Perspectives of Fashion Photographers in “The Pit”

Ever wonder what it’s like to be one of those photographers at a fashion show sitting in the pit with their big telephoto lens snapping photos as fast as they can? They seem portrayed as paparazzi-esque, always over eager to get the next shot. But there’s a lot more to being a pit photographer than the surface shows. In this video, several fashion photographers, including Bruno Rinaldi, are interviewed about their experiences and opinions on shooting from the pit:

Gianna Pucci, freelance pit photographer for 25 years, says one of the biggest challenges in the industry is finding the right spot in the limited amount of time you’re given. If you ever find yourself in one of these time-crunch situations, here’s a list of things to do immediately:

  • Look for the Light – Obviously this is one of the biggest issues. If you have bad lighting, you have bad photos. So look around and take some test shots to see where the best lighting is and how you can position yourself to take advantage of it.
  • Avoid Potential Obstructions – If you’re early to an event, you may not realize that you’re setting up your camera behind where all of the guests will be sitting, or where the DJ will set up. Whatever your event may be, take a moment to think about what other people and things may block you from getting your shot.
  • Optimize Your White Balance – You want to do this early on so you’re not fumbling with your settings later. White balance can sometimes be tricky, especially if their is mixed lighting or the lighting changes over time.
  • Think About Action and Flow – Where will the most action be at this event? Will the flow change over time? Will your subjects migrate back and forth across a wide area, or generally stay within one small space? Place yourself appropriately according to these factors.

These tips are only for if you have to arrive last minute. If you have the time and accessibility, always scout a location beforehand so you can get an idea of the layout and lighting.

pit fashion photographer photography models modeling telephoto lens

Bruno Rinaldi says he used to bring 44 lbs. of equipment with him including 12 rolls of film for each shoot

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