dancer

Ballet Dancer Model Portfolio Shoot Wesley Chapel Florida Photography

Ballet dancer Katie in her own home studio for this model portfolio shoot in Wesley Chapel Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 each in own 43" brollyKatie is a new friend I have made in my brief time in Wesley Chapel Florida.  For many years she was a professional dancer and on stage around the country.  Now in her Wesley Chapel home she has her own dance studio.  I went over on a Sunday evening to make some ballet dancer model portfolio shots in that studio and found out the real challenge of shooting in a room with a wall of mirrors!  It took me quite a few different setup tries to eliminate or reduce lights and myself ending up in the background of shots.  Katie also had the hard task of repeating physical ballet moves like the one above!

Katie on her ballet bar in her home studio during our model portfolio shoot in Wesley Chapel Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 each in their own 43" brollyIn this shot Katie takes a break from jumps and relaxes with a leg up.  I tried out the bar myself and took two tries before I could swing my leg up on its own (no hand help) even though I am three inches taller than Katie!  Range of motion is something I know I need to keep working on.  

Katie on point during our ballet model portfolio shoot in Wesley Chapel Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 each in their own 43" brollyNot suprisingly, being on tip toes is not the most comfortable thing to do in the world.  I realized quickly that my usual lens I like to use for model shoots, my Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D was not going to be practical in such a space, and switched to my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens which was used for all the shots seen here.

Katie showing the flexibility of a ballet dancer during our model portfolio shoot in Wesley Chapel - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 each in their own 43" brolly - background added digitally

Katie also uses her dance studio as a fitness and workout center.  It was not possible to remove all things from the room, and they were too hard to remove digitally on their own, so in the above shot I just cut out Katie herself and put her on that digital background, which is actually a portion of a photograph I made at a car event (see the second photo from the bottom) that had cool red lighting.  

Katie touching the sky during our ballet model portfolio shoot in Wesley Chapel Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 each in their own 43" brollyWe shot for quite sometime and Katie was great about repeating each jump & pose as long as needed to get just the right shot in terms of lighting, limb placement and composition.  I got to learn just how challenging it is to shoot in a hall of mirrors and to be a ballet dancer!

Flamenco Dancer in Black & White at Ceviche St. Petersburg Florida Commercial Photography

Carolina dancing at Ceviche in St. Petersburg - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted at 1/4 power - black & white processing in Silver Efex Pro

--please note all these images were made live while performing, not in a studio

These black & white flamenco dancer images were created in the basement of Ceviche, a downtown St. Petersburg restaurant.  Through editing I have created shots with an entirely different look that the ones I made of my primary client that evening, Vanessa.  She was not always on stage so she said to be sure and photograph the other dancers as well because they might be interested in purchasing images too.  Thus, Carolina selected these three photographs of herself among others.  

Carolina flamenco dancing at Ceviche in St. Petersburg - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted at 1/4 power - black & white processing in Silver Efex ProCarolina did not request black & white images.  I edited her selected shots in color as I did Vanessa's.  These edits are my personal take on the feeling I wanted the images to create.  The basement of Ceviche is already very dark, so it was not hard to make the background completely disappear.  I used differen filters in Silver Efex Pro for each shot to create the B&W conversion I felt best suited the particular photograph.

Carolina flamenco dancer with zoom effect blur in Ceviche - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/13th SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mounted at 1/4 power - black & white processing in Silver Efex ProThis last shot was made by zooming out while pressing the shutter creating the blur effect in the room's lighting.  This is achieved by using a slow shutter speed, in this case 1/13th of a second.  

