Top tips for shooting the catwalk

This year at PhotoPlus we were lucky enough to be invited by Canon to London Fashion week to photograph the works of fashion designer Emilio De La Morena on the catwalk. Armed with the Canon EOS 1D X and the versatile Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM we secured a spot in the photographer’s pit to shoot some shots. So what should you be looking for when photographing the catwalk and what camera and AF settings do you need? Here are some top tips for you…

Lens choice
You’ll need a versatile lens that has a large focal range. A 70-200mm is ideal as you can shoot the full range of the catwalk from when they enter through the door to when they’re right in front of the camera at the end of the runway. You wont have long to get your shots so if you want to use a wider lens such as a 24-70mm for at the end of the runway then mount this on a separate camera and have this set up and ready to go.


Camera settings
Put into the Manual mode so you have full control over the final result. We were shooting the majority of the shots at f/4.5 at 1/400 sec at ISO 800. You want to keep the shutter speed around that speed, as the models are constantly moving so you want them to be sharp. Don’t open the aperture up too much wider then this setting as you’ll find it tricky to keep the model’s face in focus.


Colour balance
If shooting in Raw you can alter the colour balance at the editing stage however it’s best if you can to set it before so you can instantly the result you’re getting. The show lights when tested were measuring at 4400 degrees Kelvin so we set this in manually to the WB setting.

AF settings
Put you lens to the AF setting and set to AI Servo. This is best setting when tracking moving subject matter. You want to be manually selecting the AF point and for the majority of your shots you’ll have it on the top mid point on the focus grid. Keep the focus locked on the face.

Model poses
When walking down the catwalk as a photographer you need to be aware what the model is doing. Look at the arms, legs, eyes and body position. Ideally you want both feet on the floor. Try to make sure both arms are visible (i.e. not hiding behind the back) and ideally you want the body to be upright and symmetrical. Be aware of blinking sleepy eyes so put into the continuous shooting mode to fire off a few frames at once.


And finally… be creative!
After you’ve secured some ‘safe’ shots get creative with your composition!  Look for when the models cross over, include surrounding features such as the crowd behind or the lights above.


Here are the rest of our images from our shoot…



Topic Filter: Commercial / Landscape / Portrait / Stock / What's Hot

Related Tutorials


Martin Lawrence

After many years as a keen amateur photographer, I decided to start a small landscape photography business called Lakescenes which I ran alongside my main job as an IT Manager. As business increased, I found myself working long, but rewarding, hours just to keep up […]

Read More

Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard is a naturalist, nature photographer and videographer who says his favorite location is the one he is in at any time. He is the author/photographer of over 40 books, as well as a well-known speaker and workshop leader, and a Fellow with the […]

Read More

Gary Hart

Gary Hart has photographed California’s natural beauty for over 30 years. Gary’s photos and writing have appeared in many publications, most recently Outdoor Photographer and Sierra Heritage magazines. You’ll also find his images in greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and many galleries and private collections throughout the world.

Read More

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz

Originally from Poland, based in London UK, Jaroslav has background in Fine Arts, degree in Architecture, and wide array of experience. Being an Architect taught him how to be resourceful and to solve complex problems with simple, yet innovative solutions. Constant passion for graphic & […]

Read More

What's Hot

How-To: Photograph Grizzly Bears Without Getting Mauled

Tom Mangelsen has photographed wildlife from hummingbirds to elephants, but he has a special soft spot for bears. And he’s particularly fond of the grizzlies that roam Grand Teton National Park near his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “The more I see bears, the more […]

Read More

Lighting Tip: Faking a Rainstorm

Stephen Carroll, a freelance photographer from Reston, Virginia, specializes in artwork for book covers, with more than 400 (mostly novels) to his credit. They’re not just any book covers, though. His genius lies in creating film noir-like scenes, complete with desperate lovers, soaked T-shirts, smoking […]

Read More

How to Shoot Strangers Without Being Arrested!

I’m in a mild state of shock today. I’ve recently read Watching the English by Kate Fox and discovered things about myself that I was better off not knowing. If you’ve not read the book it can be neatly summarised by the following: in terms […]

Read More