How to Take Dance Action Shots | The Complete Guide

Photography is a difficult skill that calls for a unique knowledge base. Depending on the type of picture you’re taking (portraits, landscapes, or action photos), you might need to use specific techniques. Like other action shots, dance photos can take a lot of practice. Taking a dancing picture isn’t easy. The subject is constantly moving, and you have to capture them in a perfect pose. However, with the proper techniques and equipment, you’ll be able to take some stunning images. In this article, we’ll go through some common techniques for dance photography, as well as the specific camera and lighting equipment you’ll need. Keep on reading if you’d like to learn some valuable information about How to Take Dance Action Shots.

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How to Take Dance Action Shots: Techniques 

Along with taking dance photos comes a specific set of techniques. Here are our top four techniques for taking dance photos so that you can get the perfect shot.

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Shoot from a Low Angle

Shooting from a lower angle allows for some dramatic shots. When shooting dancers, every part of their body from head to toe should be visible in the shot. And shooting from a low angle ensures that you can get full-body photos.

A lower angle also adds a dramatic feel to photos, as if the dancer is towering above the viewer. Poses for a dance photoshoot can make a big difference here.

Take Tons of Photos

Most dancer photos will be out of focus, or the subject will be in the wrong position. You might need to take a couple of hundred shots before you get one that’s just perfect.

blurry image
blurry image

Don’t fret if the first few don’t come out great; keep taking photos until you get some you love. You can also move the camera if things aren’t working out.

Use a Remote

Shooting with a remote allows you to set the camera down at a low angle and take tons of photos as the dancer is moving. You can also watch the viewfinder on a monitor to see what needs to be adjusted.

use a remote
use a remote

Make sure to set up auto-focus. Once you have it set up, the camera will begin focusing, and then you can continually press the remote to take hundreds of photos.

Move Around

Try lots of different angles. Try running around and jumping with the dancer to get super cool, dynamic shots if you’re holding the camera. You might feel silly, but this is what it takes to get perfect pictures of a dancer.

try different angles
try different angles

If one angle isn’t working, move the camera around. You can keep doing this throughout the shoot to have a great variety of photos to choose from.

How to Take Dance Action Shots: Equipment 

There are some specific equipment recommendations when it comes to dancing photos. You’ll want a high-quality DSLR camera. Once you have the camera, particular aperture, shutter speed, and ISO requirements will help you take better shots. We’ll also talk about shooting indoors compared to shooting outside and what equipment you’ll need for these two lighting scenarios. There’s also some recommended software for post-shoot touch-ups.

Cameras

Most photographers recommend using a DSLR camera to take the best dance photos. These will give you some great quality images because they have great light sensitivity and a variety of shutter speeds. You can also attach different lenses based on the particular setup of your photoshoot. 

Here are our top three choices:

  • Nikon D3500
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 80D
    canon 80d
    canon 80d

While you can take dance photos with any camera on hand, you will need to invest some money into a high-quality camera to take a good dance photo.

Camera Settings

You’ll also need to have the correct settings on your camera. Dancers move quickly, and lighting situations change, so your settings should be dynamic. 

  • Aperture: The aperture should be set to f5.6 – f8, although this will vary based on your lighting conditions.
    aperture
    aperture
  • Shutter speed: Use a faster shutter speed because the dancer moves around quickly.
    shutter speed
    shutter speed
  • ISO: You’ll want a high ISO because this will require a much shorter exposure. A high ISO allows for dynamic photography.
    iso settings
    iso settings

It’s essential to balance aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Once you find the perfect settings for your environment, focus on your subject and shoot away!

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Lighting

There are different lighting situations that you may come across while shooting dance photography; here’s what we recommend.

Stage

If you are working on stage, you’ll need at least two sidelights to help the dancer look fully illuminated. For a more dramatic effect, try a single spotlight.

stage lighting
stage lighting

This can be tricky, and you’ll need someone controlling the light while you photograph, but the result is mesmerizing.

Outdoors

On a slightly overcast day, you won’t need any external light at all. If it’s sunny or too dark out, try using a reflector to reflect the sunlight onto your subject, and this technique will make the dancer look as if they are glowing.

outdoor lighting
outdoor lighting

If you find yourself in very dark conditions, you can also try using a box light to ensure your subject is well-lit.

Software

Touching up the photos is an integral part of the process. Lighting situations aren’t always ideal, and many factors might make your image look a bit off. Using editing software can help you turn a good photo into a perfect one.

adobe lightroom
adobe lightroom

There are a few software options to edit your photos, but we recommend downloading free open-access software. If you’re willing to cash out, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom will be your best friends when editing dance photos, and this software makes for some professional and polished images. 

FAQs

What is ISO photography and how does it work?
The sensitivity of the camera’s sensor is referred to as ISO in digital photography. The ISO setting is one of three exposure controls options, the other two being the f/stop and shutter speed. Using a higher ISO film, such as ISO 400 to 1000, on a film camera often resulted in visible grain.
What steps do you take to become a dance photographer?
  • Learn More About the Dancer (s)
  • Become acquainted with the dance style.
  • Make certain your models are aware that they are being photographed.
  • To avoid a camera shake, use a tripod.
  • But don’t always take photos from the same angle.
  • Shoot your scenes on a real stage.
  • Long exposures can be used to elegantly track movement.
  • Make dramatic lighting choices.

Conclusion

Shooting any action photo isn’t easy, but hopefully, this article on How to Take Dance Action Shots helped you pick up some important tips for shooting dance photography. Make sure you adjust your camera settings based on the lighting situation, and you’ll be good to go. Most importantly, remember to take tons of photos so you can get the perfect shot.

If you’re looking for some high-quality dance videos for your website or project, check out stock clips for some professional dance videography.

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Aloukik Rathore is a Delhi-based entrepreneur, gadget lover, and absolute geek. He loves spending time learning about new innovations and runs a digital marketing company, Cannibals.