Today I was asked to come in to take some promotional photos for Les Petits Ballets. They are preparing for the upcoming presentation of “The Little Princess” at Centrepointe Theatre in May. I was very pleased with the results.
Instead of shooting in the classrooms (which are very cluttered visually), we used the rehearsal studio. It is about the same size, but it is set up like a theatre with a black velvet background. It is a better location than the studio.
I also wanted to use the off-camera flash and coloured gels. Rosa and I had experimented at home one evening in December, and I wanted to try again. Specifically, I wanted to put some colour into the background to make the group of girls standout.
Including Rosa, who is playing Ms. Minchin, there were four girls. The choreographer posed the girls, and I would take a number of shots. The dancers tried six different poses.
The Canon 7D has a wireless flash controller built-in, using the on-camera flash. This means that when using the Canon 420EX off camera, it must have line-of-sight to the camera to receive the data.
I put the 420EX on a stand on the floor behind the girls. It was pointed at the black backdrop with the wireless receiver pointed back at me. I used a green gel (Honl) over the flash to ‘break-out’ the dancers from the background.
Because of the limitation of requiring line-of-sight, there were times the flash did not fire. The outfits of the dancers would block the communications. The ideal solution would be to use an RF (radio) controller that would not require line-of-sight.
Because the on-camera flash is used to trigger the remote off-camera flash, this meant that for some shots, I had to fix the red-eye in Aperture. This also could be reduced with an RF controller.
When using the flash, I try to take a set of two photos as quickly as possible. I know that the first photo will trigger all the flashes. When the second photo is taken, the flash has not had enough time to recycle and so I will get the second photo without flash and without needed to manually go turn the flash off. Having photos with and without flash allows me to pick the one that I feel is better. Sometimes the flash will overpower the exposure, and can produce harsh shadows; the nature light exposure might be better. Other times the flash is needed to correctly expose the image.
The photos taken will be used in promotion for the performance (Centrepointe Theatre, May 2011) and for the school in general. In the past, some of my other photos were used for the Capital Events poster and local newspapers.