Originally posted on: Aug 29th, 2010 at 10:59pm

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure to work with the charity organization You Live and You Learn for their upcoming fashion show.

For those that want to learn more, the YLAYL organization is described as:

The non-profit organization showcases the talent of aspiring and struggling fashion designers by educating them on how to create runway events. This is a creative forum for many to learn and to express themselves. The events are fundraisers aimed to create a program for high school students and college graduates to gain diversified experience qualifying them for license exams such as the NCIDQ. This is an educational initiative that motivates and helps many make their dreams come true.

The event itself was based around New York’s upcoming Fashion Week, showcasing designers from San Francisco, New York, and Paris. With only a mere one and a half weeks before New York’s actual Fashion Week (September 9th through the 16th to be exact).

Personally, my experience with the event the organization has been three weeks of amazing opportunities, three weeks of learning more about myself as a photographer, and three weeks of building up my confidence as a photographer.

One of the most enormous confidence boosters I received from this experience was the opportunity to work with models intimately. Because, honestly, I was extremely nervous to take a picture of someone who has their picture taken for a living. Thankfully though, I immediately discovered that I really, really enjoy fashion/editorial photography because I can exercise a great deal of creativity.

I have also established some fantastic working relationships and friendships with the models. Within the past month I have scheduled (and successfully shot) three photoshoots with them, and have more planned right up until the day of my relocation to Seattle next month. So exciting!

It should be noted though, that not everything is always so pristine behind my lens. Honestly, shooting during the event required a bit of trouble-shooting mixed in with self-doubt and, my least favorite feeling of all, feeling out of control.

Nobody is perfect – let’s face it people! As a photographer, I know I am not the best, and no matter how much I strive to be in control or perfect, I know that I will encounter a myriad of issues for the rest of my life. I try to remain optimistic by telling myself it’s how I handle the situation.

What exactly happened to me was a combination of two things: lighting and my limited equipment. The lighting casted shadows of the worst places on the models, so I had to adjust those dark spots with my flash. I am no strobist – please give me natural lighting any day! Therefore, working with my flash produced some nice photos and a lot of not-so-nice photos.

The second problem I faced was completely out of my control, because it dealt with the fact that I have the lamest array of lenses. Ever. The only lens I had that was fast enough for the situation was my 50mm f/1.8 prime.

Let’s just say shooting a fashion show with a 50mm fixed lens is a terrible experience. Mainly because you see all these great shots, but can’t do squat about snagging them because your lens is only useful if the subject is 50mm away (in this situation that is).

So, here I am with all of these great designs and models (who were rocking the runway!) and I’m completely, and utterly locked in because of a lens. Ugh!

Believe me, I’m not one to cry about my gear, because I have done some seriously incredible things with what I have. Heck, I even always tell myself “it’s not about your equipment, but what you can make your equipment do for you.” Sadly though, my mantra fell through last night as I discovered that if I want to continue serious photography, I am going to have to get a better all-around lens so I can avoid troubling situations like this.

In the end, I’m not too upset about my photos, because I’m thankful to have walked with over five successful photographs.

To view the whole set, check them out on Flickr!

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