Taking pictures of Belly Dancers
Form, motion, expression, belly dancers can be some of the hardest pictures to take. Mostly because no matter how you have your camera set you need to set the lighting and the speed of the camera so that you can catch motion. Motion has always been a problem for me, and I have this thing about mutant hands where the hands blur out or elongated fingers tend to get in the way. I have friends to thank for that as they tend to critique my pictures quite honestly. And when you find someone who will critique your pictures honestly they are someone to cherish a lot.
I had the opportunity to do some fantasy belly dancers in the studio and ended up with a dozen or so pictures that I ended up really liking. I’ll reprocess them over to a fantasy feel over the next couple of weeks. The setting on the camera was 1/300 running under stage lighting rather than flash, with an ISO of 200 because I wanted to be able to pop the colors and I needed to be a bit above 100 ISO when it came down to the lighting. Flash might have worked better, but wanted to see what i could do against the black background and flash has a tendency to bring out all the details that I wanted smoothed out. I still wanted to capture some motion rather than single events in time. It was important to me to capture the motion of the veils flying through the air, but keep the belly dancer in focus and in perfect focus.
That is going to be the challenge with doing live motion dancing pictures. Belly Dancers rely on the expression of hand and veil; you want to capture both of them. But you do want the veils a little motion wise while everything else is in focus. In all not that bad a photo shoot and my model was amazingly cool to redo some of the movements so that I could try to do what I was trying to do. If you get the opportunity to do something like this I would love to see what you create. Belly dancing has a wonderful history of being something that entices and teases. You always want to know what is underneath, knowing full well that well it is just a performance, and you will not see all that you want to see. Sometimes pictures that are more teasing are always going to be the best ones because it leaves so much to the imagination. One cannot argue with imagination.