Dancing in the Dark - Samantha Jones

Dancer's Photo Shoot 

This particular blog could also be titled 'A Series of Happy Accidents' as several of the chosen images from this shoot came about by chance!

Shooting a dancer in action can be a bit of a challenge as even if you have a particular pose in mind, your subject has to move both into and out of the position so timing is critical. 

For example, think of a dancer doing a dynamic split jump; the shot you want is the split second where he or she reaches the highest point of the jump.

To capture this you can either watch the dancer repeat the move until you are confident you can hit the shutter at exactly the right time or you can set your drive mode to continuous and 'follow' the movement, rather like panning. 

The latter however can cause issues when you are using studio strobes.

I chose to shoot on continuous today and asked Emily to perform a couple of moves I had in mind. And whilst she gave me exactly what I asked for, as she moved both into and out of the required position, my continuous shutter captured some other lovely and unplanned poses. First happy accident!

The second 'error' which worked in my favour was with the lighting. As mentioned above, using a continuous shutter with studio lighting is not ideal as after every fire, or flash, of a light, they need a moment to recharge. Recycling time as it is known.
There were actually three lights set up for Emily's shoot, the two kickers you can see in the images below (more on that in a second) and the main, or key light, overhead. I asked Emily to perform a particular move and due to my continuous shooting, the key light didn't recycle quick enough for the second shot and so did not fire, leaving the two kickers to do their thing. I loved how that looked (happy accident number 2!) so switched off the key light for the rest of the shoot!
Usually this kind of rim lighting lends itself to black and white conversion but that red hair and leotard? No way, today!

In the finished images, I would normally either crop or clone out the lights that are in frame however this time I chose to keep them in the shot as they give some relevance to the lighting hitting Emily's body...and I just thought they looked cool!

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