Two weeks ago I hopped on an airplane and landed in New York City. I was so excited to take on my second year as a photographer at New York City Fashion Week! Every time I travel to the Big Apple, Taylor Swift’s song, (which if you don’t know yet, I LOVE TSwift), “Welcome to New York” plays in my head. Definitely not complaining! New York City is hands down my favorite place (aside from Lititz), so to me, it is always magical. But when you combine Fall fashion and weather with NYC, it is extra magical to me.
This time entering the city on my own, I felt a lot more confident about navigating the craziness. I’ll be completely honest, last year attending Fashion Week for the first time, I was so anxious, nervous and overwhelmed - more on why later in the post. ;) But this time around, I felt comfortable, confident and ready to take on the city!
I decided to write a post about fashion week from a photographer’s perspective because I think it is a bit foreign to many people. It definitely was to me before I started attending. Now that I have two years under my belt, and have learned a lot, I thought you might enjoy gaining more of an inside “photographer’s” perspective of the week!
New York Fashion Week is hands down one of the most fun events I have had the privilege to experience and shoot! Now, let me clarify something on the front end. While I have had the opportunity to shoot shows at fashion week, I do not shoot solely for the Fashion week company. I shoot for bloggers, social media/brand influencers that attend Fashion Week and the designer shows. One of my dreams would to one day have the opportunity to shoot a show solely for a brand/designer - one can dream - first step to making it come true. :)
I primarily shoot during Fashion Week for my babes Collins Tuohy Smith (@collinstuohysmith) and Megan Bonner (@pipmegan). In addition to shooting for them, I also shoot other Influencers that reach out to me and book a session/s. With the incredibly fast rise of Instagram, LikeItToKnowIt, and Rewards Style; being a blogger/influencer has become a new outlet both for brands/companies and as a career or job for Influencers. It is amazing how many Influencers end up making this a full-time gig. And let me tell you, they work really hard to make it full-time. There is so much you can write about what exactly Influencers do, but I’ll leave that to Collins and Megan to really explain it in more detail. Here are blog posts they’ve recently written that explain it well. (featured blog posts linked above - hover over their names for links.)
So picture this: literally hundreds of Influencers from all over the country and other countries fly into NYC to attend Fashion Week, go to shows, network with brands and other Influencers and, obviously; have some fun, too! So, as a photographer, the opportunity to work with so many of them is huge!
Fashion Week is SO busy, busy, busy! In between shows and parties throughout each day, you’re walking and Uber-ing (is that a word yet?) all over Manhattan shooting content for these Influencers. The week consists of early mornings, long days on your feet, late nights, rooftop parties, networking, importing hundreds of photos into Lightroom, editing, editing, editing and in your spare time, sleeping, eating, drinking lots of water and having some fun at the parties.
A question I get asked often is, “why go to fashion week?” Well, if you haven’t caught on yet, let me explain. It’s pretty simple to me at least. Haha! 1). The opportunity to network with both Influencers and Brands/Designers alike. 2). It is a fun way to make some extra money! 3). The experience is unlike anything else you may shoot as a photographer. 4). If you love the hustle and craziness like I do (I relate it to an adrenaline rush), you’ll love shooting during Fashion Week!
Tips, Tricks and Wisdom
If you ever decide to take on NYFW, I’ve made a list of some suggestions I’ve personally learned either the hard way or will do again because it worked well!
Yes, staying in Manhattan is expensive, but if you can, do it. The first time I participated with NYFW, to save some money, I stayed at a cute AirBnb on Staten Island. I took the bus and ferry every day, hopped on the Subway from the ferry and sometimes after the Subway, took an Uber to my final destination. The experience, while it made me feel like a true New Yorker (and I loved taking the ferry and subway), was overwhelming and stressful at times. Also, I had to plan for an hour and a half of travel time to the city and back to my AirBnb — in my opinion, not worth it. (Remember I mentioned earlier to this post that I struggled last year with some anxiety and stress - this was why). I do think that staying in Jersey and taking the PATH train and/or subway would work well, too. This time I stayed in Manhattan with Collins and Megan at a newer, cool, modern hotel called Yotel — very clean, reasonably priced, small, but perfect for what we needed.
Next time, I think it would be helpful to have an assistant with me. Someone that is willing to carry random equipment, take behind the scenes and travel along with me! (However, I do think this is more of a personal preference)
Drink lots of water! (this year’s NYFW was very hot!) and stick to wearing cute, comfy clothes and walking shoes! There’s no need to dress to impress too much. ;)
Pick the locations you want to shoot each day a few weeks prior and then schedule your sessions with Influencers based on time availability and where you’re shooting! Last year I was literally going all over Manhattan, but went about it geographically and logistically all wrong. Traffic is already bad in the city. Then add extra traffic for NYFW events and any other events happening during the week — let’s just say, you spend more time in an Uber, subway or Taxi than you do shooting. That was bad planning on my part the first time around. Now I know for the future. This year, Collins, Megan and I mapped out exactly where we wanted to shoot each day, made an itinerary and “wow!”, we were so productive!
Schedule hourly time slots when booking with Influencers.
Buy a weekly Metro card if you plan to take the Subway
NYFW is usually 10 days long, so plan on being in the city for 4-7 days to make the most of your trip!
A personal goal I have for next year, attend both NYFW, NY Bridal Fashion Week, and MAYBE Fashion Week in London! Collins and Megan, are we setting that goal next year? ;)