Columbia, Maryland
      May, 2007

      It was such a fun project to photograph Rebecca, a 14-year-old ballerina. I had never had a chance to photograph a dancer before, and as a big fan of dance, I loved this photo shoot. Becca is a beautiful dancer with a lifelong passion and dedication to ballet. This summer she will begin her studies at a dance academy on a well-earned scholarship. Congratulations, Rebecca!

      This photo shoot had its challenges, because we were granted access to the dance studio in the evening just as the sun was going down. I used the remaining window light for most of the pictures, and relied on my camera’s beautiful image quality at high ISO. For this photo, I placed Rebecca by a window as the main light, and I opened the two windows behind her to give a soft vignette and hair light. I exposed for her face, and let the background go dark. I encourage people to try window light before turning on a flash, because the results are soft and dimensional.


      looks like a fun shoot! awesome job!

      amazing shots!

      my favorite is the first one of just her legs (3rd one up from the bottom).

      I just want to say hi. You are very talented (of course, you know that :)). I really like the way you capture individuals’ personality in the photos.

      GREAT work! i love that you’re always taking on a new challenge!

      thank you SO much for posting about your lighting. may i bother you with questions on your camera settings? mostly curious as to your shutter speed & iso to stop her dancing & still have great quality. 🙂

      do you shoot any “panning” stuff at all?

      how ironic, I just did my first dancer photo shoot yesterday as well….and I had an issue with available light as well. 🙂

      Beautiful job on catching how elegant she is!

      Wonderful portraits, as always, you should really feel proud. 🙂 I would have never guessed you didn’t have much lighting.

      Excellent job! Photographing dancers is hard stuff because what they’re doing and the way it looks in their head tends to be different from the captured moment. The only one that ever went well for me was photographing my friend Rain and I swear the planets must have aligned just right for it. 😉

      Ah, but she is graceful! Wow!

      Absolutely stunning!

      You got some beautiful pictures.
      I love ballet, so I was excited to see this post.
      Great job! 🙂
      I especially like the one that shows her from the waist down, with just from her elbows down of her arms, resting on the barre. Also, the one of her stretching on the floor.


      I also liked that you chose to explain why you shot her where you did, and which windows provided which light. I’m a 3rd semester photography major, and we’re just starting to get into portrait and lighting techniques, so this appealed to me both in beautiful photographs and in a lesson in lighting 🙂

      Charlotte! You did a wonderful job!

      My favorite dance photographer of all time is the wonderful Martha Swope. I danced all through childhood and my teenaged years (and even now, although sporadically) and I remember picking up years ago that the key to good dance photography is to shoot from below. Not all good — or even great — photographers can shoot dance well, but you did it marvelously. I love the shots of her pique turns and I’d love to see more action shots.

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.


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