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Create EPIC dance photos with flying fabrics [part I]

I've been trying this for almost a year now... not regularly but when I had time and when some of my clients were up to. This video will be updated at the end of this year or next year when I will be much more experienced and familiar with the process.

It all started with normal dresses, floating in the air, flying adding that movement inside a sometimes too static pose if that makes sense.

So I started with existing dresses, a real dress, and then we started creating fake ones by just adding a piece of fabric that kind of matched the color of my model's outfit.

We are not in a studio, we don't have the luxury of bringing with us a blower or huge fan to make the piece of fabric fly. So you will have to bring at least one person with you to throw that fabric in the air... and depending on the length, thickness, weight, and number of fabrics you are using you may have to gather an entire team.

I used only cotton-based fabrics and when people ask me what kind, I have no definitive answer as for today. It depends on the effect you want to get, and where you are going to make your shot. Whether it is outside or indoors... because yes the wind will play an important role.

For example, here we were inside and preferred a light fabric that gave me enough momentum when thrown in the air to make interesting shapes.

We even used curtains for a couple of shots and it kinda worked... so basically you can almost use anything.

And then I wanted to go a little bit further and decided to play with bigger, longer fabrics. Using aerial silks that were up to 12 meters long but the issue was the weight and the: "how are we going to make these fly".

We tested, tried, and failed multiple times before getting something that worked for me. It's not perfect, but we are getting there!

The problem with having so many people around working with you is to think about how you are going to get a clean shot afterward.

A few tips to help you save some time in post-production:

  1. Do your best to have nothing in the way (Between your camera and model)

  2. Have your assistants operate outside your frame or on the side of the frame

  3. Same thing for your lights

How to remove anything:

A few other important questions you will have to answer fast: How do I light my scene? and what poses to choose for your models?

You might consider backlighting your subject to make her and the fabric stand out!

Have a light for the model and another one for the fabric.

You can also place both lights from either side of the performer:

Of course, if you only have one light, It can be placed directly above your head or on the side, camera right or left. If your light goes a bit too far on one side pay attention to the shadows created by your performer and how it falls on your fabric, it might give you unsatisfying results.

For the pose, make it simple, I gave a few tips in my previous video on this particular subject. Just keep in mind that the bigger the fabric the more difficult it will be for your model to hold a difficult pose or to keep balance. The bigger also means the heavier the fabric, and the smaller she or he will be in the frame... So keep it simple and clear, to let the viewer understand what is actually going on in your picture.

A few bonus tips:

  • Visit the location before your shoot think about your shot and sketch ideas if necessary before your shoot.

  • You will, of course, take multiple pictures, even if you think you nailed it the first time, make a few more! Then ask your model to walk out of the scene take a clean shot with nobody in it.

  • This will allow you to fix things if needed in post with photoshop.

So this is how I do it so far if you have ever tried to play with flying fabrics please share with us in the comments below how you do it!


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