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Dance Floor Camera Twist | Minute Photography

By Pye Jirsa on September 3rd 2016

Welcome to our new YouTube video series, Minute Photography, where we explain photography tips & tricks, myths, and techniques all within 60 seconds!

In this episode we’ll tackle motion. Motion can add excitement to typically bland dance floor photography. When you are working a lackluster ballroom, why not try and add some interest? Learn how to create in-action dance floor shots that are going to impress your clients!

Step 1: Dial in your camera settings

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Flip your camera into manual mode and dial in an appropriate exposure with a slow shutter speed.

Step 2: Flash Settings

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Yes, point your flash directly at the subject(as much as that pains you), and dial a proper flash power that doesn’t overpower the scene or cause heavy highlights on your subjects face. We recommend starting out at 1/16th – 1/32nd flash power, using your flash either in manual or TTL.

Step 3: Choose your Method of Twist

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Add movement into the image by shaking, twisting, zooming, or panning your camera. In combination with the slow shutter speed, the ambient lights(mostly from the DJ’s up-lighting), will create a blurred effect while momentarily freezing your subject with the flash.

 

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And there we have it; an instant upgrade from the flatly-lit dance floor action shots that were taken with a flash bounced towards the ceiling. Try this trick the next time you are out on the dance floor capturing candid moments and show the guests and your clients the back of your camera so they can see the effect in action!

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To master foundation lighting techniques, check out our Lighting 101 workshop, or stream it along with a myriad of photography and post-production education as an SLRL Premium member. Stay tuned for more simple & effective photography tips & tricks in our Minute Photography series!

About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Luck Pho

    How are you getting the subjects so sharp? It’s amazing. Been using this technique at weddings but I always end up with a small amount of ghosting around the subject from the longer exposure to get the background light swirl, even with flash at near 1:1 power to darken the background. 

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  2. Lusica Smith

    With the correct quantity of flash power and diffusion, that may be reduced.
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  3. Warren Surette

    I have done this technique for some time and the sad thing about it is most of the clients could care less that I took the time to do this. But saying that I get bored of the same photos at a dance so I mix it up. I like them but my clients not so much.

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    • Shivani Reddy

      We’ve come across those reactions as well, however, it’s all a matter of taste. That’s why we grab our safety shots first, bouncing our flash for directional light, and then get a little creative.

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  4. Paul Wynn

    Great atmosphere in the images, but direct flash means shinny looking skin highlights.

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