Russian Fashion Show?

So, I shot a fashion show on a minute's notice last night.  I woke up from a quick nap, and the photo manager was wondering if I could snag some photos of the Russian fashion show going on at that very moment.  I threw the OM-D, 25mm, and the kit zoom into my bag and made my way to the show. The first weird thing was that I was wanded (i.e. metal detector) before entering the ballroom.  Was not expecting that.

Second was that the whole gig was packed!  My expectations were completely different.

I took off my jacket and scarf, and stationed myself next to the other photographers at the event.  I was definitely out-geared (not like gear really matters) by the other photographers there.  70-200 zooms were everywhere as well as full-frame bodies, and even monopods.  I looked quite casual with my small micro-four-thirds cam and prime lens.  Nevertheless, I started taking photographs.

I've never shot fashion before, so I honestly had no clue what I was doing.

The first thought that came through my head was to set my camera to manual metering.  I knew aperture priority would act all screwy due to the spotlights and generally dark seating area.  I should have payed better attention to the highlights, though.  Looking through my photos during post revealed many blown-out highlights.  Furthermore, I lost some frames from not paying attention to how close the models relative to the spotlights.  The spotlight is "brighter" when close up

As the models were walking towards me, I made great use of the selective focusing points on my camera.  I usually focus-recompose when taking photographs of still subjects.  Using this technique, the step or two the model takes between focusing and pressing the shutter can shift herself out of focus -- ruining the frame.  To remedy, I chose a focus point where I wanted the model's face to be in the frame and released the shutter in "full" presses (no hesitation for half-press).

To insure I had sharp faces, I initially set the OM-D to vacuum nine frames-per-second.  While this seems like a foolproof idea, it has it's downsides.  First, the camera's buffer as well as SD card fills ridiculously fast.  Second, reviewing a billion images that are only slightly different in post is so annoying.  Towards the end, I set the camera to a more sane four frames-per-second.

Composing with only one lens with a 50mm FOV was a challenge, but a fun one.  As mentioned earlier, most of the photographers had zoom lens, and were machine gunning the models from start to finish.  I wasted quite a couple of frames from excitement; taking photos of models that were  too far down the runway.  To make the best images, I had to wait for the model to walk closer to me so I could fill the frame.  This strategy would be thwarted, however, if the model stopped and posed further away than I would like.  From there, I tried to use the surroundings of the scene to better my composition.  For example, take the lady singing in the red dress -- as she was far away from me, I used her shadow to fill the rest of the frame.  Additionally, the legs of the audience provides some leading lines as well as some context of where she is.

This was a really fun shoot, and I'm glad I woke-up shot it!