In the Fall of this year, I received an email from a local designer asking if I was available to photograph her upcoming runway show for Fashion Week Minnesota. Excitement was the first feeling I felt, then dread. If I accepted, it was going to be my first ever paid runway photography project. In the past, I usually just got free admission to the shows and other perks in exchange for my photos. As I thought about it more, I doubted myself even more–was I good enough?
I put my phone down and decided not to reply right away. I had to think it over. Did I have the right equipment? Did I have to bring my own lighting equipment in addition to my on-camera flash? What if all my batteries died during the show? What if my memory cards fail? There were too many things that could go wrong. However, after overthinking and causing myself anxiety, I realized that none of the things I feared would happen had ever happened to me. I’ve been fine on other projects. Why was I suddenly going to fail miserably on this one?
I picked up my phone, took a deep breath, and replied that yes, I was going to accept the gig.
From the time I received the initial email until the day before the show, I kept in contact with the designer who was gracious enough to answer my questions. I asked about lighting, what exactly she expected me to photograph (runway, behind-the-scenes, etc.), and how long I was supposed to be on-site. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page with as much of the details as possible to ensure a smooth workday. I have also been to the venue once before, so I was already somewhat familiar with the layout.
On the day itself, I arrived about 20 minutes early so I could setup my gear, get familiar with the run of the show, and get a sense of everyone’s roles in the show. By the time the show was about to start, I already found my optimal spot and was comfortable with my gear settings and my approach to photographing the show. Once the show started, I reminded myself to breathe, relax, and enjoy the show while I remembered to capture the shots I planned on capturing. I found my rhythm.
At the end of the show and party, I definitely was exhausted, but relieved. My batteries were fine, I downloaded all the photos I took without issues, and I was glad I took the opportunity despite my doubts and hesitation. Preparing myself by asking questions, ensuring I had appropriate and functioning gear, and giving myself enough time to prepare before the show definitely helped me feel more confident. Looking back, the experience helped me take more calculated risks when it comes to expanding my skills. It also definitely made me appreciate the fact that someone (shoutout to Karen Morris) believed in my skills and took her own risk by offering me the opportunity to be her show’s main photographer.