Training with Gary Hill – creating a dance photoshoot
Posted on 28 Sep, 2018 by Sarah Hart
This past year, I’ve been working with a training mentor, Gary Hill, and a group of other fabulous photographers to really push our work on to the next level. The course, “Progress to Success” has been a real joy to attend, mainly due to working with such friendly and helpful people, but also because Gary has tried to help us all achieve in the areas we need to focus on. For me, that was getting to grips with some more advanced lighting techniques, posing adults (I’m just so used to posing babies, that posing adults had been neglected until this year!) but also trying out some more creative work with my passion for dance photography. We met up on six Sundays over the course of a year at the lovely and very hospitable Sandra Cullen‘s studio in Woolwich and studied lighting, posing, editing and found some fabulous models to work with. In readiness for our final session with Gary last weekend, we were all set the task of creating our own themed photoshoot using models of our own choice and with lighting techniques learned through the course. Each photographer produced a Pinterest mood board with ideas for our own photoshoots and we each sourced our own outfits to suit the shoot.
No surprise, that I wanted to create a dance photoshoot and so I asked along a dancer, Neisha Gajar, to model for us. My Pinterest board here, shows the kind of images I wanted to create. For me the lines of the dancer are the most striking but I also love the movement created by long flowy skirts. Prior to the shoot, I asked Neisha if she could bring along any flowy dance skirts that she had (unbeknown to me she didn’t, and she had the lovely Jane from Alphabetty Designs to whip up two beautiful 360 degree skirts in white and black for us) and I purchased 3 metres of claret red chiffon material. Both the skirts and the chiffon worked beautifully to create some movement in the images below.
All the images used a large strip light soft box placed above using a boom arm and one accent light to the side & behind the model to add a little separation. Plus I was also fortunate enough to be able to use Gary’s high speed sync flash lights to freeze the movement of the skirts (oh dear, a little more saving up for me to purchase my own!).
The other photographers in the group created their own photoshoots – Sandra designed a shoot using Neisha in a traditional Indian sari.
Graham wanted to use a 4 light set-up to show off his model, Manny’s defined muscles. And Alison, had Manny dressed in a waistcoat for a stylish 1920s vintage shoot. Each of us got the chance to photograph ach other’s set ups and so here are mine.
I loved the course (I’m a little sad that it’s now over) and would highly recommend working with Gary, who’s knowledge and willingness to help everyone, helps bring on any photographer at any level. A great many thanks goes out to him for his time, patience and his effort (mainly of lugging half a studio half the length of the country!). I’m now looking forward to practising my new skills to create a few more dance shoots in the future!