I Photographed Backstage at London Fashion Week and Didn't Know What I Was Doing

At this point in my life, I had absolutely no training in any form of photography.

Photograph shot by Emily Hughes.

At age 19, one of my teachers tagged me in a post on Instagram. Yes, I did and still do have my teachers on Instagram, they always give major social media support. The post that my teacher sent me was "Backstage photographers wanted for London Fashion Week." At this point in my life, I had absolutely no training in any form of photography; however, I have this habit where I apply for things on a whim. Before I knew it I had applied to photograph backstage at London Fashion Week and thought nothing of it, About a week or two later, I received an email from a lady saying that they would love me to be a part of their team in shooting with them. 

I was terrified as I barely knew how a camera worked. I used to just wing it any time it came to shooting. I knew this was going to be so tough but I had to go for it. So I bought things that I thought I may need like a camera bag (yep, that is how un-advanced I was), an external flash, and a new lens. 

I booked the train to London and went to stay with my friend who lives there, on the train there I tried to learn the settings of my camera. I wish I was lying about this detail.

So I had my induction day with the rest of the photography team; they were all so lovely and as I got to speak to them I discovered that I was working amongst photography students or legitimate photographers. Meanwhile, I just do this stuff on the side of my fashion course. 

Day one commenced, we go into our office and get our schedules where I discovered I had around seven shows a day to shoot, with a 30 minute editing time. I thought to myself, how am I going to edit through thousands of images on Photoshop? I had no clue what Lightroom was at this point. I was surrounded by lenses the size of a small country and cameras worth more than my car.

The first day began and I began to shoot my shows. The pressure was on because I was the only person shooting for these shows, which meant they had to be good or it was game over. I was going back to the office to edit, and uploading and editing each photo individually on Photoshop. Then my call time would come around for my next show and I hadn't finished editing any of my photographs. At this point I considered going home, packing up my brand spanking new camera bag and calling it a day. I spoke to the lovely girl next to me and she was super chilled and calm after finishing her editing. I smoothly asked, "What is that you are using to edit?" where she stated "Lightroom" and she proceeded to show me the wonders of Lightroom and the supersonic speed you can work at whilst using it. My mind was blown. I thought to myself, I may actually be able to salvage the next four days that I thought were over before it had begun.

At the end of the day, I packed up all of my camera gear and laptop and made my way to my friends. By the time I had arrived at her flat with a portion of chips and lack of sanity, I downloaded a one week free trial of Lightroom and managed to take on the rest of the week. As the weekend got into full flow, I was thrown into situations where I was shooting in dark rooms and cramped spaces. There were times that I could see an unbelievable photograph through the lens and I would ask every ounce of the universe to help me out, sometimes it did and sometimes it didn't. There were times I was stood next to photographers working for Getty and I would be googling camera settings. This is no joke.

I remember I took a photograph of the most beautiful model inside and out, she had her makeup done, wearing giant hoop earrings and a simple white t-shirt and the photograph came out amazing (in my eyes anyway). When I got back to the office and showed everybody, they all loved it and it made everything worthwhile. 

The five days at London Fashion Week were an amazing experience, I met and worked alongside some of the kindest people in the world, and at the end of the final day when my boss said to me, "We wouldn't have survived this weekend without you, thank you." It made me realise that I may not have a clue what I am doing, but I don't think that anybody really does in life.

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I Photographed Backstage at London Fashion Week and Didn't Know What I Was Doing
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