Photographing Abstract Dancers
Abstract photography is more art than actual photography. The shapes, textures and designs often achieved by abstract photographers makes their work nothing short of a true artistic creation.
Put this technique together with the human form, ad a dancer or a nude and you have taken the technique to a whole different level.
You should be familiar with night photography and count on having the right tools to do the project fairly well.
The project in mind takes a human form and captures movement using a slow shutter speed. The resulting images blend and appear as if they are a twirling mass.
Why should you use dancers for the project? Because they are accustomed to doing twirling routines without becoming dizzy and they can twirl in place without going side ways, which is the best the technique for capturing good images.
Your dancing models can be dressed in a traditional dance costume or they can be nude.
The technique involves having the dancers rapidly twirling and rapidly swinging their arms in various directions as well as the head. If the the dancer fails to rotate the head then it may show rather clearly on the photo and thus detracts from the abstract theme of the project. It helps if the dancer has some sort of loose fitting material on their arms as this gives an "expanded" area that encompasses the images.
You must set your models against a non glossy backdrop and use a single light strobe or light source that illuminates the only the subject. A photographic snoot is ideal since it offers a narrow beam of light that can be adjusted to shine on a specific area.
"In photography, a snoot is a tube or similar object that fits over a studio light or portable flash and allows the photographer to control the direction and radius of the light beam.These may be conical, cylindrical, or rectangular in shape. Snoots can isolate a subject when using a flash. They help by stopping "light spill", or when lighting falls in a larger footprint than intended." Wikipedia
Next you should set your photo gear on a sturdy tripod and pre-focus on the dancer before he or she starts to move. Once the dancing routine starts, release the shutter and let it open for a few second, maybe even for an entire minute. remember that your images will depend on the ability of the model/dancer to keep twirling non stop an in one place until the shutter is closed.
Don't expect all of your images to come out right the first time. Most of your shots will be a trial and error effort. You should start with some test shots to get an idea of the shutter speed that yields the best results as well as giving you and idea of how your light acts upon the scene.
It is very important that your dancers swing their arms in different directions while they are twirling. This adds depth and charm to the final photos. Although a twirling mass shows up well in photographs, the effect is better represented when up and down dimensions, caused by the arms, are incorporated into the scene.
Adding some small very colorful ribbons to the forearms add a bit of color to and otherwise monochromatic scene.
Some photographers who practice this technique prefer using nudes since the color of skin offers a pleasant color scheme devoid of any other colors that may distract from the focus or intention of the shoot.
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