Fashion for a good cause

I shot the Synesthasia annual charity fashion show organized by McGill University students. This year’s theme was Dynasties with all scenes names after Imperial China dynasties such as Tang or Ming. The benefits of the show goes towards Habitat for Humanity – Philippines for the rebuilding of homes in Zamboanga City, an area affected by the conflict between the Moro National Liberation Front and governmental forces. The show combines dance numbers with runway walks with apparel provided by sponsors from the fashion industry.

The Synesthasia website can be found at:

I attended the dry run to assess the lighting environment and take some test shots. I must admit that I was unprepared for a fashion show. It combines the most challenging aspects for photographic equipment: low light and movement. I was planning to shoot the event like a concert, that is without flash so I brought an array of fast primes. It quickly became apparent that the very low luminosity combined with the fast movement made it impossible to get decent shots even at very high ISO and full open. I had to use a portable flash to get enough speed to freeze motion (around 1/400s). This solved another challenge, that of white balancing as the lighting was heavily colored and would have been difficult to sort out colorwise. So I went home and settle on a 24-105mm zoom as the only lens for the shoot as there is not enough time for lens changes. I hadn’t used a portable flash in a while so unfortunately  it took me a few scenes before I could get shots that I liked. It was fun though and I’ll try to find other charity events to offer my services.

Equipment: Canon DSLR 5D Mk II, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, RAW conversion using Adobe Lightroom 4.1


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