Runway vs street fashion: from shoot to print

Leo Faria loves capturing candid street photographs as much as he enjoys high fashion catwalk shoots. Here, he explains his approach to each genre, and why large format printing is a key part of his process.
Two women stand against a wall either side of a corner. One is dressed in black everyday clothes with a brightly coloured scarf and gilet, and the other is wearing a long white evening dress. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 by fashion photographer Leo Faria.

Fashion street photography poses different challenges to runway photography, but Leo Faria has learned to adapt his pace depending on the situation. "I want to say that I'm fast and decisive," he says. "I like unique moments and the unpredictable." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 75mm, 1/5000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO100. © Leo Faria

From models strutting down catwalks to journalists and influencers posing on the Parisian cobbles, fashion weeks are an opportunity to capture both high-end runway looks and the much-discussed street styles of attendees.

Brazilian fashion photographer Leo Faria loves to shoot both genres and his images have earned him a significant social following as well as many high-profile commissions. His work doesn't end with the photoshoot, though: Leo believes that the creative process is complete only when a piece has been turned into a stunning large-format print. "I consider the printed collection as important as the digital collection, and I am most attached to the prints," he says.

A woman wearing a black jacket, yellow and black chequered skirt and sunglasses walks down the street. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 by fashion photographer Leo Faria.

"Using a telephoto lens gives me a certain distance from the scene, allowing me to go unnoticed by subjects," Leo explains. "There's nothing more frustrating for me than someone noticing me and deciding to stop walking!" Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 140mm, 1/3200 sec, f/2.8 and ISO320. © Leo Faria

 A woman at New York Fashion Week walks down the runway. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 by fashion photographer Leo Faria.

Shooting at New York Fashion Week, Leo was confident in choosing a high ISO for this image. "I know the equipment I use and its limits and qualities," he says. "I prepare myself for extreme situations and resolve each one in seconds." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM) at 28mm, 1/400 sec, f/2.8 and ISO2000. © Leo Faria

Leo is currently migrating from DSLR cameras to Canon's mirrorless cameras – "I realise that a new era is dawning," he says. He shoots on a Canon EOS R5 using a mount adapter and his favourite wide-aperture L-series zooms, which allow him to easily follow models in motion, and to go from detailed to open plan scenes in an instant. "I usually use a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens for street style and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM or a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM for the runway, where the space is smaller," he says.

An intentional distance can be felt in many of Leo's images, due to this choice of longer focal lengths. "I want to go unnoticed," he explains. "My kit choice is always a fast camera and a bright zoom lens so that I can keep my distance."

A woman wearing a black top, red bottoms, red jacket, black gloves and sunglasses looks at the camera. Taken by fashion photographer Leo Faria using the Canon EOS R5.

Leo is a master at capturing a candid, contemporary moment and says he would never work in Auto mode. "I don't want to miss anything and give up having manual control of my camera. I solve all aperture, speed and ISO variables in seconds." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 95mm, 1/5000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO320. © Leo Faria

A model walking the runway in a dark green pleated dress with a feather trim. Taken by fashion photographer Leo Faria using the Canon EOS R5.

Leo's approach is the same whether he is shooting a fashion show or on the street. He always shoots from the point of view of the audience and seeks to capture the authentic moment. "My photographic language resides in the spontaneous," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 33mm, 1/800 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1600. © Leo Faria

Runway photography as a spectator

Although photographing an indoor fashion show is very different from shooting outdoor portraits, the outcome Leo wants to achieve is similar. "Runway photography is an extension of my street style," he says. "Both capture the natural and spontaneous, the real movement, the moment, and are taken from the point of view of the spectator in the audience or the passer-by on the street."

Leo shoots in Manual exposure mode, not leaving anything out of his control. "The pace of the streets heavily influences my workflow," he says. "I get to make more than 3,000 clicks in a day on the streets and I don't accept mistakes. I don't allow myself to lose the shot, because I will never have that moment again."

No matter the location, Leo relies on natural light where possible. "I don't interfere with the environment and I try to make the record as faithful as possible to reality," he says. He is confident with the EOS R5's ISO capabilities and autofocus down to -6EV, which allow him to shoot low-lit fashion show images full of dynamic range, all without flash.

A technician wearing white gloves cleans the sensor of a Canon camera.

Do you own Canon kit?

Register your kit to access free expert advice, equipment servicing, inspirational events and exclusive special offers with Canon Professional Services.

Learning to trust your instincts

When Leo knows that he will be making prints from an event, he plans his camera settings carefully. "Once, when I was photographing an editorial in Hong Kong for a magazine," he recalls, "I was told that the ISO I was using was not suitable for a certain resolution, but I knew exactly what I was doing.

"The photo with the ISO that was 'theoretically' inappropriate for that magazine page of no more than 22x31cm was turned into a print of more than three metres in height on a Canon stand at the Fotografar Fair that takes place in São Paulo in Brazil."

It also ended up winning Leo the Prêmio Abril de Jornalismo Award for the best fashion photography of the year in 2017.

"I never stick to the rules because they become obsolete very quickly," he explains. "Technology changes everything all the time."

