I have been shooting with the loaned Olympus PEN E-P3 and the 45mm F1.8 for more than a week now, and I crave for some shutter action with my trusty DSLR E-5. Chance came knocking on my door when John Wong, a fellow Olympus lover invited me for a fashion shoot earlier this afternoon. It was the Sorella Ambassador Unveiling event, featuring a lingerie fashion show in the Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall. Things could not get any better, because I have always wanted to shoot a public fashion show with my newly acquired Zuiko 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 tele lens, and this was the perfect opportunity to put the lens in good trial. I was shooting alongside a group of photographer friends, many from the PEN Lovers group which I have been hanging out with a lot lately.
There is just something about fashion shows that begged me to go back again and again for more. I used to check shopping mall events for any free public fashion shows so I can be first in line to get that extra auspicious spot to shoot the models on stage. Sadly, I am still far from the level of professionals who shoot models for magazines, and attending high profile supermodel shows, hence I shall just target any free shows I can find. The catwalk of the models, strutting their style down the runway gets the blood rushing and heart pumping, as I snapped away the camera to capture that pose, or walk. The feeling of being in the midst of a few dozen more photographers at the shooting area was out of the world, with audible sound of shutter/mirror slapping "clack clack clack" of possibly more than 50 DSLRs chanting in harmonic synchronism.
All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 (non-SWD)
Sorella is a lingerie apparel brand, and being in Malaysia, the models were not really allowed to just wear lingerie strictly. Observing overulling Muslim influenced laws that shaped this nation, the skin cannot ve overly exposed, hence there will be covers in all sorts of imaginable ways. It was not a main issue for most of us here in Malaysia, and we have gotten quite accustomed to this trend of restrictions. Photography purists from other parts of the world may scoff and argue about the odd practice of covering almost the entire body for a lingerie show, but all the can do is to make the best of what we have here. Besides, the fun is in the shooting itself, and the less I complained, the more I enjoyed my shutter therapy, right?
The highlight of the event was the guest appearance of a Hong Kong TVB actress superstar, Yeung Yi. She was the ambassador for Sorella, and her endorsement surely means a huge step up for Sorella. The fans flocked the shopping mall like there was no tomorrow, and the photographers fought one another for that one inch closer to the runway. It was quite a gruesome sight really, not everyone's cup of tea. Nevertheless, the appearance of Yeong Yi, the center of attraction for the day made up for all the troubles and grumbles. She was all smiles, and somehow her smile melted my heart. I think that happens when most people see their stars in person for the first time. I am not exactly her fan (I do not watch... ermm.. Chinese dramas much) but I must say, she made a very good impression for all the fans out there.
YEUNG YI, Hong Kong TVB Star
This fashion show had probably one of the best setup for any public fashion shows I have ever attended. For the first time, I had nothing to complain about the lighting condition. The spot light was bright, so bright that I could actually do away with only ISO400. I shot at ISO640 to boost that extra shutter speed, just in case. The lighting was rather even for the whole runway, with minimal variance and falloffs. It was not harsh, and the light touched the model skin evenly, without introducing too much heavy shadows and highlight. It was tungsten with yellowish cast, nothing a little correction in post-processing cannot fix, or if you insist in getting everything right in camera while shooting you may easily set the custom white balance, because the lighting did not have any changes at all throughout the fashion show session. Kudos to the event organizers to take into such considerations.
The main issue I had was my standing position. I got in quite late, hence I was not in the first line, standing behind an existing line of fashion show hungry photographers. Therefore, I could not nail the full body shots. The best position would be on the photographers stage, but it was reserved mainly for media and official photographers, which I did not intend to step on their toes. Not having full on center position, and standing from quite a distance away, obstructed by heads, and some random stuff moving around the space between my lens and the stage, there was only so much I could do with composition. I managed mostly half body shots.
I shot only with Olympus DSLR E-5 and the Zuiko 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 mk1 throughout the entire session. I did not use the flash, because I did not see the need to. For the first time in history of my fashion show shooting, I could get extremely high success rate !! I have more than 90% usable shots, and that is a lot, coming from my usual 20-30% usable shots from my previous combination of humble E-520 with the 40-150mm mk1. I guess, equipments do really matter in helping you nail your shots, besides photographers skills alone. Focusing on the 50-200mm mk1 was very fast, silent, and unbelievably accurate. I could shoot while the models were walking down the runway, without even using the continuous focusing. I am a single focus shooter. I was very, very pleased with what the lens could do for me, and oh the image quality was simply amazing !!
I certainly have fulfilled my itch for a fashion show shoot. Thank you so much John Wong and Aarynn Kit for the kind invitation. John, we must go out and shoot again.
Anyone of you out there love to shoot fashion show as well?