DANCE ! – shooting some dance movements in the studio

personal tips & tricks, photo gear, Tips and Tricks

Hi there,

last weekend I had a meetup with Lisa and her friend, both dancers, she’s more into the classic dance, he’s more of a break-dancer.

I will show you some images, but I would also love to talk about the technique that I used to get to these.

first some images:

nice hey 🙂

thanks to both athletes, they had a good exercise session.

How is it done?

We wanted both the movement, and a good image of the static phase. I rarely work with flash but here it is absolutely needed.

this is the setup: I have one studio flash with large softbox on the left of the scene, providing the main illumination of the stationary phase. (flash) I have a second studioflash at the right side of the scene, providing a rim light at the moment of flash. I have a third flash on the camera, Canon does not allow to fire remote flashes at the end of the shutter time without a dedicated Canon flash. This is a Canon 580EX II and is used in manual settings at 1/64th of full power. It is merely used as a ‘master’ or ‘trigger’ for the studio flashes, synchronising on the second curtain, this means just before the shutter closes. I have available light from the right side, just behind me. (outside light, strong enough to make the motion trails during shutter time, but not to strong to overly brighten the environment. This is actually better done with a strong continuous light like a 500W halogen spot, but I don’t have one.)

The camera is set to bulb, on a tripod, and with a cable release. This is all part of a relatively simple preparation phase. 😉

Now comes the tricky part, how to get just the good shot? Simple: You activate the shutter time by pressing and holding the shutter button, let the movement roll and close the shutter when the movement has finished. Simple? Yeah, think again. Some movements only take a blink of an eye before they are gone, finished, over and out. For some movements you need to have the flash triggered exactly at the end of the movement, and you have to be aware that there’s a little ‘delay’ between pressing the button and the actual start of the shutter time. My best images came with shutter times between 1/5th and 2/5th of a second!

to illustrate the process of the Bulb-shutter time:

Easy, isn’t it. Well, both dancers have at least 20 times repeated every move, before I could define the right starting moment, and the right moment to stop. Then 10 more times to get the one lucky shot we needed. Maybe I’m getting old, or slow in reactions. 🙂

Make sure to have your models wear dark clothing, otherwise you’ll get a lot of messy blotches from the movement phase. You want them to wear light coloured clothing at hand or feet, unfortunately they did not have white gloves. The brighter, the more visible the movement trail will be.

 

some mistakes:

no movement visible – too little continuous light, only the flash fixes the image

cable release gets stuck, way too long exposure

start too early, left foot clearly visible in starting point, stop also a little too late, left foot is coming down already.

start and stop too late, left foot is almost up at start, and way over the best position at stop.

thanks for reading, it was fun to do, and I learned a lot about dancing

cheers, come back again soon.

 

Ludwig

 

finding my way about in the new studio

beauty, Nude, people, personal tips & tricks, Uncategorized

I’ts been about a month that I have the new studio space available, it took me a couple of days to get the walls freshened up (two coats of paint) and a couple of weeks before I got some furniture and props ready and moved in, but I’m about to call it ‘ready’ for work.

I think it probably never be  a steady setup, because I want to keep some variation in my images, and variation will probably mean that I will bring in some new stuff from time to time and get rid of some ‘used’ furniture in the same pace.

Some observations so far just in case you think  about setting up your own studio space:

• I have windows (large) only on one side of the room. Not easy to work with, so get yourself some large reflectors to bring some light back from the non-window side of the room. I use styrofoam boards 120x180cm, painted black on one side.

• The wooden floor gives me a particular white balance in the space, some warm tone that is not easy to get right all the time.

• Too much light will kill you, or at least will often create overly bright images. I love to work with light and shadow equally, sometimes even more shadow than light. So I bought a large theatre cloth (6x3m) to cover up 2/3 of the windows when needed. I use additional styrofoam boards if needed to cover up even more window area.

• The space has sun-screens, I didn’t even notice when I agreed to rent it. These are great to work with when there’s direct sun falling in. The screens are fine woven, so they create no patterns, and they lower the light level not too much. They help evening out the hard contrasts in sunny situations. They are neutral in color. Perfect!

• The wooden parquet is kind of slippery, very good for moving around mattresses and large carpets without too much of an effort. For furniture I have a wheeled board for easy moving.

• The ceiling is at 2.90m, that is an absolute minimum. I have some curtain rails hanging up, they are kind of permanent, and sometimes they are hindering my viewing angles.

• I have an adjacent stock room, where I can move all unnecessary items (flash lights and their tripods when I don’t need them, drinks, clothing, background system, paint, cleaning materials, … Perfect again!

• I have brought in a large trunk (some kind of monastery huge heavy dark wood piece) that I use for quick storage nearby. It makes your stored stuff invisible, it is useful as a decor piece, there’s always something you might need in a minute, it’s there.

some images taken in the new studio:

2 white walls, a black wall, a wall with plenty of windows, and some creativity …

more to come,

 

best,

Ludwig

Nude Studio Setup – 1 light

Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

Continuation of my series of ‘portfolio shoot images’ Behind the scene’s.

For this setup I used only one studio flash, with reflector.

In order to create a really small light bundle, you need to work with solid elements blocking the light.

For this I use some of those huge styrofoam boards (they can be bought in the build supply shops, they are used for insulation, crappy for this purpose, but very handy in studio) of 120x220x6 cm. I paint them black on one side, and around the edges. I made some simple stands from fibre wood panels to hold them upright.

They weigh virtually nothing and are easily stowed away.

here you can see one white side front, one back side front (I pushed exposure a bit here, because they are really nicely black):

LudwigDesmet-studio-6597

So a very simple setup here:

one flashlight on the left, with standard reflector, two styrofoam panels, black side towards the flash (you don’t want light bouncing of the white side, don’t you?)

model standing right in the middle, a little further back. Because the reflector is a quite big light source, you’ll need to put your panels really close to eachother (2 cm apart for instance) and you’ll still have the light spreading out further away from the panels.

Portfolio studio setup2

two images with this setup:

LudwigDesmet-studio-080

LudwigDesmet-studio-081

thank you for reading, see you soon for a new post.

Ludwig

Nude Studio shoot – NSFW

beauty, Personal Pictures

Hi,

although I prefer natural light settings, I recently did a studio shoot. The one thing I love about studio is that you can create light exactly where you want, and omit light were it is not wanted.

Typical usage for this is when you want to obtain a low key effect. Only put the light where you want it, and keep everything in the darker tones except some highlighted details.

I’m not really experienced with this, but I love to experiment with it. Especially when I have a willing subject to experiment with.

I got a bit inspired to do this shoot when I saw the latest book from Andreas Bitesnich ‘more nudes’. He however, is really really experienced 😀

This shoot is done with two monobloc lights (Elinchrom 500 BRXi) and some simple styrofoam boards for directing the light, and a black paper background.

At the left a monobloc flashhead with small softbox (60x60cm) at the right a gridded monobloc flashlight, 50% covered with a simple black cloth, because it was too prominent and I couldn’t go to a lower setting. I still wanted some DOF play so I didn’t want to close down aperture too much either.

Two styrofoam boards keep the light within a small area, and prevent flashlight spill on my background.

nude studio setup

I hope you like the images!

charlemagne-art_nude-9572

charlemagne-art_nude-9600

charlemagne-art_nude-9606

charlemagne-art_nude-9614

charlemagne-art_nude-9652

take care, and come again soon!

ludwig