Bounce Flash with Rims

Yet another lighting option for covering dance floor action is to use bounce flash with rim lights. It only takes 1-2 minutes to setup, but it requires neutral ceiling/walls. This method of lighting works especially well when there is high action on the dance floor.

Adding rim lights will make the image look more dynamic as the light from the bounce flash alone often looks flat and boring (thought that may be a preferential bias). Brighter dance floor shots tend to work best with intense action (extended arms, exaggerated expressions, etc.).

Key tips for this lighting method include the following:

  1. In-the-action camera angles
  2. Lower power > recycle (1600-3200 ISO)
  3. Bounce at 1/8th to 1/16th ideal
  4. Bounce pointed back and up
  5. High action = more clicks
  6. Toss all bad expressions

And here’s a key tip to remember:
20/24/35 prime lenses help keep you in the action, and these lenses at wide open apertures create an increased sense of depth, separation, and natural vignetting. Just remember that shooting at wide open apertures is less “safe” because it can be tricky to sharply capture a moving subject with such a narrow plane of focus.

Getting low on the dance floor offers a unique perspective, but it can also allow you to use subjects to block out other subjects (such as videographers, etc.).