Coming from a studio background, I have to admit that I was nervous about shooting events. Funny, you’d expect that with 4 years of experience (wow. Its been 4 years!), I’d have this as my fingertips but the lack of exposure to events or weddings is certainly a drawback.
Last Friday I was entrusted by a friend who own’s Dara boutique to shoot their fashion showcase at Aristo, Zouk. For those who are not familiar, Zouk is popular night club in Kuala Lumpur which consist of various sections for the different types of music. For this particular event, it is hosted in elegant setting of Aristo (think chandeliars and big sofas). As I’ve been to a fashion show held here before, I knew that lighting will be a major problem in the club. Not only that, as there isn’t a proper stage, models will just be strutting among the crowd – and with it being Friday night, you can expect the place to be packed. Oh and did I mention the ceilings were black too – horror setting for a photographer.
Nonetheless I arrived early and was greeted by the sight of three models getting their hair and make-up done by three different make-up artist … and get this, they were getting ready in a corner of Zouk’s admin offices. I also met another photographer there who were under the MUA team but can’t recall his name (sorry! My business cards aren’t ready either. Bah). Whipped out my camera and started shooting the makeup process for quite a bit. Wait, make that for quite a while. See I was there from 8.30pm. The event started at midnight. Though…in between I did make some time to get some shots with the lovely hostess, my dear friend Melati.
Let’s fast forward a bit towards 45 minutes before the show. I had instructed Mado to set up a brolly at a corner of a wall – my plan is to have individual shots of the girls in their attire. Girl number 1 came up – then bam, I started to feel the pressure. I was so used to my 50mm that shooting on Mado’s 17-35mm 2.8 was tricky. Tricky in the sense that I had to find the balance so that the models would not look distorted. At that point I knew why most photographers either use a 70-200 for their full body (and shoot from a far) or an 85mm 1.8. I would choose the latter as I find prime lens to be really sharp. I did my best to get a few full-body shots before moving up to a much closer/tighter crop of the models. I repeated the process for all the girls – 8 in total.
Midnight. Showtime. I tucked myself between a table and round sofa somewhere inside Aristo which gave me straight view of the first part of the walk – imagine the girls walking on a straight line, through the crowd, which are standing on both left and right. I pitied the guy who was sitting next to me – my flash was bouncing off him the entire time. Nonetheless, lighting was bad as I’ve mentioned, and most of the shots were lighted up sideways. I wonder if in these cases a Canon 5D MII pushed up to ISO 6400 and without a flash would help. Probably. Adding to the pressure of the lack of proper lighting, the girls were walking extremely fast. No wait. Let me rephrase that, they posed way too quickly. I don’t blame them though; all except one were actual models; the rest were friends of the boutique owner.
Right after the first round of walk, I quickly went backstage and informed the girls to take their time and posed. The girls took heed and the second walk was way better. We completed the night by taking a few group shots and a few more individual shots of the girls. Oh, I should thank Nik Azwaa who came by to take some shots of the crowd at Zouk while I had my hands full with the girls. It was a hugeeeee help for me. Of course, not forgetting Mado – who took my instructions without (much) complain even though I wasn’t paying him for assisting me. Hehe. I love you guys!
By the time me and the boys wrapped up, it was almost 2 am. I had been standing for most of the time since 8.30pm. Hello back pains!
Below are some of my favorite shots which are still heavily leaning towards portraitures. Still so much to learn! Thank you Adrina & Shareena for the enlightening experience! Hope to work with you girls again in the future!