Lighting for Ballroom Dancing

Started Mar 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
Brooke Meyer Contributing Member • Posts: 652
Re: Lighting for Ballroom Dancing

You can't get higher shutter speed than your camera will sync to which is 1/320 (except for HSS which is a whole different kettle of unwanted fish). But shutter speed only matters for ambient light, it has no effect on what's lit by flash.  The flash is fast and will freeze dance motion.  This was 1/160 sec.  AB800's but you get the idea.

Flash exposure is determined by flash power/distance from the subject, aperture and ISO.  Shutter speed doesn't matter.

If you set your exposure about 2 stops less than the ambient light, the background will go dark/black and only what is lit by flash will be recorded.

Your bigger problem is bouncing off the ceiling which is not the direction of light you want.  Raccoon eyes, like midday light.

Ideally, you'd have a soft light source, like bouncing your flash (flagged with the "black foamy thing ") from upper left or right, like a soft box.  While I use my AB800's a lot, they're generally in 64"PLM's with a diffuser.

What you need is a VAL aka "Voice Activated Lightstand" aka "Assistant".  Give your VAL your flash mounted in a handheld umbrella or softbox and you both move with the dancers.  Nikon has built in wireless control or you could use a sync cord or shoot manual with $20 wireless trigger set (NPT-04 from Cowboy Studio ).

If you have to have a second light, pick up a Yongnou 560 flash.  SBs are $$$

Before you spend your tax refund, give it a try, even with a bare flash and the on board flash as commander.

BTW, I shoot a lot of dance .  In studio, its mostly a 12-24 and and 28-75.  My gear is Pentax but the Nikon mount Tokina 12-24 is well regarded.  Also, the Tamron 28-75 is highly recommended.  Good portrait lens too.  I buy used from when I can.

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