What I Learned from Shooting at NYFW

Do you dream of shooting at New York Fashion Week? In this tutorial, I'll let you in on my secrets to keeping your cool as a first-time NYFW photographer.
This September I packed my (surprisingly small) bag and made my way to New York Fashion Week.
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The first time I went to NYFW was in 2014 and I had no plans or bloggers to shoot with, but I was really looking forward to shooting street style!
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mary-seng

This year, I tried to book as many bloggers as I could for the five days I’d be there, and to my absolute surprise, I booked 20!
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Little did I know, I was setting myself up for one of the most exhausting yet exhilarating weeks I’ve had in a long time.
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Shooting with 20 bloggers introduced me to parts of New York City I’d never seen before — which I loved  — but that meant shooting in unexpected lighting and locations.
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(I only got lost on the subway — and cried — a couple of times, so I'd consider that a small victory!)
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marissa-webb

In Dallas, I usually have the time to plan for the locations and light we’ll have during the shoot. But in NYC, almost every shoot was in a different location — so I had to adjust my shooting style based on the situation.
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I want to share my experience shooting at NYFW and how I navigated shooting in new locations (mostly with bloggers I’d never met!) so that hopefully it will help you on your next blog shoot!
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Four of the main factors I considered during every shoot 

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1 :: Where is the best light — and how do I deal with harsh or uneven light?
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Shooting at NYFW meant I was shooting at all times of the day (even at noon), which I usually never do in Dallas! Here's how I shot with the different types of light throughout the day:
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If the background we wanted to use was in direct light — I would shoot directly towards the sun, but I'd make sure the model's back was towards the light so the front of her skin and outfit was evenly lit.
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light-direct

If we were close to tall buildings (which was just about everywhere), I would shoot in the even light on the shaded side of the building. This meant we could shoot in any direction — but one thing I did have to be aware of was light reflecting off the buildings on the opposite side of the street — so I would move the blogger around until I found lighting that was the most even on her.
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If there weren't buildings to block the light and it was midday, we’d walk to a nearby park or use trees to diffuse the direct light. You can see how the light on her hair is a little softer.
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light-trees-diffused

2 :: Where is the best background — and what do we do if there aren't great options?
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So after I found the best lighting, I would try to find the best background for us to use. I would try to avoid crowds if possible, and construction, and anything that just wasn’t appealing. If shooting down the sidewalk was a possibility, I would do that — but if there was construction or a lot of people around, I’d shoot at a slight angle towards the building. Sometimes we would have to walk a few blocks, but it was definitely worth it!
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If possible we would look for something that complemented her outfit. Sometimes we walked a few blocks to find the location. And if there were no great buildings, we’d shoot in the street or angled towards the street to incorporate more of the city.
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3 :: What if there are crowds everywhere — how do we handle that while shooting?
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I was under no illusion that shooting in NYC would be the same as Dallas. There were crowds almost everywhere we went. We either had to embrace the fact that they weren’t leaving or walk a few blocks to a less crowded area.
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If we shot on the sidewalk by a building, I would occasionally shoot at an angle so that the background was more of the building wall, which would help eliminate people and other distractions in the background.
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location-early

If you want to have more bokeh in your photos, shooting down a sidewalk or leaving more room behind the blogger will create more opportunity for bokeh.
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location-crowds-early

We also found quiet side streets to shoot on and would just wait for people to pass to avoid getting them in the shot. The best way I found to avoid crowds is to shoot early in the morning — one of my shoots was at 7am and the streets and sidewalks were mostly empty which made it much easier!
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4 :: How can I make the shoot look more editorial (and take advantage of the gorgeous NYC locations)?
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I loved shooting at different angles to make the images look more editorial. Shooting at a slightly lower angle tends to look more editorial so I would try to incorporate those shots whenever possible. I would also try to get establishing shots that were further away, and then move in closer to get full body and detailed shots so the bloggers had a variety to choose from.
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Some of my favorite shots show movement, so I tried to incorporate a lot of walking and crossing the street if the space allowed. I would have them sometimes go up and down the curb to get a variety of action shots (you can never take too many)!
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I hope these tips are helpful the next time you're shooting for your blog! If you have any questions leave a comment below!
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And if you want to get more free blog photography tips (before they hit the blog), sign up below this post!
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P.S. I’m working on something new for fashion bloggers who take their own photos, or who work with their boyfriend/husband/blogger bestie to take their outfit photos. If that's you, I’d love to get your opinion on a few things! You can go here to find out more!
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