Closer to the edge! A ballerina photoshoot

Behind the scenes feat. Sarah Hochster

I made this promise to myself last year, shoot more during summer... or at least try. Summer days are longer and, when avoiding the heat during the day, warm and beautiful sunrises and sunsets give nice settings for successful shootings. I was looking for a rooftop earlier this year but, unfortunately in Strasbourg, it is not a common thing. I needed something different for a new photoshoot with ballerina dancer Sarah Hochster. We have worked together in the past so I knew that this was going to be a great session.



Thanks to my professional connections, I had the chance to get access to a rooftop on "la presqu'île Malraux", a building situated near the media library where we worked in last year. The sun was definitely there but we didn't have access before 9:00 AM which meant that we had to battle against him. To multiply our chances of success, I decided to bring a Broncolor move kit and a Para 88 with me.


Sarah was ready, set to fight her fear of heights. The idea was to literally push her to the edge! Of course, we wouldn't want to put her in danger, but as usual, I wanted to do something different.



We brought two dresses borrowed from the Opera National du Rhin for the occasion to emphasize her movements but we also used the traditional leotards. The sky was deep blue, but I usually prefer when the sky is filled with clouds. The sun was hitting hard and creating strong shadows, so the use of the move for most of the shoot was a no-brainer for better light control.

A background slightly underexposed to make Sarah pop and to give that contrasted and saturated look I like. Here is a more in-depth look at my lighting setup for 2 selected pictures :


Canon 5d Mark III

24 - 70mm 2.8 mark II

1/200 F20 ISO 160





Canon 5d Mark III 24 - 70mm 2.8 mark II 1/200 F20 ISO 100




The advantage of having a lighting system that can overpower the sun is simple. You can actually shoot at any time during the day. If you do not have the option, you don't need to search for a shade to avoid these unwanted dark shadows during the daytime. You can balance and control these shadows with your light and be at your best in any situation with your lighting system. Of course, you will need a powerful flash to do so, but these days, my clients rarely care about how the weather is doing on the day of the shoot.


Down below you will find the full gallery from this session! Now, remember, take whatever gear you have, get out and shoot... It's the only way for you to learn.


I would like to thank The connecting Place for welcoming us that morning. Thank you to my assistant Marlène Chancellier who also filmed this video. Special shout out to Broncolor for supporting my work.