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:

  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.

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 developing 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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