I love shooting social dancers. Can you give me constructive feedback at my latest albums what I do you like and what you think I can improve? https://stanyakimov.com/albums/

All photos are taken with 18-55mm zoom lens. I also have 35mm and 50mm prime lenses but I'm not using them because the dancers are quite dynamic and often it's hard to frame the shot well.

Thank you in advance.

Regards, Stan

  • 5
    Can you please pick one or two specific photographs? In a month, your latest albums may be completely different, which would render any answers irrelevant. Thanks!
    – mattdm
    Aug 16 '19 at 9:12
  • 6
    (The goal of this site is to not just help you with your immediate problems but also to help others learn in the future.)
    – mattdm
    Aug 16 '19 at 9:14
  • You could sign up to take a dance class at the Arthur Murray school of dance ! Tongue and cheek? maybe, but if you know when the dancers were going to dip, twirl or kick-ball-change you would know how to compose and when to shoot. Just sayin. Now maybe there is a social dance photography class as well. I have been dancing with photography for decades now. Remember to secure the camera when you twirl, bruising can occur.
    – Alaska Man
    Aug 18 '19 at 0:32
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because "open-ended" requests for critique are specifically excluded in the guidelines for this community.
    – Michael C
    Aug 19 '19 at 3:09
  • 2
    and... the link is dead.
    – ths
    Mar 2 '20 at 11:16

My tips:

  • Using primes mostly, wide open. Trying to get as much ambient as possible. Organizers like to see all the effort that went into the lightning: stage lightning hitting dancing couple

  • Flash, diffused as much as possible: either by bouncing off a ceiling or by using a flash disc if ceilings too far away. Typical bounced flash shot looks like this:

flash bounced from ceiling - typical lightning example

  • Sometimes I place 4 flashes and light the hall using them. The ~ISO200 shots can then be easily edited to look "painterly":

4 flashes blasting out

  • Other times I find a nicely lit (by "practical light") spot and hunt around there, e.g.: "hunting" for a couple approaching nicely lit place

I do that once I get most of the standard shots.

  • Know the dance. Salsa cubana is tricky (pair dances around in circles, lots of times the hands obscure the face). LA/NY is a lot easier to shoot. Predict dancer movements. Listen to music as well and anticipate crescendos, holds, etc. I've been taking same dance classes.

  • I never had luck with continuous shooting. Even with 12 shots per second I missed a lot. Ended up with ton of unusable photos. I take a lot better ones, when I'm actively waiting for good one.

  • I'm bad at composing. I have no idea how to take good moments and compose well at the same time. Open for suggestions.

  • For the casual dancers, I'm going to wait for emotion expression, i.e.: casual dancers, expressing joy

  • For the professionals, emotion expression comes a lot less often, but they do a lot more photo friendly figures anyway:

your typical performer shot

  • I'm actively avoiding shooting "best couples" only. I spend an hour and two specifically to get as much people coverage as possible.
  • This is a very fine answer and I love the examples...but OP has specifically asked for help and you haven't highlighted even one of their photos for constructive feedback?
    – OnBreak.
    Aug 16 '19 at 16:28
  • 1
    I did go through them, identified issues (which I also had) and responded generally. Answering in detail would take a lot more time. I was exactly in the same position as OP (almost the same events)
    – Rekin
    Aug 16 '19 at 16:41
  • 1
    I think that you misunderstand me. We have plenty of questions about how to photograph clubs / dance generally to which this answer is fantastic. I read OP's as more of a photo-critique request. But, then again, I'm with @mattdm in voting to close as too broad until OP clarifies their intent for the question.
    – OnBreak.
    Aug 16 '19 at 16:45

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