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Thread: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

  1. #1

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    Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    In about a week or so I'll have to take some photos of a dance performance ('co-starring' my 10-year old daughter). I know most of the choreography, so I should be able to pick the proper moments (one can always hope...). I will be seated with the public, with very limited possibilities to move around. On the other hand, I'll have two or three occasions to get it right

    Available equipment: Sony alpha 330 with 18-55mm Sony kit lens and 70-300 mm/F4-5.6 Sigma, no flash (and not willing to use one if at all possible).

    Any useful hints/tips/pitfalls to avoid would be very welcome.

    Remco

    P.S. the girls will be dressed in black, with white details, on a black scene floor... (white lighting for most of the show, some localised yellow lighting for parts, if I understood the explanations of the dance teacher)

  2. #2
    benm's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Use the hightest ISO that gives the quality you want.
    Use as fast a shutter speed as possible without underexposing. If the fastest shutter speed is still relatively slow the camera's built-in image stabilization (I believe that is what Sony has) will help but that won't stop the action so try to get the photo at the height of the action (for example, when the arms or legs are at the top or bottom of their movement).
    Use a tripod.
    If you know in advance that the lighting will be poor you might want to rent a faster lens.

  3. #3
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    if you have the opportunity sneak up close, preferably at an angle to the stage so that you are not in the audience's field of view. You have a zoom lens so if you have time position yourself a little further away from the stage.

    And since you have the star of the show at your disposal, try to recreate the staging as much as possible and practice before the show.

    Good shooting!
    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    In about a week or so I'll have to take some photos of a dance performance ('co-starring' my 10-year old daughter). I know most of the choreography, so I should be able to pick the proper moments (one can always hope...). I will be seated with the public, with very limited possibilities to move around. On the other hand, I'll have two or three occasions to get it right

    Available equipment: Sony alpha 330 with 18-55mm Sony kit lens and 70-300 mm/F4-5.6 Sigma, no flash (and not willing to use one if at all possible).

    Any useful hints/tips/pitfalls to avoid would be very welcome.

    Remco

    P.S. the girls will be dressed in black, with white details, on a black scene floor... (white lighting for most of the show, some localised yellow lighting for parts, if I understood the explanations of the dance teacher)

  4. #4

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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Thank you both for your answers

    Lighting isn't that poor actually (from what I remember, I know the stage from previous occasions), but there's a lot of contrast usually.

    As for recreating the staging before the show: there will be something like 15-20 girls on stage, difficult to arrange that before the show. On the other hand, I have been able to practice a bit during the courses, so I do have an idea of the key points/ action points, and optimal positions. I'll try make a script to refine my ideas.

  5. #5

    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Remco

    I'm useless at this sort of thing, but I would have thought that as dance is all about movement, it's important to capture movement. Nothing worse than an action/movement shot that looks too static.

  6. #6

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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Remco

    I'm useless at this sort of thing, but I would have thought that as dance is all about movement, it's important to capture movement. Nothing worse than an action/movement shot that looks too static.
    Well, I humbly disagree a bit in this case (although...):
    there's a group dancing, and they aren't professional level, so not really synchronised. Unless you can get one dancer, movement shots can look very messy. But there are some instants where I could give it a try. And I'll try and practice a bit more during the courses, concentrating on the movement shots.

    Thank you,

    Remco

  7. #7
    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    The on'y advice I can give on this, as I haven't reviewed the location is to take as many shots as your trigger finger will stand.

    I have discovered that, when photographing group activities, there will often be a picture in a shot I thought would be only a photograph.

    Pops

  8. #8

    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    ... Unless you can get one dancer, movement shots can look very messy. But there are some instants where I could give it a try. And I'll try and practice a bit more during the courses, concentrating on the movement shots.

    Thank you,

    Remco
    I saw this shot the other day at another site I'm on. I don't know how he does them, but he captures movement beautifully. I think it's done with time lapsed shots, but I'm not sure. http://1x.com/v2/#photos/member/9587/30148/

  9. #9

    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Those look like multiple exposures that have been blended in Photoshop.

  10. #10

    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Goh View Post
    Those look like multiple exposures that have been blended in Photoshop.
    Yes, it could be. You might also be able to use second-curtain flash if the lighting was right to get a sense of movement.

  11. #11
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Yes, it could be. You might also be able to use second-curtain flash if the lighting was right to get a sense of movement.
    I don't like abstract stuff all that much but I suppose you could either leave the shutter open for half a sec while a strobe is the main or only light, maybe use an ND filter or keep the finger on the button for half a second in high speed multiple shot mode and then stick them in photoshop, or even an HDR program with remove ghosts and bracketed would probably leave only shadows, or maybe look a complete mess more likely.

    I would just go for a slight blur maybe with a reasonable shutter speed; you could choose the iso and shutter speed to be 1 ev under and have flash fire on the rear curtain also 1 ev under exposed.

    You might have noticed I've never done this sort of stuff but it looks like you could have fun finding out.

  12. #12

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    Re: Any tips about photographing dancers/dance?

    Hi, thank you all for responding

    I've been looking around in google a bit, and found some interesting sites:
    http://www.brucemonk.com/
    http://www.gregschilhab.com/ (go into the galleries)
    http://www.rfdesigns.org/ibc/index.htm

    Completely different styles, but quite often, at least the principal dancer is sharp.

    Not having a flash worth the name, I'll be limited to the 'natural' light, so 2nd curtain flash is out (unless I get access to final repititions; one can always hope...). I'll have 3-4 occasions to get it right, so some leeway to fool around with the different suggestions.

    Regards,

    Remco

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