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Four of the best.

Granddad

Been spending a lot of time on here!
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Last month I had my annual shoot for a belly dance agency. The shoot is aimed at getting promotional photos for the agency website to promote the individual dancers. The dancers range in age from their 20s to their 60s. It's always a good day and my aim is to capture the dancers in motion, preferably with eye contact. I find that shooting a dancer actually dancing usually helps those who have never had a photoshoot before to relax; it seems to work most of the time. :)

These are four of my personal favourite shots from the day.

C&C are always welcome and appreciated.
(Edited in Lightroom, Photoshop and lightly in Portrait Professional)

1
Becky-chosen-1086-smallB.jpg


2
Sally-chosen-9576-small.jpg


3
Anna-chosen-9306a-small.jpg


4
Sandra-chosen-0401a-small.jpg
 
Very nice; I'm pretty much out of that gig now, 'though I used to enjoy it a lot. I think your poses are great, and the timing is spot on, but you've got some spill, especially on the arms in the first two. Is that from your background lights?
 
Very nice; I'm pretty much out of that gig now, 'though I used to enjoy it a lot. I think your poses are great, and the timing is spot on, but you've got some spill, especially on the arms in the first two. Is that from your background lights?

You got it in one. I obviously needed to adjust the angle (I didn't spot it till I got the shots on my computer) but then I'd have lost some of the the white out effect. Since I have the dancers moving around it's hard to get them to stay forward. With a portable set up it's hard to think of a practical way around the problem. I use reflecting umbrellas on the background lights - maybe bigger brollies would help?
 
My favorite is the second one, just for the pose, and the lighting, and the overall, total "feel" of belly dancing that comes from all parts of the shot. I like the camera height in that one, where in the dark background shot the camera seems a bit high, and in the last shot, the focal length seems short and I get the feeling that her arms and especially her hands are being overly enlarged by the camera being pretty close and the focal length of the lens somewhat short. SHot #2 to me looks really good as far as the camera height and focal length making her look tall and dominant.

I actually do not mind a bit of a slight fade to light gray background gradient effect, which is another thing I like about shot #2...plain, pure white sometimes seems a bit,well, plain. I think the slight gradient adds a bit of visual variety.
 
I don't mind the 'fade to grey' gradient either, but one of my own personal bugaboos is that skin tones not be over-exposed or blown. I used to do these as a three, or if there was room, a four light set-up. I would have two lights on the background (often gelled in a colour contrasting the dancer's costume), and then either one or two to light the dancer, usually with fairly large modifiers.
 
The overexposed areas on the hands is most noticeable in shot 1, and less so in #2....I would just burn down the hands a bit in Lightroom....I think the problem is correctable in a few seconds per hand.

Yeah, how to light the backdrop in a portable setup can be less predictable than in a familiar studio. So often on location type shoots you're pressed for space. I think the issue is that there might be some side-spill coming off of the background reflecting umbrellas, hitting the hands...that could be the issue. It depends on one's flash units and whether a spill-kill reflector is on each flash head, or not. I "think" I know what kind of flash heads Granddad has, so I am going to guess that he went without a reflector on the flashes, and used just the reflecting umbrellas, and I am going to guess that side-ways spill light might be coming out and striking the hands.

Flagging off each background light with a sheet of poster board might be worth exploring. Another option is a flash that has a metal, parabolic reflector bowl on it, and a 2-way barn door, as its own flag, and moving those lights as far forward as you can, off to the sides of the seamless paper, and shot at the backdrop at a 45 degree angle. The problem with many flash set-ups is that at CLOSE distances, light can leave the very sides of the flash head, the speedlight's own front Fresnel lens, or an umbrella, and fairly harsh light can travel straight sideways, so whatever is closest get hit with pretty bright light. I see this sometimes with a powerful speedlight, like my Sunpak 622...even when bouncing a flash, at times, there is light that exists through the plastic Fresnel lens and hits the subject with MUCH brighter-than-the-rest light.

In this kind of a setup, if the umbrella edges are in front of the dancers, and the umbrellas are not flagged off, there is a chance of sideways spill hitting their hands; the fact that the hands are bright but the arms are not is what makes me think this is sideways spill.
 
Great set! Be nice to them girls or they might kick your butt, very muscular.

Reading all the pro comments makes my head hurt knowing there is so much to learn and I'm not getting any younger.
 
Expertly done as always. Still kickin' up their heals :biggrin:.
 
The overexposed areas on the hands is most noticeable in shot 1, and less so in #2....I would just burn down the hands a bit in Lightroom....I think the problem is correctable in a few seconds per hand.
I missed it on #1 when I was in lightroom - went back in PS, masked and adjusted the local levels which seems to have worked - see below.

Yeah, how to light the backdrop in a portable setup can be less predictable than in a familiar studio. So often on location type shoots you're pressed for space. I think the issue is that there might be some side-spill coming off of the background reflecting umbrellas, hitting the hands...that could be the issue. It depends on one's flash units and whether a spill-kill reflector is on each flash head, or not. I "think" I know what kind of flash heads Granddad has, so I am going to guess that he went without a reflector on the flashes, and used just the reflecting umbrellas, and I am going to guess that side-ways spill light might be coming out and striking the hands.
I need some new units, having had my three oldest start smoking during this shoot. I'll take this into account when I order new ones ... which will definitely have built in fans! ;)

Flagging off each background light with a sheet of poster board might be worth exploring. Another option is a flash that has a metal, parabolic reflector bowl on it, and a 2-way barn door, as its own flag, and moving those lights as far forward as you can, off to the sides of the seamless paper, and shot at the backdrop at a 45 degree angle. The problem with many flash set-ups is that at CLOSE distances, light can leave the very sides of the flash head, the speedlight's own front Fresnel lens, or an umbrella, and fairly harsh light can travel straight sideways, so whatever is closest get hit with pretty bright light. I see this sometimes with a powerful speedlight, like my Sunpak 622...even when bouncing a flash, at times, there is light that exists through the plastic Fresnel lens and hits the subject with MUCH brighter-than-the-rest light.

In this kind of a setup, if the umbrella edges are in front of the dancers, and the umbrellas are not flagged off, there is a chance of sideways spill hitting their hands; the fact that the hands are bright but the arms are not is what makes me think this is sideways spill.

I'll try this at my next shoot.

All good tips from some great photogs! LOVE this forum!

And here's the corrected #1 - still maybe a little too light on her left hand but it's fixable - though getting the lighting right in studio is much preferable:
Becky-chosen-1086b.jpg
 

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