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How I shoot dancers

at any given location

Photographing dancers in any indoor location may seem simple, but I discovered that every situation is different. When you will think about it, a lot of the things I am about to share with you will sound obvious. But you quickly forget these simple things and when dealing with them the day of your shoot, you will certainly make mistakes and waste some precious time which will require more work in post, if you can fix it!

When scouting for locations, when visiting the spaces you will use for your future shoot pay attention to theses basic simple things:

  • Height of ceiling

  • Size/ Surface of each room

  • Possible accessories, furniture, and practical lights you can use

  • Pay attention to the Windows and the amount of light coming in at different times of the day and the Types of lights inside (Beware of color temperature)

  • And finally, all the colors surrounding you

Remember my last video about preparing your shoots... this video is kind of linked to it!

Now you have all you need to prepare your shoot... You can choose alone or with your team, the colors of the outfits, the type of lights you will bring with you, the focal lengths you will be able to use, the amount of gear and so on...

Depending on the project, on what you wish to tell, on what your client needs, you will have at your disposal all the information you need to make your decisions.

Let me share with you a few examples... Hôtel rooms are tricky it's not something I fancy but sometimes, you just have to make the images you asked to do. And I usually take this as a challenge.

Evie Ball Canon 5D Mark III 1/100sec f4 ISO100 at 24mm

Florencia Chinellato Canon 5D Mark III 1/160sec f4.5 ISO640 at 24mm

Clara René Canon 5D Mark III 1/50sec f2.8 ISO250 at 33mm

Working in the lobby of the grand Opera hôtel was fun but required multiple takes and tests to get it right.

Olivia Lindon Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f4.5 ISO640 at 24mm

We had enough room to have a few options in terms of focal lengths, no windows, just artificial light all around... and of course, mirrors everywhere.

Olivia Lindon Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f4.5 ISO640 at 26mm

Olivia Lindon Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f3.5 ISO800 at 41mm

How can you make your shots without having unwanted light bounce off the mirrors and without having me or anyone of my crew being visible in the shot? Simple: Trials and errors

I've worked in this hôtel before, so I knew that working in the rooms was a challenge... Very little light in, and the room we chose had a strong red as a dominant color.

And this window shot is one of my favorites... after a few tries, I preferred the result with no strobes!

Olivia Lindon Canon 5D Mark III 1/80sec f2.8 ISO200 at 24mm

I've worked inside many museums and battling with different light temperatures could be fun... just be creative! Cool those those interiors down of go all the way for a warm look. And when my scene is too busy I tend to slightly underexpose it so that we can focus on the main subject.

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f5.6 ISO640 at 16mm

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f5.6 ISO500 at 24mm

Small spaces means wide-angle lenses if you wish to incorporate more of the background and surroundings in your image.

Evie Ball Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f5 ISO160 at 16mm

Use furniture to lean, sit, lay or stand on... use your window as a backlight or 2nd light... it's up to you and your imagination !

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f6.3 ISO500 at 24mm

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/200sec f2.8 ISO640 at 38mm

And if you need a plain backdrop, something less distracting, but you don't have a studio... Ask your friends if they have an empty attic... it kind of works !

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/100sec f6.3 ISO100 at 50mm

Isabelle Ménard Canon 5D Mark III 1/100sec f6.3 ISO100 at 45mm

I hope these examples will inspire you... A few years ago my goal was to make any place look good for my shoots. I surely learned a lot from that.


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