The Art of Photographing Dance

One of the basic forms of human expression that have continued to be a part of our culture is dance. This form is one way that communicates beyond speech, much like the art of photography. Both do not have a specific dialect or language. Dance conveys raw emotion through movement that extends over all kinds of boundaries.

Here are effective tips on how to shoot fabulous dance images:

 dance6 The Art of Photographing Dance Shoot with manual settings at the widest aperture possible – more often than not, most of the dance performances involve a lot of dramatic lighting. This can be a reason to lose a lot of detail pertaining to highlights and shadows in an image. Always remember, though, that it is better to lose details from shadow than details from highlights. To get the best possible outcome, manually set your camera to the widest aperture. Also remember to adapt the exposure to the performer’s skin tone.

Do not even bother using spot metering. Another way to tackle exposure is to adjust shutter speed setting until you are able to see details in the performer’s face. However, whenever the lighting changes you will still have to adjust the settings each time.

Shoot in RAW – as much as possible, shoot in RAW format. Although it can slow you down in post processing as you make adjustments to your images, you will be able to capture more detail. But always remember to use a memory card with adequate memory since RAW files are rather huge.dance7 The Art of Photographing Dance

Familiarize yourself with the camera – stages have lighting that is usually centered on the performances and it varies depending on the tempo of the music or the type of mood that the performance wishes to convey. In most cases, you will probably have to be working in the dark. So it is best to familiarize yourself with all the buttons of your camera to make sure you are pressing the right one. Also make sure you know the proper settings to adjust your camera.

Have the right timing – the more performances you attend, and the more times you persevere to capture great dance stills, the more chances you will have of ddance5 The Art of Photographing Danceeveloping your skill. It takes more than just constantly being on the look-out for a great move because once you see a great movement in your viewfinder, chances are it is too late to capture it. You must always anticipate what will happen next to get the perfect opportunity. There are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to gauge when a highlight moment is about to take place, such as a change in music, lighting or movement of the dancers. You can sense that that something big is about to happen. It helps to love your niche because there are different types of dance performances that do not always follow the norm in lighting and music.

Capture the perfect pose – the visual impact of a perfect pose immortalized in a photograph is a rarity because you only get one chance when the whole body of a performer is in the right position allowing it to speak to the viewer when looking at the image. It will be pointless to set your camera to continuous mode and take random shots because the only way for you to get the precise moment is through patience.


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How to Photograph Dance Performances

Dance is timeless. Since the dawn of men, it has been a way of communicating to the gods and a way of showing ideas and savage emotions. To this day, moving with grace and passion can take us to a higher plane of existence and capturing these movements is a true art form in itself. The following is a list of tips guaranteed to help you capture those elusive dance moments:

dance8 How to Photograph Dance Performances Communicate with your subjects – dancers are people who are in tune with their bodies and can visualize what they would look like when you take their picture. It would be helpful for you to speak to the performers to tell them what your intentions and goals are and what you want to capture from your images of them. The dancers can even share ideas with you and help you attain those goals. They can also adjust their poses to fit your needs. Much like portrait photography, dance photography can have better results when the subject and the photographer communicate with each other.

Incorporate the backdrop to your image – the set, lighting and props are as much a part of the performance as the dancers themselves. Experiment with a variety of angles such as shoot from the side or straight forward. Take into consideration the details of the backdrop in unison with the performers and how they relate to each other. Don’t forget to take images of the overall setting or the stage.

Take advantage of lighting for more visual impact – when shooting in a studio, you can have more control of lighting and can make use of large even lighting so that the dancer can move around and still be adequately illuminated. You can control the direction of the light and have it come from the side or even the top for more dramatic effects. Sunlight usually takes care of outdoor dances.

dance9 How to Photograph Dance Performances Consider shooting during full dress rehearsals or behind the scenes – it would be good to shoot during full dress rehearsals rather than the actual performance itself. Here, you will have a lot more space to maneuver yourself and your equipment. These can get you better photographs. When trying to capture backstage images, look for spots where performers are lost in their thoughts or busy practicing their movements or simply stretching before their act. If you have taken your performance shots during rehearsals, come the big day when the actual performance happens, you can take backstage shots of performers instead and catch the excitement of them readying themselves.

Use the dancers’ costumes to add to the visual impact – dance performances are often events of beauty, energy and mdance31 How to Photograph Dance Performancesovement and one huge element that provides visual effects is the costume. The dainty and ethereal tutus of ballet dancers add to the aura of grace and softness, while the giant headdresses of Las Vegas lady dancers provide drama and spectacle.

Envision the story you want to depict- base the images you capture on the type of setting or location where the dance will take place. There are several opportunities where you can capture the performers. One is while they are onstage during the actual performance, another is during rehearsals in the studio or on stage and still another is a location where they might be doing a publicity shoot. The location of the dance affects the outcome of the image.


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