VAMFF 2018: Behind The Scenes at Ginger & Smart

Last week, my friend Guillaume was my right-hand man at VAMFF. It was his first time shooting a major fashion event after only getting into photography 18 months ago. It was such a pleasure to be able to share my fashion week experience with a friend for the first time, rather than the usual assorted lolly mix that is the media riser. It also turned out for the best when Ginger and Smart asked me to photograph their Grand Showcase and I was able to provide them with runway shots while Guillaume worked tirelessly backstage to bring you these images. 

To say that I threw him into the deep end is an understatement. Backstage at VAMFF is a whirlwind of volunteers, stylists, hair and makeup artists and frantic models. Not to mention the designers doing last minute patch ups and alterations. The lighting is unpredictable - it literally changes year to year, show to show - and you kind of have to do the best you can in the few seconds you get as each model walks off the runway and shimmy's into their next outfit.

But if there's one thing I've learned over the years as a photographer, it is to say yes and work out how you're going to do it later one. And this is what I said to Guillaume before Thursday night's show. "Shoot as much as you can, as quick as you can, and worry about the rest later."

After the show, he came to me slightly defeated by the whole scenario. He was worried because his shots didn't turn out the way that he envisioned. Scanning through the data on his card, I yelled at him to stop deleting shots and that we wouldn't worry about it until the morning. I don't yell often, but when I do I mean business, and you should never delete photos (even the blurry photos) until a few hours after a shoot, or even a day, if possible.

You see, there's one lesson that's vitally important to learn as a photographer, and that is that editing matters. Knowing how to edit in order to turn a shit image into something that's appropriate for a client, or a blog post, can literally save you when you get into tricky lighting situations. 

So, through my magical hands and with the help of Lightroom I was able to turn overly warm, blurry, poorly composed shots into a fascinating, documentary-style series showcasing the backstage antics at Ginger and Smart. Of course, Guillaume did all the magic here, pointing his camera at the right subjects and capturing some true split-second moments, but all I'm saying is that editing can do a lot to improve an image.

So a very big thank you and congratulations to Guillaume for capturing the following images!

Fashion WeekCarolyn West