While I love light painting dancers, it’s not possible to capture any kind of dance action using this technique. For my session with Kaja and Tom, I had also brought some speed lights since I wanted to have a go at capturing some dance action shots as well.
It was key to press the shutter when Kaja was at the very top of her jump. Needless to say, it took a few tries.
Getting the timing right is essential for these kinds of pictures, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just a fraction of a second off, and the dancer’s pose can look absolutely horrible. Fortunately, Kaja and Tom were patient with me.
For this series of jump shots, I lit Kaja with two bare speed lights, slightly behind her on either side.
I had asked the dancers before the shoot to send me some dance photographs they liked, so I could think ahead of time about how to best light the pictures.
I could have taken many more pictures, but that’s because it wasn’t as tiring for me as it was for the dancers. So this was our last jump set-up.
I’m quite happy with the above pictures of Kaja. Not too bad for a first go at jump shots.
The lighting set-up nicely contours the body of the dancer, creating a nice contrast from the background.
The shaft of light on the background really adds to the photos, and I must say this is not something that I had planned before the shoot. I just noticed it when we were in the dance studio. It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind during the shoot, and take a close look at the location. Serendipity often plays an important role.
I let the dancers choose a pose, and fired a few quick frames.
And finally, I wanted some pictures of the two dancers together. We avoided jump shots, as the more people in the photograph, the harder it is to get one that is spot on, i.e where the two dancers are perfectly coordinated and the photographer gets his timing right.
This is my favourite photograph of the two dancers together.
For this set-up, I added a speed light in an umbrella camera right to light the dancers from the front.