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Dance photoshoot inside the André Malraux media library (Strasbourg - France)

Behind the scenes

feat. Sandra Ehrensperger & Fanny George

Disclaimer, some of the images in this article were modified since the initial publication of this article.

Hello world, this is sort of the "part 2" of my previous post. If you haven't read part 1, and missed my very first behind the scene video, make sure you do so. For this third shoot, I organized a double featured session in "La mediathèque Andre Malraux" in Strasbourg with Fanny George, a dancer and ex-gymnast, and Sandra Ehrensperger, a dancer at Opera National du Rhin . I would like to thank the whole staff of the library, in particular Madelaine Régine, for her warm welcome and for giving us this unique opportunity to work there. I originally planned to work with the 2 artists separately on 2 different mornings. But guess what? We had to do it all in one!

So, unfortunately, I had to throw away parts of the ideas I originally had in mind, and make things simple. I didn't want the artists to wait around too much and the place is huge with so many interesting things to do. So I had to make choices, in order to be efficient and make good pictures with the little time frame we had. I worked again with the Para 88 and the broncolor move. The idea was to keep elements from the place so that it is somehow recognizable and to give that dramatic dark look I often use in my work. As stated in a previous article, I'm used to working with a Canon Speedlite and a reflective umbrella. In Hypersynch mode you have several options to kill the ambient light. You can play with your f-stop or your shutter speed to create the ambiance you like.

Here, to achieve my look with the Broncolor RFS remote, I could only work with my f-stop as the flash would only let me synch at 1/200 of a sec to avoid that nasty black curtain. This restriction forced me (in a way) to give away more of the scene as much more elements were in focus. The overall dark background obtained, helped me give a separation between the model highlighted by the flash, and the rest of the environment. Unlike with my Speedlite, I was able to keep my ISO as low as possible with the amount of power supplied by the unit.

Again things weren't simple (but when is it ?), sometimes I didn't have the necessary space and height to place my light as desired. To save time, I decided to work with only one light. Sacrifices are necessary for these situations, but you know sometimes "less is more". When we worked with Fanny and the ribbon, I had her repeat it a few times the movement as I wanted the ribbon in a particular place. It took a couple of shots to nail it. We had to be careful because we didn't know if the shelves she was on could handle her weight. Know that I never put my artists in Danger even though I tend to push them to their limits. With Sandra it was a little easier, we only repeated the jump a couple of times to have a satisfying position.

The last pictures we made were the ones with the reflective floor. We almost didn't make these ones, and I'm glad we did. We started our photoshoot outside business hours. People were coming in when we moved to the last floor. We weren't allowed to talk during these pictures because people were studying and working while we were shooting. So I had to communicate with my hands, arms, and body, which was kind of funny. One thing I've learned with time is to not lose my cool on a photo shoot... and this whatever happens during the session. With experience, you will be able to change your plans and come up with ideas you never thought of. If you stay positive and if you manage your stress your artist will be in the same vibe and will be much more open to propose and improvise with you. You're responsible for the mood on set and thus responsible for the mood of your final pictures. To avoid being too stressed, you still have to prepare your photoshoot beforehand, even if, deep inside, you know a lot of things will change once there.

For this 2nd experience in "special conditions" with the Broncolor kit, I cannot say anything bad about it. In fact, It's quite the opposite. It confirmed my first impressions. Easy to set up and use, powerful, versatile, and efficient, it never let me down. Of course, it is a huge difference compared to my Speedlite and umbrella, but the reason why I would use this system is not the same that will sometimes push me and continue to use my Speedlite. My Speedlite will fit in any of my camera bags, so it is really practical when you need to move really fast or when you shoot in really uncomfortable places that require the minimum equipment on your back. For the rest, I don't see any reasons why you would not trust Broncolor. Yeah, it ain't cheap, but it's handmade, robust, and come on, the results are fantastic. No bad surprises when editing my pictures! I love it when my tools don't hold me back, it's cool when you are worry-free because you're not limited by the performance of your material. So yes on bigger projects, I would definitely trust them again if I have the opportunity to rent a kit, or if one day my projects allow me to buy one.


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