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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 16 Feb 2016 (Tuesday) 14:28
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Newbie at shooting modern dance looking for hints

 
archer1960
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Feb 16, 2016 14:28 |  #1

I have been shooting a local classical music group for a couple of years, and have a handle on shooting singers and instrumentalists. But next month they're throwing a new wrinkle at me: they're adding a modern dance troupe to one of the pieces they're performing. So I'm looking for any pointers, things to watch out for, etc.

The venue is a church and has decent lighting as churches go, which they don't dim for the shows, so it's fairly even and there are no spotlights to deal with. Flash is an absolute no-no. I'm hoping the dance troupe will be at the rehearsal on the night before the public performance, so I can get a feel for what happens when.

My main equipment:
7D (original)
200L/2.8
85/1.8
24-105L
Tokina 11-16/2.8
Tamzooka (which I've found surprisingly useful for getting headshots from a distance).

Pointers or references, please?


Gripped 7D, gripped, full-spectrum modfied T1i (500D), SX50HS, A2E film body, Tamzooka (150-600), Tamron 90mm/2.8 VC (ver 2), Tamron 18-270 VC, Canon FD 100 f/4.0 macro, Canon 24-105 f/4L,Canon EF 200 f/2.8LII, Canon 85 f/1.8, Tamron Adaptall 2 90mmf/2.5 Macro, Tokina 11-16, Canon EX-430 flash, Vivitar DF-383 flash, Astro-Tech AT6RC and Celestron NexStar 102 GT telescopes, various other semi-crappy manual lenses and stuff.

  
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jsphoto
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Location: Central Indiana, USA
     
Feb 16, 2016 14:32 |  #2

Take a few hours and browse to http://www.markkitaoka​.com/ (external link) He has some fantastic images of similar subject matter.




  
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nathancarter
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Post edited over 2 years ago by nathancarter. (4 edits in all)
     
Feb 17, 2016 10:43 |  #3

I shoot a lot of dance - well, burlesque which can include some fast and slow dance moves.

Shoot raw, clean up color and noise in post. Shoot a little loose, crop for composition and level in post.

Shutter speed should be at the front of your mind. You're going to have to walk the fine line of proper exposure, and fast enough shutter speed to appropriately freeze the movement. I find that a small amount of motion blur on the extremeties is not objectionable. To that end, I generally use 1/125 for slow-moving performers, up to 1/250 for medium-fast performers, and maybe 1/400 for very fast performers. While these aren't always fast enough to freeze all motion, if your timing and anticipation is right, they're fast enough to freeze the important parts.

Open your aperture up as wide as it'll go, then set the ISO to whatever you need for proper exposure, maybe a little ETTR. Close the aperture back down a bit if you're missing focus.

Be careful with the meter - especially if there's a dark curtain backdrop. DON'T blow out the skin. If there's a dark backdrop, the camera will want to make everything average, which means horribly overexposing the skin (bad!) in order to retain detail in the curtain (who cares). Expose the skin properly, let everything else fall where it may.

Without knowing the venue and the size of the group, it's hard to recommend which lens. Go for the one that focuses most reliably, and be careful about using the widest aperture because - even though you need the light - that leaves very little room for a focus miss. Personal preference, I like to stand far away and shoot with a longer focal length - the 85mm and 200mm (I use a 70-200 f/4L). With the exception of a few "environmental" shots, you probably won't need the 11-16. If there are big group dances, you might need the width and flexibility of the 24-105.

If they're on a raised stage, don't get right next to the stage and shoot up their skirts and up their noses, nobody wants to see that.


The last thing that's very important is to "tune in" to the music and the performance, anticipate then big moments are going to happen, and be ready to squeeze the shutter button. This takes practice and experience, but keep it in mind during the performance - you'll have much better success than if you just wait for the big moments to happen, because you'll miss them. Many performances have certain dance moves repeated two or more times, be ready for that, if you miss the first one you can nail the second one. And, many performers will "telegraph" their big moves right before they do it, so you have a fair warning to be ready to squeeze the shutter.


This album has a bunch of shots all with my EXIF intact, it's a few different venues with different lighting and set/backdrop (there are a lot of posed portraits mixed in too)
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/nathancarter/a​lbums/7215763316454089​3


This one is at "only" 1/200, anticipating the move and catching it right at that micro-second of pause at the apex of the kick. 1/200 would be way too slow for the motion of the leg going up or coming down, it would just be a smear. ISO4000 because the spotlight was on.

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3922/18372804004_0cb0e48e07_o.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/tZxq​wQ  (external link) BBB_Cabaret_20150529_0​265.jpg (external link) by Nathan Carter (external link), on Flickr

This one is 1/250, again I anticipated the jump and squeezed the shutter to catch him right at the apex where the movement was slowest. ISO12800 because the spotlight was off.

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5556/14768083336_f4149e0852_o.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/ov1h​Eu  (external link) BBB_Cabaret_20140725_2​6212.jpg (external link) by Nathan Carter (external link), on Flickr

http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
http://www.facebook.co​m/VictorVoyeur (external link) for fun stuff

  
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archer1960
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Feb 22, 2016 19:46 |  #4

Thanks for the suggestions!


Gripped 7D, gripped, full-spectrum modfied T1i (500D), SX50HS, A2E film body, Tamzooka (150-600), Tamron 90mm/2.8 VC (ver 2), Tamron 18-270 VC, Canon FD 100 f/4.0 macro, Canon 24-105 f/4L,Canon EF 200 f/2.8LII, Canon 85 f/1.8, Tamron Adaptall 2 90mmf/2.5 Macro, Tokina 11-16, Canon EX-430 flash, Vivitar DF-383 flash, Astro-Tech AT6RC and Celestron NexStar 102 GT telescopes, various other semi-crappy manual lenses and stuff.

  
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Newbie at shooting modern dance looking for hints
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