regular and 5 pro-tips on how to prepare and shoot backstage for a fashion show.

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How to shoot backstage for a fashion show?

Here are 5 regular and 5 Pro tips on how to prepare! 
  1. Clear up the details with the designer.
    What kind of photos, how many and when you should be there.
    Where to grab your badge from, what they need, where will the photos be used…
  1. Make sure to give them price that will satisfy you.
    Sometimes you have to stay extra time and you have to know this in advance.
  1. Don’t forget your purpose there.
    Backstage photos usually have to look like you haven’t been there and they have more documentary style. You need to capture every detail.
    You need to have photos of the models getting their make up and hair done, putting on those clothes, laughing, talking, sitting tired, being excited before the catwalk.
    All of it.
  1. For the client – the more is the better.
    They will always want as many photos as they can squeeze out of you, so don’t forget to go back to point 1 and set some reasonable expectations there.
  1. Don’t go crazy with the retouch.
    Documentary = untouched. Again – make sure to notify and set the expectations of your client beforehand.
    If you have to retouch in details 300 photos it will take a looot of time, so if you don’t want to spend it – and you want your photos to be more realistic just share that with the client.
    If they want the detailed retouch, at least make sure to calculate your fee right.
  1. Pro tip don’t go crazy because of the noise.
    Usually the fashion shows are the exact representation of our industry.
    There are lot’s of work, pressure and nerves behind the scenes and the audience see just the glamour on the cat walk.
    Be prepared that everyone will be screaming on a hurry and quite nervous.
    This means you have to move fast, you have to be focused and… you have to be invisible.
  1. Pro tip – Yes, make sure to stay invisible for the rest of the people, but communicate well with the models.
    Because they will be your subjects and you don’t want to be a stalker in the dark, you want to talk to them in a really friendly way and show them they can trust you. So just don’t forget your bag of smiles.
  1. Pro tip – Show up early.
    To make sure the whole team can have even a gimps of the way you look. This way they’ll know you are one of them. You don’t need to go there two hours before everyone, but if I were you if I had the badge in me, I’d make sure to go about 15-30mins. Before the arranged time.
  1. Pro tip – Don’t take the big guns out and be prepared for bad lighting conditions.
    Above I said it will be good for you if you are invisible – so better don’t take the biggest and scariest lens you have, because this won’t make anyone to feel like they are in their safe zone. 
    What I’d do is to bring with me my favorite 24-70mm and make sure that this will get me the wide shot with all the people and the hustle and also some portrait images with more of a privet vibe.
    I’d definitely also bring a small flash for the camera, to make sure that I’ll have some help if it’s too dark, but I know my flash very well and I’ll be comfortable using it. If you don’t know how to handle yours make sure to learn your lesson before the gig.
  1. Pro tip – hurry up with the retouch.
    Usually after events like this – people want and need the photos as fast as possible. Your photos might be in a magazine or a website tomorrow, and you know the expiration date of the events are quite short, so make sure you won’t make these photos to sit around.

    If you have  any additional tips or questions – leave them in the comments! 

2 comments on “How to shoot backstage for a fashion show?

  1. Huge thank you for this episode responding to my question! I successfully photographed 2 shows backstage, and the PR team for each show posted my work! I’m now working on getting some shows for the upcoming London Fashion Week!

    1. zhekov.georgi says:

      Hey, Stephanie!
      We are so glad we were able to help!
      We’d also love to see some of the photos and read about your experience in the Facebook group =)


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