What is an out-of-the-box way to create motion in the photograph without moving the camera as you take the picture? By attaching small lights to your subject. In this video, author Joe McNally takes you through how he decided where to place bicycle lights to a dancer to create the motion he wanted in the photograph.
- [Joe] I brought bicycle lights, and I can tell ya (chuckling), I've trashed more bicycle lights in my career than you could possibly imagine. I've been called upon to do some hopefully interesting production things, things that show motion, one of the hard challenges for a photographer. You're holding a still camera, and then you're trying to indicate motion with that still camera. So there's an essential disconnect there and you have to use certain elements of light, of shutter speed, of approach, angle, all that sort of stuff, to try to indicate that this person is in motion.
If I just walked in and made a flash picture, stopping her in the environment of that studio we wouldn't be talking about the picture now, it would've gone downstream and never be heard from again. The beauty of working with bicycle lights is A they're cheap, B they're small, and therefore placeable on the human body, especially the little lights, they almost look like a ring, like a big ring that you would win at a summer carnival.
'Cause it's supposed to fit around the handlebars but it actually can fit around someone's fingers or toes or hook onto a hip, or a belt, or something like that. So I wanted to create tracer lines of light in the photograph. And I've done this before and so I thought, "Okay, quick and dirty, how can I do that "without A, costing a lot of money, "and B, driving everybody on set mad "with some specialized kind of thing." We're working very editorially, very simply, with limited resources, limited budget, which is very typical of the scenario a photographer finds themselves in.
So I grab some bicycle lights and we basically put 'em all over her (chuckling) and asked her to dance with them.
- Researching the subject
- Conducting a phone interview
- Essential pieces of gear for a dance shoot
- Working with a photo assistant
- Setting up and changing a shot
- Visualizing the first shot
- Creating a lighting setup that complements your subject
- Modifying the environment
- Dealing with on-set challenges
- Attaching lights to a subject