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Thread: Advice needed for dance performance photography

  1. #1

    Default Advice needed for dance performance photography

    Hi everybody!

    Just need a little advice regarding this event that I've been invited to photograph. Would appreciate any help here.

    Basically it's a dress rehearsal for a dance performance held in a studio. I have yet to check out the venue so I have no clue regarding the set-up of the stage. I will be granted full access to backstage and will have room to roam about. Given that it's a salsa dance performance, movements will be very fast and dramatic? Should I be renting a faster prime lens (like the 85mm/1.4 or 50mm/1.4) for the performance? (as i fear ending up with shaky shots due to low lighting) or will be current set-up of nikon D5000/tamron 90mm(2.8)/tamron 17-50(2.8) be sufficient in the shoot?

    Also, what is the best camera settings for such conditions? manual focusing on shutter mode? I'm a bit paranoid now.

    Could use a little help here!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    It depends largely on the lighting set-up and levels.

    Try to find out as much as you can about it before hand. I'm not familiar with the body you're using, but blazing fast AF with tenacious tracking is usually required.

    Try to seek permission to go to/shoot at rehearsals as well. That might give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the dance routines.

    Yes, Salsa will be very fast, relatively speaking ... have a look:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63jlr...eature=related

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    First, watch the first rehearsal and look out for key movements (can also ask the choreographer.)

    Using the gear you currently have, see if there is any range that you need eg got one dancer who is a tiny figure in front of the 90mm but full size if you had a 300mm lens and so on.

    During the Full dress rehearsal, get the shots you need as you will not have much mobility during the actual performance. Because Flash usually not allowed in most actual day performances.

    Understand the flow of action on performance day so that you can be backstage on time for all the "festivities".

    Bring batteries and lots of memory cards because unless you know what you are looking for, shoot everything.

    Alternatively, can get a second photographer who`s willing to do the job for around the same price as rental equipment.
    Last edited by Reportage; 27th May 2010 at 02:08 PM.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    It depends largely on the lighting set-up and levels.

    Try to find out as much as you can about it before hand. I'm not familiar with the body you're using, but blazing fast AF with tenacious tracking is usually required.

    Try to seek permission to go to/shoot at rehearsals as well. That might give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the dance routines.

    Yes, Salsa will be very fast, relatively speaking ... have a look:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63jlr...eature=related
    OMG.. thats a lot of spinning to deal with. Yes, I have to agree with you about the tracking as well. Thanks for the advice. Would probably go down a tad earlier for the practise sessions to familiarise myself with the routine. Thank you very much!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    Well, it almost seems a little subdued compared to the Lindyhop or any other sub-genre of Swing, which are very much alive today!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTg5V...eature=related

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Reportage View Post
    First, watch the first rehearsal and look out for key movements (can also ask the choreographer.)

    Using the gear you currently have, see if there is any range that you need eg got one dancer who is a tiny figure in front of the 90mm but full size if you had a 300mm lens and so on.

    During the Full dress rehearsal, get the shots you need as you will not have much mobility during the actual performance. Because Flash usually not allowed in most actual day performances.

    Understand the flow of action on performance day so that you can be backstage on time for all the "festivities".

    Bring batteries and lots of memory cards because unless you know what you are looking for, shoot everything.

    Alternatively, can get a second photographer who`s willing to do the job for around the same price as rental equipment.
    Thanks for your advice and tips sir! I think you're right about understanding the flow of action so that I'll be better prepared for the actual day and know where best to position myself to capture the best shots of the dancers.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice needed for dance performance photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Well, it almost seems a little subdued compared to the Lindyhop or any other sub-genre of Swing, which are very much alive today!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTg5V...eature=related
    Lindyhop! I love that. I've actually been to a series of classes at jitterbugs for that before. Amazing fun.

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