A few weeks ago I did a shoot with @kirstiedancer. This was my first serious attempt at dance photography so was not only a new photographic genre for me but also my first time working with Kirstie as well as my first serious shoot with the Fujifim X-T3. What could possibly go wrong?
It turns out that not too much did go wrong but this was probably more to the talents and patience of Kirstie than of any skills on my part. Shown below is a selection of the several hundred images I made over the couple of hours we shot, probably 70% of which were not keepers and this selection is probably only 30% of the remaining ones.
This was a studio shoot so everything was captured using studio flash (two Elinchrom D-Lites) one on the background with a simple reflector and the key light fitted with a Rotalux Octabox, pointing down at Kirstie at around 45 degrees to where she was standing. The studio was equipped with an infinity curve so there were no annoying joins or creases to deal with that you would get with a paper background.
I did the entire shoot using the X-T3 and just a 35mm f2.0 lens having decided that using a zoom lens would probably be a variable too far!
As was to be expected most of the ‘fails’ were due to me firing the shutter too soon or, more predictably, too late. That and not knowing exactly how high Kirstie was going to leap or where she was going to end up with the resulting images having various hands and feet cut off. A good tip when getting started with dance is to have your model hold some poses, that brief extra second or two allowing you to both frame and capture the image. A second obvious tip is to get her to do the jump whilst you just watch so you can gauge how high she’ll be going and where she is going to land. All obvious stuff for an experienced dance photographer I’m sure.
For trying to frame and freeze the motion in a jump all you can do is to have you model do several such jumps for you whilst you attempt to capture the shot at exactly the right point. Even if the dancer is well framed there will inevitably be some motion not quite frozen, either in a foot or a hand it seems. As I was relying on my flash units to freeze motion rather than my shutter, all the images were taken at 1/125 second.
For the final set we moved from the studio into a long corridor for more of an urban feel. Here I just used the singe Elinchrom fitted with the Octabox allowing the light to fall off and have the background go dark. These also felt better as a black and white conversion.
Overall I was reasonably happy with the resulting images and this is definitely a genre of photography I would like to get more into. Hope you enjoy them.