dance studio leeds

The Dance Studio, Leeds charity fundraiser


When I bought my first DSLR camera back in 2007, I shared a house with a dancer and she asked me to take a few pictures of her and a friend. This was my proper photo shoot and where my interest in dance photography began. In the summer of 2013 I discovered how to freeze dance movement in low lighting locations and what could be achieved if you had a good understanding of lighting. You can light a dancer in such a way that it highlights their movement, grace, elegance and form in a way that showed them off. You can emphasise certain aspects and play down others.

I started experimenting and was pleased with the results. I looked through a number of photographs of dancers that I could find online and although many were good, I was not impressed with the way they were lit. Having been to a dance and movement workshop we got to see and try out what could be done to capture and emphasis the shapes a dancer forms with their body. I will provide a link at the end of this blog so you can see what I have done so far.

As part of my growing interest in dance photography, I contacted Katie Geddes and left a stack of business cards at the Dance Studio. A few weeks prior to this charity fundraiser (for Leeds children's hospital), she contacted me and asked if I would be willing to help out. I jumped at the opportunity.

The day

This was a long day of shooting. Something like eight hours of shooting (with breaks). The first part of the day was running through the acts and ensuring the technical sides of the show were working fine. This is where a large part of the photographs were taken. With an empty auditorium the photographers (there were two of us) could set up where we wanted without any fear of obscuring any body's view. I concentrated on the wide angle shots for the first part of the day and then went close up for soloist. For the actual show, I was stationed stage left as close to it as possible.

Post shoot

I took something close to 1700 photographs during the day! So, working through them all was very time consuming. It is a good thing I know what I am looking for and have some very helpful batch processing software. Most of the post processing involved cropping, cleaning up the noise, adjusting the exposure and colours and applying the odd render for the monochrome shots.

Technical details

A full-frame camera with two lens was used throughout the day. The lens were a 24-70mm and 70-200mm both f/2.8. During the rehearsals the camera was mounted on a tripod and a remote trigger used to open the shutter. This was to minimise the shake of lens and meant I could work at slower shutter speeds than I could if I were hand held. I also wanted the shutter speed to be fast enough to ensure still dancer would be sharp (or as sharp as you can achieve in these conditions), but be slow enough to capture motion blur. I tried to work around 1/200th of second. The apature was f/2.8 throughout and the ISO was anything between 2000 and 4000 depending how well lit the stage was. Everything was shot in manual mode varying the ISO accordingly.

During the show the camera lens rested on my elbow. This in turn was on the railing. This helped steady the shot and reduced movement as much as possible. This set up was far more flexible than a tripod. A monopod would have helped, but I did not bring one.


A massive thanks to Katie for asking me to help out, Brian for his help and sharing his experience, the Dance studio team, Kathryn the videographer, Emma for taking an interest in my photography and everyone who performed. I hope you enjoyed it.

Purchasing photographs or booking a shoot

If you would like to book a shoot Contact me.

Your thoughts


Please leave any thoughts, comments, questions or just say, "Hi!" (not literally) below. I really do appreciate feedback. E.g. What is your favourite photograph and why?

A few more photos on Facebook.

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