Dancers: Tips on a studio photoshoot by Sarah Skinner

While clicking around on the web trying to avoid doing “real work” 😉 I tripped across the work of Sarah Skinner. She’s a belly dancer, belly dance instructor, and a photographer as well. She lives in the New York area and knows both sides of the camera – being in front of it as the subject as well as being the shooter behind it.

Working with dancers, tips…

Her photographer page has a couple of YouTube videos on how she works with her clients. I particularly liked the tip about how working with a veil in still-photography is different than in dancing. That is, you have to speed up your downward arm movements to “catch” the veil behind you in the photograph instead of letting your arms float down with the veil. The reason is that the studio strobes will “freeze” the veil and so you want as much of the veil in “full flare” as possible when the strobes “pop”.

I also like that she knows how to use an incident light meter! 🙂 OK, that’s the geek in me, but it just makes the exposure more accurate and allows the shooter to not have to depend on the vagaries of auto-exposure. In studio, shooting in (M)anual wins.

She’s also got a photoshoot tips page for dancers. Mostly standard tips for any professional portrait shoot but it’s always a great idea to be reminded ahead of time as a kind-of checklist. Also the first tip on getting an idea of what mood(s) you want to convey photographically ahead of time is very valuable.

In fact, if you can convey this to the photographer before the shoot, it allows them to prep the lighting ahead of time. Different “looks” call for a different lighting setup. Knowing the looks in advance (doesn’t have to be complete, but some of the stuff you want to play with) allows them to be prepared and will also give them ideas on ways to “spin-off” of those looks to find your look.

Good stuff!

About vstrick

I’m a photographer who loves photographing renaissance festivals and dance. They are great communities and I enjoy capturing some of those moments and being able to share them with the community. My day job is in IT at The University of Texas at Austin, wrangling the virtual infrastructure – working with VMware vSphere, vCenter Operations, SRM, Cisco Nexus 1000v, and consuming as many SAN resources as I can get. :-)
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