Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

Hosted by fabulous Florida-based professional fashion photographer, Asylum Steve, this forum is for discussing studio photography and anything related to lighting.
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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Belly Dancing Shoot

    This was a new one for me. But I got invited and I always like to shoot new stuff, so what the hell. I'm not used to shooting people in the studio. I'm not used to using studio strobes. I've never shot a belly dancer in the studio. I'm not used to sharing a shoot with other people. So I was way out of my comfort zone. But that's good. That's usually when we have the opportunity to learn the most. And I did learn a lot. Most of the learning happened when I got home and started looking at my photos. That's when I got inspired and started to really get some good ideas. I don't feel like I can take too much credit for these photos, although I did press the button. But my new friends Doug and Renee set up the lights. And most of the credit should go to our wonderful model, Stephanie. She's a professional dancer who actually teaches belly dancing. Having a good model makes a world of difference and she's awesome.

    This was a great shoot for me. It's got me psyched about using strobes in the studio and shooting people more. I am also planning on doing some belly dancing photos, but more in my own style. That means in an actual performance environment with mixed lighting and spectators. That's more like the kind of shooting I'm used to and I know how to really work it. But this was a great experience and I will definitely do it again if I am offered the opportunity. Who knows - maybe I'll even expand my little tabletop product studio so that I can shoot models in my own space...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belly Dancing Shoot-_z3j2055.jpg   Belly Dancing Shoot-_z3j2056.jpg   Belly Dancing Shoot-_z3j2232.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Behind The Scenes

    Here are a couple that show Doug's garage studio setup, as well as Doug and Renee. Renee is responsible for me being at the shoot. I met her a little over a week ago. She's a Getty stock photographer and does a very different kind of work than I do. She's got a lot of interesting experience and I am excited to know her and learn from her.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Belly Dancing Shoot-_z3j2088.jpg   Belly Dancing Shoot-_z3j2091.jpg  
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    That's some set up they have.
    Learning is good!
    I'd like to see some of their stuff.
    Brian
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  4. #4
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Brian-
    Neither one is a member - yet. But I'm going to send them both a link and see if I can't get them to include a few of their photos. In such a controlled environment, it's interesting to see how different photographers get different results. And both Renee and Doug are pros at this stuff. I was just sort of along for the ride.
    Photo-John

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  5. #5
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    In such a controlled environment, it's interesting to see how different photographers get different results.
    Very true - surprisingly it seems to be more the case with studio work than being outdoors. Nice job!

  6. #6
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    Brian-
    Neither one is a member - yet. But I'm going to send them both a link and see if I can't get them to include a few of their photos. In such a controlled environment, it's interesting to see how different photographers get different results. And both Renee and Doug are pros at this stuff. I was just sort of along for the ride.

    PR.com needs more SLC photographers!
    If it helps show them my site, our styles are different of course, but we do share a common phone area code!
    Brian
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  7. #7
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Thanks for sharing this experience with us John. I know very little about studio work and would love to get a little more knowledgeable in this area. Love your second shoot it makes her look very exotic and mysterious.
    Don't forget about the Gallery. Are your photos there??


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  8. #8
    MJS
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Nice work John, its nice to see you in studio.
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  9. #9
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by MJS
    Nice work John, its nice to see you in studio.
    I'm in the studio all the time. But usually I'm taking pictures of cameras and not pretty models
    Photo-John

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  10. #10
    MJS
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    True, but it sure is nice to shoot living and breathing models, Nice work none the less.
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  11. #11
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    This was a new one for me. But I got invited and I always like to shoot new stuff, so what the hell. I'm not used to shooting people in the studio. I'm not used to using studio strobes...
    Well, I'm taking this into account, and so don't want to be too critical.

    My only crit is that these are all very very basic, but not in a pure, artistic way. More like high school yearbook kind of stuff. Plain, directional ratios, natural color, with little bg style added.

    If these are the dancer's best poses, I think I'd have to disagree about her modeling abilities. IMO these shots show very weak posing. Just MO. OTOH, with flash, the timing of the shooter is everything when it comes to capturing poses (especially movement), so again that comes back to you...

    Like you say, you're out of your comfort zone, and with this kind of stuff you need to learn to walk before you can run. Real nice attempts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    I've never shot a belly dancer in the studio...
    I shot a belly dancer in the back of her bedleh once (or was it her chalwar?). Not hurt badly, but boy, was she pissed...
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

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  12. #12
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Thanks, Steve. The people I was shooting with shoot for stock. So maybe that's why the lights are conservative. I know I didn't have much of an idea what to do. But I am pleased with these. The bicep flex was my only real flash of inspiration. I noticed that her arm things looked kind of super hero-like. I am looking forward to shooting her and other dancers in a real performance environment, with handheld flash, spectators, and lots of blur. That's more my kind of thing. But I am excited about the studio. I need to set up my own and have a willing model so I can play and experiment more.
    Photo-John

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  13. #13
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    I like the movement in the second.

    I will be stepping outside my comfort zone as well, will be spending the weekend in SD with a friend to learn how to work studio lights. Commited to a project...figure I should know what I'm doing...

    btw....I bet you could get a pretty model to hop up on the table...
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  14. #14
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    btw....I bet you could get a pretty model to hop up on the table...
    What? She's not that kind of dancer.
    Photo-John

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  15. #15
    The one - The only
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    Re: Belly Dancing Shoot

    John! Thanks for posting this up. I think this is a great series to put in the lighting forum. I typically troll this forum for lighting tips, tutorials, templates, layouts, etc. All things to help me better have an idea of how to use studio type lighting. I'm sure you feel the same, but studio work is very different than using speedlights to spot a MTB rider.

    Like Steve said, these are not the most dynamically lit portraits - but for a first time they are not half bad. In fact, mine were so much worse!
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