Tips & Tutorials

Producing Expressive Shots of the Dancer’s Movements

In this article, my aim is to capture a dramatic shot of the dancer’s passionate performance. I will provide some professional tips on how to create impact in a photo by capturing the movement of the subject in a single shot. (Reported by: Uruma Takezawa)

EOS 5D Mark II/ EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM/ FL: 125mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/15 sec.)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight

The dreamy expression of the dancer and his movements represent stillness and dynamism respectively. To capture these two opposing elements in a single shot, I tried to produce a more dramatic depiction of the atmosphere of the scene. To do so, it is important to take as many shots as possible without worrying too much about the result.

Step 1: Check the movement of the dancer and determine the shooting position

Step 2: Select a shutter speed that allows movement to be expressed

Step 3: Take as many shots as possible without worrying too much about the result


Step 1: Check the movement of the dancer and determine the shooting position

The key point in this example is to capture the expression of the dancer while expressing his movements at the same time. To do so, it is therefore necessary to check the way in which the dancer is moving, followed by choosing a position and composition that allows the facial expression of the subject to be captured.

The male dancer was turning as he danced on the stage. His facial expression was visible from the position right in front up to an angle of 45 degrees. However, I wanted to create a greater impact with a simple background, so I chose a composition that is close to the front position in order to obtain a black background.

Step 2: Select a shutter speed that allows movement to be expressed

The most important point to bear in mind is to select a shutter speed that allows both the facial expression and movement to be captured. In other words, the shutter speed cannot be too fast or too slow. 1/30 second was the limit in order to avoid camera shake and prevent the expression of the dancer from turning out blurry. I took a test shot at this speed, but the movement was not captured the way I intended. I therefore next boldly set the shutter speed to 1/15 second, and was able to capture a dramatic shot of the movement.

Step 3: Take as many shots as possible without worrying too much about the result

Although I managed to capture the dancer's movement, it remained an extremely challenging task to "freeze" his facial expression. The only way to resolve this issue is to take as many shots as possible. After deciding on the composition and exposure, all you need to do is to keep pressing the shutter button. At the end of the shoot, simply single out the one that best depicts both the movement and expression.

Must-have Item
EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

In this test shoot, I took handheld shots without the use of a tripod as I needed to keep up with the rapid movement of the dancer. I wanted to capture clear images despite the low-light condition, so I chose a telephoto lens with a bright f-number.

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Uruma Takezawa

Born in 1977 in Osaka, Takezawa has travelled to more than 135 countries in the world, capturing shots during his journey. His main work is titled "Walkabout", which is a record of his journey over a period of close to three years. His latest work, "Buena Vista", is a photo album on Cuba, In 2014, Takezawa won the Nikkei National Geographic Photo Prize.

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation

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