Fashion photographer Leo Faria inspects a print of one of his photographs while wearing white gloves, standing next to a Canon large-format printer.

Leo wears a pair of Canson® Infinity white gloves to check the tones in a print, being careful to avoid leaving fingerprints. "I'm not attached to anything other than the story I want to tell," he says. "I take advantage of textures, finishes, and everything else that the printer and the papers allow me."

A model walking the runway in a long pink sequinned dress with a feather trim. Taken by fashion photographer Leo Faria using the Canon EOS R5.

Many photographers make adjustments in post-production to ensure accurate skin tones and colours but Leo prefers to keep things authentic, for both his street style and runway images. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 35mm, 1/800 sec, f/2.8 and ISO1600. © Leo Faria

Bringing street and runway to life in print

Leo is passionate about large-format photo printing and has a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 large-format printer, which offers impressive 44-inch (112cm) production output, and an imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 A2 desktop photo printer. Both models feature a 12-ink system for deep blacks and vibrant colours, and work seamlessly with the Canson® Infinity range of digital fine art and photo papers.

"I also really want a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-6100," says Leo. "I like the materiality of prints in any size and format, but I have a passion for those in full size, in large formats, and this is perhaps an offshoot of my desire to integrate the photo with the reality of other places. The printed photo allows me to feel that I can move everything exactly to another place."

Leo uses Adobe Photoshop to prepare his work for print but avoids making significant adjustments to skin tones and colours, whether for accuracy or to achieve a desired look. "I believe the moment needs to be decided in-camera and be deep-rooted with all the truth of the moment," he says. "Any interference in the photo seems, to me, an assault on history."

How cutting-edge tech keeps a fashion pro on trend

Fashion photographer Ian Hippolyte describes how his move to Canon's mirrorless EOS R System has helped him to fall in love with photography again.

Choosing the right paper

Leo does, however, control the printed outcome in another way – by choosing his printing papers carefully. As a brand ambassador for Canson® Infinity, he uses the entire Digital Fine Art & Photo range.

"I understand the choice of paper as one chooses the fabric to make a garment," he says. "There are fabrics that do not favour the construction of a blazer – silk, for example – while others are perfect for this purpose. Currently, I'm using the ARCHES® line by Canson® Infinity a lot, a paper that was recently released and took a lot of time in testing."

Jane Dixon, Vice President of Marketing at Canson® Infinity, explains: "There are different ways to define digital paper types, and each element impacts the final look of the print. The final finish of the paper, such as matte, semi-gloss or gloss, will influence how the image is perceived by the viewer. Then there is the structure of the paper: from ultra-smooth, with no grain texture at all, to heavily textured watercolour paper.

"Using a soft grain paper can bring a softness to an image, or a heavily textured paper can almost give a three-dimensional look to a landscape. The tactile element of holding a print in your hand also influences how the viewer perceives the final image, whether the print is 100% cotton, a cotton and alpha cellulose mix, or resin-coated."

Leo will select a paper to help convey the look and feel that he wants to achieve with the final image. "His fashion photography, which often has intense colours and vibrancy, would work well on Baryta Prestige II, a glossy paper that accentuates dense blacks and vivid colours," says Jane. "For more candid street photography, a smooth flat paper, such as ARCHES 88, brings out the detail and nuances of the image without any distraction from the paper structure or grain."

By fine-tuning his kitbag and Canson® Infinity paper choices, and relying on his creative intuition, Leo can create beautiful fashion prints that look both spontaneous and carefully captured at the same time. "My own street style and runway photos allow me to document the different possibilities of communication through clothing," he says. "Know your equipment and take it to the extreme, because that is what it was made for."

Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.

Lauren Scott

Leo Faria's kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

A Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer against a magenta background.


Canon EOS R5

This hybrid mirrorless camera can capture exceptional 45MP photos at 20fps, and shoot 12-bit 8K RAW video. "This is my main camera, but I'm looking forward to using the EOS R3 that will arrive in Brazil soon," says Leo.


Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

The successor to the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM used by Leo is ideal for virtually any genre, making it a favourite telephoto zoom with photographers. "I use this zoom when I do 'street style' because it's a bright lens that allows me to shoot in various lighting situations," he explains. "I can easily open and close the composition of photos without having to change lenses."

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

A professional-quality standard zoom that offers outstanding image quality and a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range. "It allows me to shoot in smaller spaces, like the front row of runways," says Leo. "It's a very versatile lens."

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

This lens boasts a constant f/2.8 aperture, allowing you to make the most of available light. "This wide-angle zoom is ideal for runway photography when I'm sitting very close to the action, and the wide aperture helps me to capture moments in low lighting," says Leo.

Printers & Accessories

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000

This printer can produce stunning prints in large format with its 44-inch production output. "I have two Canon imagePROGRAF line printers for fine art," says Leo. "The imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 has a 1.10m wide print mouth and works with roll paper."

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

Create beautiful prints of your photography with rich colours and sharp details, at an impressive A2 paper size. With 12 separate ink cartridges and a small carbon footprint, you can produce professional photos from your desktop with energy-saving precision.

Related articles

Get the newsletter

Click here to get inspiring stories and exciting news from Canon Europe Pro