Photographing A Nanjing Dance Company

I was recently invited to come take pictures of a local dance company here in Nanjing (thanks, Dare!) as they shot a music video to Walk The Moon’s ‘Shut Up And Dance With Me’. I’m an amateur photographer, and a very casual one at that, plus I had never done anything close to dance photography before! Needless to say, I learned a few things and feel inclined to share!

Lessons Learned & My Favorite Photos

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Lesson 1 – Burst Mode Is Your Best Friend

I have an embarrassing admission… I still haven’t gotten out of auto mode on my DSLR, so I began shooting the dancers in auto mode. After taking a few photos, I had a look at my camera and realized the pictures were pretty weird looking. The dancer’s faces were in focus, but their hands and legs were blurry. This is when I learned that the Action Mode on my camera really does work for movement, and that the burst mode it automatically went into was the best thing ever.

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Lesson 2 – Let The Dancers Direct

I’m personally not used to directing people on where they should stand or how they should pose, so this realization made me like dance photography a lot. Dancers will ham it up and direct themselves when given the opportunity. The 3 girls above wanted me to take photos of them in front of this big pretty building, and they totally directed the shots. Makes it easy – that’s for sure! I just had to make sure I was always ready on the right setting, finger hovering over the button.

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Lesson 3 – Jumps & Twirls Make The Best Photos

I feel like the times I was trying to catch a good pose didn’t give me great results, but the times we staged a jump or I knew the group was about to twirl made for great pictures.

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Lesson 4 – Learn The Choreography

The photo below was captured because I let burst mode do its thing, and I had watched the same choreography play out over and over, so I knew exactly when the big group twirl was. If I were to go back and capture these exact same dances again and again, I know the results would improve each time because of my familiarity with the choreography.

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

Lesson 5 – Dance Experience Helps The Editing Process

Burst mode results in a LOT of photos captured in a short amount of time, so I had to be picky about the ones that I would edit. As I was choosing the best pictures, I realized I was at a slight disadvantage since I know close to nothing about dance. Things like “is that how their hands are supposed to look for this pose?” went through my head as I attempted to pick the best moments.

Be sure to comment below if you have any tips or tricks for new photographers!!

Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon 🙂

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Dance Photography - Lessons learned on the set of a music video. What you should know before you begin photographing dancers | LA VIE SANS PEUR Anxious Girl, Fearless Life. Travel and Lifestyle Blog and Vlog. American in China. | Nanjing dancer dance dancing photograph photo photography photographing take pictures of what to know need to know learn lessons blogger vlogger music video university dance company outfit changes burst mode shoot shooting set

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