This is one of those shoots I love to do, you get a message, asking if you would be able to do some promo shots for two dancers. Now dance was on my list to shoot at some stage, after seeing hundreds of beautiful ballet and dance images over the years it was one to shoot. After a few messages and finding out what they did, the Flash Dance image kept going through my head. So that was what I wanted from the shoot.
For this shoot I invited a friend along, always nice to shoot with a friend and reassures the wife that I’m not in a dark room on my own with two half dressed ladies… But also, Derek Dewry Leader is a hugely accomoplished photographer with many many years of experience, this gent also has a love for lighting. One thing I have learnt from running my trackdays with students, everyone has their own way of shooting & I can still learn from others. Plus with Derek, he’s always good to bounce ideas off, sometimes doing the odd thing off he didn’t think possible.
Where to shoot, we had a lucky break there too. The girls lived at an uncle’s pub where they helped out in between cruises, the added bonus was that the upstairs was a nightclub. All sorted..
I met Derek at the venue and after ten minutes we had all the gear on the top floor of the building. The first thing I noticed was the incredibly sticky floor, yes a few hours before it had been full of dancing drunks. Well it wasn’t as I had imagined, but that is the fun of location shooting at times, but with a bit of furniture moved, distractions cover, we soon had a working area set up.
So first we got the head shots done that were requested then on with the arty stuff. Shooting underexposing the surrounding just enough not to distract, but hoping to keep just enough for the eye to search around but always keep the viewer fixing mainly of the dancer. The flashdance image was created using three strobes, with my position set & the dancer in a temporary pose, strobe behind was placed first, fitted with a 7” reflector, adjusting levels as to not overpower the whole shot, once adjusted a stipbox was added to a 600w strobe and placed on the right of the dancer just to throw light onto the hair and lightly on the back of the arms. The main light was set at 1/16th power and fitted with a large Octobox, just enough to give a light skin tone to the front of the whole body. Unfortunately we were unable to pour loads of water on her as in the original shot, but think the bar below would have been to happy. This was a tricky shot to set, getting the rear light in the right position just to lightthe bum while not overpowering the shot but still keeping it harsh enough to reflect off the floor and outline the body. While balancing the main light soft enough just to light the skin very softly.
It’s funny how sometimes the simple things are best, the ballet dancer at rest, was just one of those. After a quick dance sequence was shot, this sister was ralaxing. With a spare light on a stand in the corner, it was moved it into position before grabbing this shot, one shot perfectly lit. The funny thing with this shot, it is great to shoot with a friend and I always end up with a reminder of him, and there it was. In Derek’s prop bag there was a pink boa that came out in one of the poses. I’m not a great lover of props, but as I have stated, anything can work and always learn from others. This was another moment it came true, Derek had set up a previous shot using the boa, got some great images. Then it was during processing that I noticed a single part of the pink boa had snuck into my shot, just by her foot, he did it again. Everytime I see this image, I remember a great morning’s shoot with Derek and a sticky floor. Yes I could have removed the feather, but it makes me chuckle..