Anyone who’s ever sat second row (or, you know, further back, ahem) has encountered that person — that guy who’s so thrilled to be at Hot Show X that he holds out his smartphone and snaps an Instagram photo of every. single. look, blocking the views of the people behind him and bombarding his friends with three dozen blurry, overexposed runway photos. Or there’s the girl who video-records the whole show on her iPad — seriously, I have seen this more than 10 times — obstructing the views not only of the people behind her, but also the people on her left or right.
Dear fashion showgoers, it doesn’t have to be this way. We just need to agree on a few rules. I spoke with four Fashion Week regulars — Alexis Bryan Morgan, executive fashion director at Lucky magazine; Elizabeth Holmes, style reporter at The Wall Street Journal; John Jannuzzi, senior digital editor at GQ; and Tyler McCall, Fashionista‘s assistant editor — and got their advice on how to use your smartphone wisely — and respectfully — during Fashion Week. Read on.
1. Don’t snap everything. Most of the editors we spoke to agreed that photographing every single oufit in a show isn’t a good idea: a) because you don’t need to, given that high-res photos of all those looks will be up on the web in just an hour; b) because you’re probably going to distract someone around you; and c) because you yourself will likely miss important details in the collection you can’t capture with your phone. That said, don’t feel like you can only snap the first look and the finale — you should also make a point to capture the looks that are special to you.
2. Do snap strangers. On a normal day, you might not pull out your smartphone to snap a photo of a stranger — but during Fashion Week, when most attendees are privately hoping for the attention of street style bloggers, anything goes. “I find myself taking pictures of strangers too, which is a whole new thing for me,” says Morgan. “I would never in a million years have pulled out an actual camera and snapped a stranger’s awesome shoes, but I feel pretty comfortable doing it with my phone.”
3. Sit up straight. At a show, be cognizant of the people around you and try not to lean forward in your seat. Every time you put out your arm to take a photo, you’re blocking someone’s view. “I understand there’s a certain amount of excitement, even adrenaline at the shows, but leaning from one row into the other to get a sub-par Instagram is hardly worth it,” says Jannuzzi. “It’s an invasion of already cramped personal space and again, rude. If you’re concerned that you’re doing it, you probably are, so stop.”
4. Don’t take out your iPad. iPads should “never ever ever ever ever” be used to take photos during a runway show, not even iPad Minis, McCall says. Jannuzzi thinks iPad Minis are fine: “It’s just a hair bigger than Eva Chen’s phone and with the editing capabilities available, it makes sense.” But iPads? He quips: “It’s like, why not just hold a giant book in my face?”
5. DSLRs are OK. “If you’re covering for your own site in the manner of Scott Schuman or Garance Dore, you have to rely on your own photography and not everybody has the budget to hit up Getty,” says Jannuzzi. But keep the big lens — and your compact flash — tucked away, he advises.
6. Edit what you share. Both Holmes and McCall suggested sharing no more than five Instagrams per show, including backstage. “When done well, a picture or two can tell a show’s story,” says Holmes. Wait until a show has concluded to edit the photo and share it on Instagram. And nix any blurry or excessively zoomed-in photos. “It’s great that you saw Kanye first row, but if you have to super zoom in and tell me it’s Kanye, the photo is awful and you should just tweet about it,” says McCall.
7. Want someone to stop blocking your view? Ask. “There have been several times when I’ve asked someone who is leaning forward to please lean back,” says Holmes. “I try to be polite about it — most times they don’t realize what they are doing.”
Good luck everyone. It’s going to be a long fashion month.