Posed Dance Portraits

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by AnissaS, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. AnissaS

    AnissaS TPF Noob!

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    I'm going to be taking group and individual photos for a local dance studio in advance of their recital. Questions for experts in this area:

    1. Should I use a drapery backdrop or simple, solid 10x20? Pros/cons?
    2. Recommendations for the best off-camera flash set up?
    3. Which lens do you prefer for posed dance portraits?

    Thanks so much!


     
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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1. It depends on what style of dance and what look you hope to achieve (ie, formal ballerina portraits for a high-end production would be much different than casual jazz dance portraits for a community theatre event). Personally I tend to use a mottled blue/grey background for almost all my portrait work, but that's more personal preference than anything.

    2. Again, look and desired use are the main determining factors. I would probably opt for a basic two-light, short lighting set-up with an on-axis fill 1.5 - 2 stops below key. Simple, and requiring minimal adjustment.

    3. My 85 1.4 is my 'go to' lens for almost all portrait work, however really anything between 85 and 200mm will be just fine.
     
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  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm not an expert, but here it is anyway:

    1.) If you're talking about a nice stage curtain that hangs in smooth curves, then sure. If you're talking about a muslin backdrop, then I would like to remind you that it will be wrinkled. No matter how much you iron it, and handle it with care, it will be wrinkled. If that doesn't bother you then o.k. If you have paper, then use that.

    2.) As @tirediron wrote.

    3.) I agree; anything between 85 and 200mm, should be fine, and pay attention to the DOF.

    Prior to the dancer striking a pose, figure the DOF (I have an app on my smart phone) and draw two light chalk marks on the floor to indicate to the dancer where you want her. (a near and a far limit of acceptable focus) Very light chalk marks should be practically invisible in the photo. I think masking tape might show up.
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Muslins are commonly used on a backdrop stand (essentially, two light stands with a horizontal pole at the top from which the backdrop is suspended). The secret is: Don't bother to waste the time even THINKING of ironing it. You'd drive yourself crazy. Instead use spring clamps to hold the vertical edges of the muslin tight to the vertical portions of the light stand. Clamp it on one side, pull tight and clamp the other. If you have sharp creases, they can be removed with the use of an electric steamer once the background is set up.
     
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  5. OGsPhotography

    OGsPhotography No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1. I use a white 8’ Savage infinity roll for BG

    2. I recommend the gear I use! Yongnuos are easy to use and have taken a beating from me! For main light I have a 70” Octa. Add light as needed.

    3. Canon 70-200 v2 is Usm
     

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