Black White

Milano Moda Donna


Place: Milano
Period: 22 Sep 2011 -> 24 Sep 2011
Characteristics: fashion, portrait, street
Hints: several different events are organized, but many are on invitation/appointment; a telephoto lens could be handy in these situations, especially if it if a fast lens


Camera: Nikon D5000
Lenses: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Flash: Nikon SB-700

Milano Moda Donna is an event that is organized in Milan twice a year during the Fashion Week in February and September. For those who love fashion it is an opportunity to admire the latest creations of their favorite stylists. For those who love photography is an opportunity to explore aspects of this world through their lenses. A lot of considerations could be done on the fashion world, but you will not find them here. I simply describe the point of view of a photographer. In this article I will try to tell you which are the possibilities that turn up to those who walk around the center of Milan in these days.

Milano Moda Donna covers a whole week, where you can find fashion shows, presentations and more. Most of these events, however, are open only to those who have an invitation, so if you know anybody linked to this world then it is time to call him/her and get a pass in time. For those like me who do not have this opportunity, however, there is no problem, there are always alternatives... The first is patience. Sometimes it happens that the parade is not full, and maybe once the guests are all in then it comes the time for ordinary people... Maybe only when the show is started, but at least you can get some shots. Another alternative is the nerve. Yes, despite having been only a few times at this event, I have already seen enough sketches, and some of them were really funny :-). Sure, sometimes they work, sometimes not, but if you look carefully around you will see that someone is willing to look like a fool to be able to show up at a fashion show. I will not describe the scenes I witnessed (perhaps they deserve a separate article...), but I assure you it is a lot of fun, there are real professionals... If this is not your territory don't worry, in fact parallel to the events by invitation some open events are organized as well. Obviously do not expect to be able to attend a high fashion show, but some vast production brands take advantage of this opportunity to present their collections by organizing real fashion shows.

On the official website you can find the complete schedule, but it does not include events open to the public. A search on the internet, however, will allow you to easily find all the information, although usually there is not great notice. The fashion week also attracts many people from all over the world, so for those who like to portray strange characters or to do street photography there are many opportunities. Last year (and apparently this year as well) Canon was one of the sponsors. They organized a photography competition providing their own cameras to the competitors.

In short, the first suggestion is to search, search and read up. What is organized may change from time to time, but lately it goes in the direction of creating more and more opportunities to attract people, so you only have to choose what interests you the most.

I discovered this event in September 2010, when a fashion show was made on a stage set up in Piazza del Duomo. On that occasion I made the first pictures of a fashion show and I realized that this world has its own photographic rules. Try to take some pictures at random and then look at them at home. You will realize that some are good, some not... In some of them there is something wrong, something not harmonious, but what? The answer is very simple: the step. Yeah, when you take a picture of a person who is walking you must try to portray her in the right way. The first important thing is our position, which should be as much central as possible (in fact that's where the platoon of professional photographers sets). At this point it is just a matter of catching the right moment, the one in which the leg on the photographer side is ahead and the back foot is slightly raised. You will need a little of training but you will eventually get used to that, it is just a matter of taking the right pace. You can then try to make more shots to the same model and maybe try to capture some details.

As always another very important thing is simply to be ready. Remember that a fashion show lasts a short time and you will not have the opportunity to make flying corrections, so be prepared before: select the position, adjust the camera (white balance, ISO, exposure time, flash if necessary), experiment in advance. Unfortunately, befpre a fashion show it is difficult to predict how the light will be, but keep in mind that often the catwalk is floodlit and the flash is not necessary. The facts to be considered are many and it is easy to miss something. To name a few remember that the models usually run more than you think, so if you have a fast lens then use it. If you are forced to use the flash be careful not to shoot faster than the synchronization time and avoid continuous shooting (remember that the flash must recharge between subsequent shots). To recover mistakes you can shoot in RAW (many professionals shoot directly JPG, but they know what to do). To reduce the time between shots keep the preview disabled. Obviously you will need to adapt to different situations based on your experience and on the mistakes that you will inevitably do, so look at the pictures as soon as possible and try to understand where and how you can improve.

If at the end of a show you have a little of patience you might even be able to take some pictures of more or less famous characters, models, stylists. Even in this case set up your camera in advance and be ready. The result can only be satisfactory (above you can see a photo taken in February 2010). I will spare you the photo where I focused on the policeman who was slightly behind the model... :-)

This year I also could appreciate another interesting face: the make-up artists and hairdressers who prepared the models before each show (I am always speaking of those open to the everybody). Everything was done just a few meters from the people. Excellent opportunity to take photos in quantity, with a certain freedom to choose the best point of view, which is usually rare in these situations. In the gallery you can find several shots of this kind. Personally they are the ones I prefer, since during a fashion show everything is planned and prepared, while in the moments before it is possible to capture shots much more natural and spontaneous, with situations which are more interesting than the usual dress parade. Make up artists and hairdressers are concentrated on their job, the bulbs light around the mirrors warms the environment and creates a very pleasant effect, the models are not forced to wear the catwalk mask and they look like normal people.

That's all, I hope you found some useful advice, and you can put it into practice as soon as possible, perhaps at the next event, which will be in about a month. In the meantime you can find some photos of the last edition in the gallery, splitted in Milano Moda Donna - Fashion Shows and Milano Moda Donna - Backstage.

- Jan 26, 2012 -

ˆ inizio