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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion

Preparing the studio


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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion

with David Hobby

Video: Preparing the studio

So, the ambient exposure for in here is say--is all but black at 250th at ISO 400, f5.6, so if we shoot in that environment, everything that we do will be lit by flash. So that means we can probably shoot at a quarter power, which means faster recycling times and faster pulse times. So, let's go ahead and setup the backdrop if we could. All right so, we're going to slide the paper on and assemble the whole thing horizontally on the ground, just because it's such a pain to walk it up a little at a time, clamp it off, and then stand it up, move it back, and then put sandbags on it.

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Lighting with Flash: Capturing a Dancer in Motion
1h 38m Appropriate for all May 17, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist.com publisher David Hobby demonstrates using strobes to freeze action while capturing the strength and grace of a dancer in motion. After working through the lighting challenges of a dance studio, David sets up a white, seamless background and shoots some test shots, adjusting the flash units to create a white "blow-away" background that will enable the photo to be easily composited. Next, he photographs the dancer, working with her to capture a relaxed expression as she leaps and strikes various poses. After the action shots, David lights and shoots a portrait.

Topics include:
  • Assessing a space and setting up a background
  • Lighting a background to create a "blow-away white"
  • Working with umbrellas and ring light adaptors
  • Lighting to show musculature and form
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Flash Photography Lighting
Author:
David Hobby

Preparing the studio

So, the ambient exposure for in here is say--is all but black at 250th at ISO 400, f5.6, so if we shoot in that environment, everything that we do will be lit by flash. So that means we can probably shoot at a quarter power, which means faster recycling times and faster pulse times. So, let's go ahead and setup the backdrop if we could. All right so, we're going to slide the paper on and assemble the whole thing horizontally on the ground, just because it's such a pain to walk it up a little at a time, clamp it off, and then stand it up, move it back, and then put sandbags on it.

So, there's a hot spot of light coming right there. I wonder where that's from. That's from a mirror. Not there. It can't be there. Is it, really? Look at that, so the sun is going to go that way. The hot spot is going to move that way. That's potentially a problem, because she's going to be coming across here. Now boom, all of a sudden she is at blind and what, 500th of a second at F 11. Oh yeah, okay.

So, we have an hour. So that light is going to go that way and down. The hot spot is going to come up over here. It should be okay, but we may have to go over that. So, one goes on like this and one goes on like this. And that gives here a lot a security right there.

You got that, John? Thank you. So, we're going to use this film diagonally, so we're going to have the most length possible, because that gives us the ability to shoot with a longer lens, which makes the background bigger. Think of a background being behind someone with a wide-angle lens. But another thing is it's going to get Stephanie almost like a little path that she can run across here. So, it makes the room wider for us in both dimensions, where we want it to be wider. I wouldn't mind it being higher, but these are-- So, this is, I want to say 9 feet, right above is a guess, and that's our limiting height.

So, it may actually affect where we put her and where we put the main light. I'd mind having that main light tucked in above those registers and stuffs. All right, are you set there? Okay. So, let's just fold this in a relatively straight line, and then we will clamp the folds, and tear it. Dave, can you meet me halfway? All right, thank you! Scissors are not in the budget. There we go, thank you.

So, I am going to put clamps on this, just to give a little bit of weight at the bottom, so it'll hang straight. All right! Let's try to walk it up. So we're going to walk it up down at that end and come up this way. We're going to hit the ceiling, so I guess take it down and come up. I think we have to miss this. I think we have to miss it to the front. We don't have any air flow in here, do we? So, I am going to move this paper, and let it come back towards you. And what I hope that we'll see is the sun moving pretty quickly. And the sun is going to move that way, so the hot spot is going to move that way, and it should move off the paper pretty quick.

It's going to be white, so it's not terrible. Okay, is that as high as we can get? Is that as far back as we are going to go? Yes. Hmm. Okay, there puts her about right there. So, the limiting factor is going to be the width of the paper still, as far as her being able to spread out. Another thing about white, if we get into background problems, worst case, if you get fingers sticking out background paper, you can always just like Photoshop it, have white behind and erase it, but I would rather not do any more of that than I have to.

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