--Vanessa's flamenco dancer images in color

Flamenco Dancer at Ceviche St. Petersburg Florida Commercial Photography

Flamenco Dancer Vanessa at Ceviche St. Petersburg - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2 ISO 800 1/40th SB-800 @ 1/8th power hotshoe mountedI first had the opportunity to photograph professional flamenco dancer Vanessa two years ago.  We had been in touch a few times since then about me photograhing her dancing again.  Well, last week finally everything worked out so that I could photograph her while performing at Ceviche in St. Petersburg.  Vanessa told me beforehand that the basement flamenco bar of Ceviche is very, very dark.  I spoke with a photography colleague who has shot there and he confirmed that adding also that the ceiling is very low.  The biggest challenge proved to be the red stage lights, followed by the very tight space available for shooting (serving staff & customers passing by).

The flamenco bar stage at Ceviche St. Petersburg - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 @ 1/8th power hotshoe mountedThe small space, though, provided for a very lively environment with the band playing quickly and loudly, and the four flamenco dancers taking their turns on the low stage.  Vanessa has her turn while the other dancers looked on.  

I could have used my speedlights to fill the entire space with light, resulting in radically different photos than you see here.  However, Vanessa wanted the images to reflect the actual available light in the performance space as much as possible, which I agreed with.  Since most of the lighting in the basement was reddish and yellowish, those are the tones of the images along with deep shadows in the background.

Vanessa's finale dance at Ceviche St. Petersburg - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2 ISO 800 1/40th SB-800 @ 1/8th power hotshoe mountedIt was a very fun challenge photographing Vanessa in Ceviche's flamenco bar basement.  Maybe next time I will return just as a customer!

Pole Dancer Model Portrait Session at Raw Vibes

Pole Dancer Marla in the Black Box room of RAW Vibes in St Petersburg FloridaSunday evening I had a portrait/model session with Marla, a pole dancing instructor at RAW Vibes, the art and performance space run by Saint Petersburg art community friend, Laly, whom last year exhibited my haikyo photographs.  

It was very easy to work with Marla, who posed very well on her own.  I do not believe I said a word to her about posing the entire time, she just went from great pose to great pose.  This allowed me to focus on just making and composing the photographs as best as I could.

The "DANCE" painting was already on the wall, so I cannot take credit for thinking to include it in the photograph.  I did of course notice it and tried to make best use of it for this photograph.  I position myself so that no part of Marla overlapped with the frame of the painting, and also to make it seem like the person in the painting is gazing upon Marla, unbeknownst to her.  I imagined the viewer of this image to be like the viewer in the painting.  

I chose the "antique plate" filter in Silver Efex Pro 3 because I wanted to really accentuate Marla as the subject of the photograph and put into shadow most of the background.  

How I made this photograph:

  • Nikon D300 with Tamron XR Di II 17-50mm lens handheld
  • f/8, 1/60th, ISO 200, aperture priority
  • strobist:  Nikon SB-600 Speedlight on light stand high to frame left triggered by commander mode on the D300
  • processing:  RAW file in Aperture 3, image clean up in Photoshop CS4, conversion to black & white in Silver Efex Pro 3

Performance: Vanessa Cerallo-Wainwright - professional dancer

Vanessa Cerallo-Wainwright performs at the grand opening of RAW Vibes in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

I met Vanessa Cerallo-Wainwright at the grand opening of RAW Vibes Art and Performance Space.  She gave a dynamic flamenco dance performance that not only gripped the crowd emotionally, but also physically as some members of the crowd could not help themselves from joining Vanessa on stage toward the end of her performance.

The crowd in RAW Vibes watches Vanessa Cerallo-Wainwright's flamenco dance performance.

The art gallery space in RAW Vibes is capable of being quickly transformed into a performance space complete with a small stage.  With a packed house it provides for a very intimate atmosphere between performer and observer.  There was hardly any space for me to squeeze in to and make these photographs!

 Vanessa changed gears in her performance using a fan and costume twirls.The performance space in RAW Vibes makes for a dramatic setting with its deep red velvet curtain backdrop and high, recessed lighting shining directly down on the performers.  I am becoming a big fan of the red velvet background as it also served well as a backdrop for scary dolls.

I used a combination of flash and non-flash shots to photograph Vanessa's performance. This one of course is using flash.