Photographing NYFW

New York Fashion Week. What a beast.

You really find out your limits when you are thrown into this aspect of the fashion world: 20 hour workdays, fast, fast turnaround for image delivery, and speedy blog posts, scaling up and down Manhattan to a million different venues (despite the popular idea that most of Fashion Week happens at the tents of Lincoln Center). Here are some things I’ve learned in the past few years I’ve been privy to witnessing and photographing this industry occasion….

I now dress reasonably. The last thing I want is for my outfit to get in the way of my job. I try to keep it to basics. Ferragamo flats, men’s button ups, black turtlenecks (hello Steve), dark sunglasses and a good wristwatch…and so I don’t feel like a total dude, my camera bag is as chic as it comes.

Always keep it simple. I only carry that day’s invites, phone for all the Instas, the smallest wallet I could find, a little fashion notebook for thoughts on the collections, my signature red lipstick, GUM (you talk to so many people), perfume to refresh before a social event, my 50mm & 24-70mm lens, 5DMarkIII, lots of camera cards, sunnies to hide your tired eyes, and a Veuve Clicquot folding fan. Such small venues.. so many people… usually not enough air. It’s the most important thing.

Access. Know where you can and cannot go. Despite the fact that I can have an all-access pass and every wrist band under the sun, I can still get harassed by security. There is backstage beauty, first looks, risers, front of house and designer interviews – all different, all color coded. If you want to know more about that, see this.

Backstage is intense. You have a fleet of models on their 4th hair and makeup session of the day. Few venues are equipped with air conditioning, so you can imagine how hot it is with the lights, blow dryers and curling irons on. Designers are doing back to back interviews as they prepare to show their creations on the world’s stage.

Sometimes you get to be witness to amazing moments, like when iconic designers do a last fitting of one of their gowns with a top tier stylist on one of the world’s biggest supermodels.

You slip around to the front of house always 15 minutes after when they say the show time will be. The chairs fill up with fashion’s muses, icons, editors, stylists, socialites, and celebrities.

The view of the front row can be just as beautiful as the clothing…

…and just as charming when you see true joy reflected in the faces of the viewers.

It’s a small industry, everyone knows everyone. There are a million hellos, friends embracing friends, and editors congratulating designers after the show.

Outside the street style photographers wait for their meat and potatoes.

This year we introduced a new component into the mix – Kevin. Whereas I mostly cover backstage pre-show, then slip into my seat for the photographs you see here, Kevin positioned himself in THE PIT with the rest of the world’s press photographers and videographers for a new feature we created for Instagram recaps of the top designer shows: #fw15s.

The man’s arsenal. The centerpiece is the RED Epic, the cinema camera we use both for shooting video as well as cinemagraphs. It’s the perfect compliment to a still photography studio since we can use Canon lenses such as the EF 70-200mm, which is perfect for getting the whole range of full body and beauty shots on the runway. I brought our trusty Gitzo tripod and ballhead for times I needed to get high above the heads of other photographers but I also brought a small monopod when I needed to get low. It paid to be prepared because you never know what the situation might be on the risers.

The view from the risers. You have to have thick skin. There are pit bosses. It can be incredibly limited access at times and at other moments they are packed in like a can of sardines. Kevin always reported back on the commentary, the territorial aspect of the space, and how different being high looks compared to low with the final result.

Then the lights go out and the stilettos walk home… and the editing begins.

All our NYFW coverage here.