Hey all I know that I have been quiet since I left on my trip to Cape Town in July. During my stay I had my camera bag and gear stolen and it kind of threw me off quite a bit. So lets get back into it.
I have decided to start off with sharing some info about my dance photography and why I adore it so much. Also a little info into how I freeze motion with flash (speed lights)
I have always been around dancers, and now recently I have been able to photographed a lot of dancers. Which makes me very happy. :D
Some was photographed using flash, and some of the older shots were shot without flash. Most recently I have been working a lot with speed lights so that I can utilize the High Speed sync function.
With dancers moving so fast you sit with the decision of is the slight or heavy motion blur ok or not, do you prefer frozen solid or a slight feel of movement? I try getting both, all depending what I feel is more important at the time. Most of the time a sharp frozen in time is key for me.
Now to make a dancer freeze solid you need to shoot with a very fast shutter speed, and with most sync speeds of 1/160th or 1/200th is way too slow. Especially when it comes to break dancers or ballerinas. Some of the moves they remain still and that’s easy enough but when a foot or arm has to be swung to get to the climax of the movement then the shutter speed is key.
I have noticed that anything under 1/800th is never sharp. So my go to speed for these shoots are 1/800th and 1/1000th. I would go faster but the flash can’t handle it always and I end up killing the flashes. When I get more speed lights this will be more suitable. For now I work off 2 yongnuo YN500ex flashes. Which are around 1/4th power or 1/2 power. Full power also kills the flash when fired too much, and I usually mount both on one bracket, and either bare or with a shoot through umbrella depending on the light situation.
With HSS you need a much higher power output to make it affect the image at all. Do a quick test shoot a photo at 1/200th, then at 1/250th. The difference of HSS is seen easily.
I only use Eneloop pro batteries, which goes a long way when I do this. They recycle quite fast and don’t overheat easy.
Using flash just allows you to create a very unique light effect on the dancer, which creates contrast and makes it different. Shooting without flash at super high speeds is pretty simple. If you can anticipate and time the move nicely that’s all it is, but with flash the look of the image using strobist techniques will create a nice feel.
Here is a photo I took in Jhb CBD a while back of bboy Lab-A . No flash, just high iso, with a canon 85mm f1.8 wide open and the only here’s we had was an above streetlight