Dance Photography offers really interesting creative challenges for a photographer.
I recently had a wonderful opportunity to carry out dance photography of the National Dance Company Wales Rehearsal at The Place in London.
The dance company opened their rehearsal doors to photographers and other media pproducers. It gave an insight into the hard work and preparation that goes into producing their amazing performances.
My good friends at the Royal Photographic Society let me know about the event.
Theatre photography, of any kind, is challenging for a photographer. Dance photography especially so. Venues tend to be dark and additional flash lighting is not allowed because of the distraction and risks to performers.
Photographers may consider using lenses with wider apertures on cameras at slower shutter speeds in dance photography. The wider the aperture, the shallower the Depth of Field and reduced focusing distance. A shallow Depth of Field with dancers leaping, twirling and making full use of space may require very quick refocusing!
Fortunately, modern digital cameras tend to allow shooting at higher ISOs, without severe grain in the resulting photographs. The cameras (or lenses) tend to have great image stabilisation. These advances in technology now allow photographers to shoot at narrower apertures and higher shutter speeds in darker spaces, often still hand holding the camera.
For this dance photography, I was able to work with a deeper Depth of Field and pre-focus. With the camera pre-focused and the deeper Depth of Field I, knew I would not have to constantly adjust my settings. This freed me up to concentrate on the artistry of the performers and not the technology of my gear. It is always important, for me, to be focused on the subject, not the gear.
Dance is fascinating to watch. The ability of well-practised performers to contort their bodies into almost unthinkable shapes and jump, bend and twist with grace and beauty is truly captivating. I guess another challenge for the dance photographer is not to get so caught up in the moment that they forget to take any pictures!!
- Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Camera Body – Silver
- Lens: Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm 1:2.8 PRO Lens for Micro Four Thirds Cameras
- Date of Photoshoot: 12 April 2016
- Dance Company: The National Dance Company Wales
- Venue: The Place
- Photographer and Image Editing: Stuart Smith
- Article Author: Stuart Smith
Dancers or Dance Companies wishing to arrange photoshoots please do get in-touch.