Dean O'Brien's Blog

Coventry University Graduate Fashion Show: Lancaster Hotel, London

with 5 comments

I’m a great lover of fashion photography and when the opportunity arose to attend the Coventry University Graduate Fashion Show at the Lancaster hotel in London I jumped at the chance.  Since becoming involved in photography the trips down to London seem to be happening more and more.  It still seems to be the place where connections can be made.

The show itself was very well organised and you could have easily been forgiven for thinking that you were photographing the catwalks of Paris or Milan.  I was genuinely impressed by the clothing that the graduates had produced.  Models took their turns to walk the catwalk to music and display the offerings of the Coventry University graduates.  The outfits were very cutting edge and flamboyant.  Obviously this show was timed to coincide with London Fashion Week when many prospective buyers and employers are in town.

This was also a great opportunity for me to network and make contacts with people in similar fields to myself.  I know there are the cynics out there who think that shooting events such as this are a waste of time as there is no financial reward involved but I can assure you that events such as this are crawling with opportunities.  Whilst at the show I managed to talk to a make up artist looking for work in Coventry and wanting to work with photographers.  She too was struggling to get paid work at present but was optimistic as to what could arise from the show.  Its people such as this who I want to work with.  The ‘go getters’ so to speak.  They are hungry for success and are not sitting at home moaning.

Regarding shooting issues.  The main problem with events such as this is that you have no control over the lighting.  It was changing all the time.  Mixtures of fluorescent, tungsten and flash…so it was hit and miss on some occasions.  As photographers, our job is not to moan or complain, but to work with what light we have available.  I love a challenge and this was pushing my skills.  At one point I did feel that my Canon 580EXII flash was struggling shooting at the required distance.  It also worked itself through three sets of batteries.  I now know why so many photographers shooting models on the catwalk still use the Metz hammerhead style of flash.  They have much more power over a further distance and are arguably easier to use.  I know from previous experience that you get around 180 flashes per rechargeable battery so you always know roughly where you stand.  I never brought mine with me  on this occasion (how typical!) but have made a ‘note to self’.

So all in all a great day and some fantastic clothes were on display.  I want to wish all the graduates all the best for the future.  As a photographer I pride myself in producing the best work that I am capable of doing.  Below is just an example of what I managed to produce.


Written by Dean O'Brien

September 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

5 Responses

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  1. Loved reading about your day Dean, I hope we see more shots from this, the one you posted is beautiful!


    September 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

  2. Thanks Mindy. Yes the day was great. Will get some more images up soon all being well.

    Dean O'Brien

    September 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  3. Sounds like you had a great time!
    Mixed lighting is something I learnt about when I did a lot of this type of work last year. Don’t really do much anymore, but iv done a few. People moaning are those who arn’t being realistic and go with expectations. It is what it is.
    Fashion’s bitchy business!
    You learn to work with what you get at these events, great learning experiences whilst you study.
    All students should try it once, even if it’s just to check out the scene and make your own opinions.

    check it out!
    Dec 2008

    Dec 2009


    September 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

  4. I totally agree Harps. I shoot totally in RAW now so just editing the images down in Lightroom. I manage to get as much as I can right in the camera so I don’t spend forever correcting things later.

    It was a great experience though and one which I would do again.

    Dean O'Brien

    September 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm

  5. Hello Dean insightful as always. When I went to a music festival in Prague I went through lots of batteries too! Did you experiment with flash by bouncing, choice of angle?

    I’m a‘go getter’ too. While I don’t have a camera in the meantime I’m learning about my Mac and Aperture 2, ilife09 and iwork09.

    I found this link through Harpreet Khara’s tweet
    should be useful!

    Chris Alford

    January 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

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