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Magazine » Social Dance » Ryan Kenner's 10 Tips for Shooting Great Dance Photos

Ryan Kenner's 10 Tips for Shooting Great Dance Photos

Ryan Kenner

1. Find out the limitations of your camera. Does your camera have modes like Av, Tv, P, M modes? What about a Sports mode? The best modes to use for ballroom dance events are usually Tv and
Sports modes.

2. Take some time to learn about the relationship between ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed and how they affect the final picture.

a. Increasing the ISO lets in more light but adds grain to the image.

b. Decreasing the Aperture lets in more light but softens the image.

c. Decreasing the Shutter Speed lets in more light but can lead to blurry images.

3. To avoid most motion blur, try setting your camera to "Sports" mode or to "Tv (Shutter Priority)" with a shutter speed of at least 1/125.

4. To get a brighter image, try setting your ISO to the highest possible setting (1600, 3200, etc...). However, you should be aware that at high ISO's the image may become grainy and blacks may start to look reddish.

5. If your images look oddly colored there could be a few reasons:

a. Underexposed images will look dark and yellow. Try increasing the ISO or reducing your shutter speed.

b. Most ballrooms are filled with yellowish lighting. Try setting your white balance to Tungsten.

c. Some competitions use colored gels (blue, red, yellow) on their lights. Try setting up a custom white balance by taking a picture of a white or gray object in the room. Refer to your camera manual for instructions on how to set your custom white balance.

6. Using a flash can help to brighten the subject in an image. Try an off-camera flash instead of the built in flash for better results. Built in
flashes typically are not powerful enough and the light may bounce off your lens creating an
undesirable shadow.

7. Try setting your flash to a low power and using it as a fill light instead of as the primary light source.

8. In general, try composing your images as if you were shooting a marathon. Fill the frame with your subject leaving a little space above and below for cropping to different print sizes.

9. For artistic shots, try using the rule of thirds to position your subject and then shoot the shot both wide and zoomed in.

10. Try to avoid cropping images where the frame cuts through the limbs of your subject. If you do crop your subject tightly, try to crop the image at mid-thigh and mid-bicep.