Lighting on Location

This is fine for the program and perhaps a foyer poster, but one day I'd like to experiment with much more dramatic lighting on dancers.

I’ve been completely obsessed with David Hobby‘s AFKA thought process (Ambient, Fill, Key, Accent), but I’ll need more practice to execute well on location. Today, I did some make-up photos for the high school dancers that were the subject of a three-part blog earlier this year.  The girls were available only briefly, so I had to go with a “good enough” lighting plan. One of these days I need to get some dancers, a studio, and several hours to play with lights.

I used an on-camera SB800 with Gary Fong Lightsphere as Commander (controlling the other lights) and fill light. At camera left, lined up with the dancer, was an SB600 with Sto-fen Omnibounce and a 42″ shoot-through umbrella. At camera right, also lined up with the dancer, was an SB600 with Omnibounce pointed through a smaller shoot-through umbrella. Overall, I’m happy with the lighting, but I need a better on-the-fly solution when a dancer in black costume steps in front of a black backdrop. I tried moving one of the flashes behind her for a rim-light effect, but it didn’t work out. I should have removed the diffusers for that effect, but it just didn’t seem like there was time to experiment.

That said, I think we caught some nice moments today.

It required quite a few takes to get her to fit against my 9-foot-wide backdrop. With a wider backdrop, I could move her farther from it and throw a backlight at her to separate her costume from the background.

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Filed under Camera Settings, Dance and Theater, Lighting

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