Local High School dance teacher Kim Hoj wants some pictures of the seniors in her program, for display at their final concert in May. After scouting some locations on campus, I thought the dance studio itself would be a good venue, and today I went there to test my lights and make some notes. UCSB dance student Tenaya Cowsill graciously offered to pose for my tests.
I made a lot of sketches in advance, and this allowed me to set up the lights quickly. I used an SB800 with a shoot-through umbrella as the key light to the left of the dancer, and an sb600 as a cross-light coming from the right rear of the room.
Obsessed with the lighting, I did not notice the overly complex and distracting background until I got home and saw the images on my big screen monitor. This is going to be an interesting challenge.
I originally intended to overpower the ambient light by shooting at 1/250 of a second at F8. I didn’t want that much depth of field, but thought it wouldn’t matter if the background were dark. I did not expect so much light-spill from the flashes, and as you can see in the test images, the background is very distracting.
Normally, I would move the flashes closer to the subject and power down, so less light would reach the background. But the background is a mirror; so moving the flashes closer to the dancer will likely bring them into the image, at least in the background. For all I know, that might solve my problem by blowing out the background, but I doubt it. It will probably just look like two flash units in the picture. Plus, I still have the challenge of the sound panels on the wall above the mirror.
This is a pretty good pickle. I don’t have access to a large, plain background, which is what these images really require. So I want to make this location work. Any suggestions?