Dance Photography – Making of a Masterpiece

Here is another good example of the kinds of post production image editing that we do for some dance photography.

The “Before” is a staged pose with about 18 dancers. Other than white background and grey foreground and some hidden stools, this is a pretty tame shot.

I surfed and purchased a great shot of an African sunrise from dreamstime.com. This site has wonderful stock photography for reasonable prices. Then I cut away most of the background and put the image of the dancers on the front of the sunrise image. I then colored their skin to have the same glow that you would see during a sunrise. A bit of titling and the piece is done!

I’m pretty happy with this one. Working with the constraints of space, time and props, we took a pose and made it thematic. The studio is very happy with this image!

ROY (Red Orange Yellow)


I remember in my college days needing to memorize the spectral color sequence. The acronym ROY G. BIV was used to spell out Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. This is the progression of the visible spectrum from longer to shorter wavelengths of light.

I’m not quite sure why you need to know that, but for astronomers who need to measure exact frequencies of starlight, it’s important basic stuff.

When I edited this image of these five dancers, the acronym came back to me. Red, Orange and Yellow are very strong in this image.

A bit of creative titling and border borrowing colors and textures from the girls’ costumes rounded this one out.

Artistic Editing of Dance Photography in Erie


Here is an example of Before and After editing for Dance photography. Most photos I shoot with the intent to print “as shot” with a minimum of editing. Others, we spend some time composing for a particular look.

This number is set to Natalie Merchant’s “My Skin”, or otherwise known as “Untouchable”. It’s a very melancholy, lonely song. We asked the girls to pose with random gazes and neutral to sad expressions. You can see in the original that they have various colored costumes. Judy the director wanted a look like an album cover or insert photo, conveying the mood of the song.

It took several steps to get the finished result. Here’s a rough summary:

  • Apply an infrared filter to the image, which nearly blew out the highlights and neutralized the color
  • Create a textured brush on a light brown color, randomly applied with light opacity
  • Remove the texture around the girls’ faces with a layer mask
  • Create the text line and reduce the opacity to let the background show through
  • Apply a custom border to the image
  • Size and sign for web

We often will do custom edits for special situations. Stay tuned for a blow-by-blow of our “Lion King” custom edit!

Hollywood Bound

I call this the “Hollywood” pose, because I think I have seen it in old 8×10 black and white images from long ago, of famous hollywood actresses.

This young lady always does very well in this pose. I think she will do well as an actress!

Living in a Material World

Here’s a sample of one of the high-key images we captured last evening. This young lady’s number: Material Girl.

We aim for a couple of key elements in this type of photography: Crisp, well lit subjects, a pure white background, good illustration of the costume and the mood of the number, and some texture and context at the subject’s feet.

I think we met that in this image.

We photographed over 30 groups and individuals last night, in just under four hours. We had some fun and captured some really nice and creative images. We’ll be putting a competition collage together for these girls soon!

High Key Dance Photography in Erie


Last night we completed our competition team series at Paula and Judy’s Dance Connection. This is a great set of images of the various competition numbers, taken in high-key style on a white background.

We had a very smooth evening of shooting and we came away with some excellent images! Great posing and creative ideas from the studio owners and the girls were very cooperative.

Here’s an image of the act in progress, shot from behind the set in the studio. I thought the silhouettes of the waiting girls in the foreground added an interesting element to the image.

2009 JDRF Gala in Erie


On Saturday March 14th, JDRF held its annual Beach Ball Gala Fundraiser event. This was the second year the event was held at the Bayfront Convention Center. This year, the weather cooperated, and the event was very well attended.

As entertainment, the Sheffield High School Steel Drum Band warmed up the crowd during the silent auction cocktail hour, and Tennessee Backporch provided the evening’s musical entertainment in the dining room.

Audiovisual services were once again provided by Chris Britt and his excellent team. Chris was also the recipient of the 2009 Volunteer of the Year award for the Northwest PA chapter. Chris is shown here with some of his gear.

Tim and Lisa NeCastro were the hosts of this year’s Gala. A spirited live auction and many other activities created highlights for this memorable evening. I was honored to capture images of this great event, which each year raises tens of thousands of dollars to support research to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes and its complications.