This weekend I spent a couple of hours in the studio with a young ballet dancer, assisted by her mother, siblings and my daughter. With almost the first hour dedicated to set and costume setup and last fifteen minutes to tear down the forty five spent behind the lens whizzed by. The theme was, if not obvious, ballet and the seasons. I have a Winter shot in mind that we may shoot together in a month or two. Each will use a light configuration I’ve not used before as I continue to step outside my comfortable previous lighting setups.

I wanted the background to be kept as black as possible. I didn’t want to be doing any editing around her face and hair. Two large softboxes were placed to the camera right one above the other. The white wall on the far camera left acted as a reflector giving a degree of fill. High camera left I had a gridded strobe to add some light to her hair, ensuring it didn’t go flat in the shadows. To the left and right just back from the lights I had a second backdrop support with two “curtains” of black backdrop paper preventing a lot of the light from spilling onto the far background. This greatly reduced the post production. The image has been edited, but only to fix symmetry in the tutu and coat sections and add the missing button to the right sleeve.

I’ve always loved the grace and poise of dancers. I came away from our session with a new respect for those that push themselves for their art. Going “en point” isn’t a trivial task and doesn’t come pain free. Having recently read more about the dangers of high healed shoes and how the shift of weight distribution can result in fractures I’m glad this isn’t something she does alot. If we do the Winter theme together I’ll ensure it’s strictly flats only!

The tutu was brought by the dancer. The coat came from a charity shop, reduced from £8 to £5 because a button was missing. Slits were cut from the hem towards the waist to allow it to sit on the tutu. The white umbrella from another charity shop was only £2. It would double as a shoot-through brolly for portable strobes too so I may start carrying it around with me if I can find a suitable clamp 🙂

Fancy a shoot of your own? Use the contact form (link top right) to drop me a message or call me on the number listed above right.