Lights, Camera, Action – Flash Dance Photography Shoot

Dance Photography Shoot

I received a call off a couple of my photography mates to see if I fancied photographing two local dancers. The photography shoot was organised by Millwood Photographic Studios in Stalybridge. I’ve never photographed dancers before so thought it seemed like a fun thing to try.

Keith and Kirsty

The two dancers were Keith and Kirsty, who were fantastic so I thought I’d show a few shots from the night. I got to work with Keith first and I had a few ideas to try with the lighting. The first was a 4 light set-up, key light stripbox on Keith’s torso with a gridded fill pointed at his back. Then 2 gelled lights against the wall, a red and a blue.

4 Light Set-Up to capture Keith mid jump.
4 Light Set-Up to capture Keith mid jump.

To be honest I’d gone into the shoot with purely Black & White edits in mind but I do like the colours on the wall. I increased the colours a little in post.

Next is an image that fitted what I’d planned. Simply lit with one light. It was placed close to Keith to allow for a quick fall off of light, therefore adding contrast.

Keith lit by one light
Keith lit by one light

Millwood Studio

Millwood Studio is a great studio offering a variety of areas to shoot in. Keith was shot upstairs on the wooden floor with the old stone wall of the barn as the background. There are lots of props around for other shoots, piano’s, fireplaces and even an old apple cart. Downstairs it has a large infinity cove. It was downstairs that I took a few photographs of Kirsty.  The only problem with coves and a white room is the difficulty in reducing light bouncing round everywhere.

So I went again for a very simple one light set-up fitted with a snoot. Kirsty had her pointe shoes with her, so we thought it would be good to use them. Due to her having a well deserved rest over the summer, she wasn’t at full flexibility. Not that you could tell. We tried to keep the poses a little more controlled. I thought that this way I could create a pocket of light that would compliment the simplicity of the poses and create a shadow behind on the wall.

Female dancer lit with one light
Kirsty Clare on pointe

Sticking with the same lighting but moving it round so it’s a little more front on and slightly further away from Kirsty created the following shot.

Dancer wearing pointe shoes against a wall
Kirsty en pointe against the wall.

Isle of Man

Having just returned from a holiday to the Isle of Man, this next pose from Kirsty, which was just a bit of fun reminds me of the Three Legs of Man. Again I paid attention to the shadow angle on the background. Blue toned in post and I added a circular vignette to give the appearance of a Manx coin.

The Three Legs of Man....or woman
The Three Legs of Man….or woman

After spending a little time shooting with Kirsty, it was time to take a few photos of Kirsty and Keith together. Again this was a challenge as it was difficult enough capturing one dancer in mid flight never mind two.

I started with the only ‘move’ that I could easily describe. The ‘jump up and stick your chests out’ move. Similar lighting to the individual shot of Keith but with the background lights turned off.

Keith and Kirsty synchronised jump
Keith and Kirsty synchronised jump

Young and in Love

For my last 2 photographs I wanted try and capture a little bit of the love between Kirsty and Keith as they’re actually in a relationship as well as being dance partners. So first a simple posed photograph but I really love the natural way that Kirsty’s leg begins to wrap around Keith’s, as well as the gentle touch on his arm. Two lights feathered across either side.

More than just dance partners
More than just dance partners

Heart to Heart

Last is an action photograph of the two K’s. I actually thought of this ‘heart’ shape move myself. I found it hard to describe so I gave a demonstration to Keith of what I meant and to be honest I think he was quietly impressed with my dance skills… well that’s how I read the stunned and bemused look on his face!

A heart full of dance.
A heart full of dance.

Cheers to Paul and Neil for making me aware of the event and to Jamie at Millwood Studios for putting on a great night and keeping’s topped up with Tea’s & Coffee.

Finally a massive thanks to both Keith and Kirsty, I’d love to work with guys again sometime soon (we did on our flour photography session). I’m already thinking of a few new moves. If you would like to find out more about Vivid’s photography service, please click the link for our commercial photography page.

 

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