A low-key photoshoot of a ballet dancer.
Dancer: Jane Birks
Photographer: matt g
Location: Gold Coast Photography Studio
If you look around my website, you'll see that there are a number of photographs of ballet dancers, sometimes dancing and sometimes in more stylised shots. I really like photographing dancers - both male and female - as they invariably have a certain grace and poise, and also - from a photographic point of view - they usually have well-defined muscles that can be sculpted by the photography lights to really stand out. These sculpted muscles work really well with low-key photography in which the shadows are a significant feature of the image and is one of my favourite styles.
For this photoshoot, Jane Birks - a professional and very talented dancer - came into the photography studio in Tugun on the Gold Coast and we took some photographs in a number of different styles, and even some in the pool. Although there were several different styles - including portrait photography and high-key photography, as well as some action shots of Jane dancing - these low-key photographs were probably my favourite so I gave them their own gallery in the mattgphotography blog rather than flipping between styles (makes a change!). These are all fairly low-key lit (quite dark, lots of shadows) although I have added some colour to several of them to give them that 'mattgphotography look'.
For those of you that are interested by the techical details, these photographs were taken on a Nikon D800 camera and using Elinchrom lighting. Most of the shots used just two strobes - one main-light and one fill-light (almost a backlight in some of them). The mainlight had a softbox on it, but the strobe was pulled back a little so that it wasn't too soft because otherwise some of that muscle definition would have disappeared. The fill/backlight was either a softbox or a bare bulb just a small reflector dish as a modifier. The background was a grey (not black!) vinyl backdrop.
The wicker chair in some of these photographs of a ballet dancer has been in my house for over a year now and I've been meaning to shoot with it for ages! It makes a nice prop, I think, and gives elegant and sophisticated look to the images - very appropriate for a ballet dancer!