Vanessa – Playing with Shadows | Ballet Photography

We were lucky enough to work with the amazing Vanessa once again on a studio ballet shoot.  The idea for this shoot was to play with strong light and shadows, incorporating straight lines and a monochromatic color scheme.  We wanted the look to be elegant and modern and show off Vanessa’s grace and strength. The look for our first setup came from a vision we had of a dancer, leaning against a wall, with  straight lines made of light and shadow falling across her body.

This idea turned out to be fairly complex to create.  To create the lines falling across the wall, we created an 8 foot cookie (a device to cast shadow patterns or silhouettes) to shine the light through.  By moving the Profoto B1 Off Camera Flash, we were able to change the direction and stretch of the shadows.  This requires a large studio space, as the flash must be placed far away from the cookie to create hard lines.  The modeling light on the B1 was especially helpful for this setup.  (you can see it used in the behind the scenes video below)

Here is a very sophisticated drawing showing our setup:

For our second setup, we shot against a white backdrop, giving Vanessa more freedom for some jumps and larger movements.  We stuck with the monochromatic look, using the Profoto Magnum Reflector (sometimes with a 10 degree grid, sometimes without) to create hard, crisp, but very flattering light.



For the above shot, we set up the cookie again, blocking all other light, letting the lines fall over Vanessa’s body, creating a beautiful, interesting silhouette.  Another sophisticated drawing showing our setup:


…And a giant shoe…because, why not?

Vanessa Studio-237-3

Check out the amazing behind-the-scenes video!  Created by our friends over at Jason Gibson Films:

Dancer:  Vanessa Woods

Hair and Makeup:  Emily Miller

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