When you ask and pay someone to take your photograph (be it a LinkedIn profile or a family photograph) you expect to receive images that are perfectly in focus and not blurry. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what most of my clients expect.
Being able to take photographs that aren’t blurry through movement or lack of focus is one of the first things you learn as a photographer.
So to unlearn it and deliberately go out to capture blurry photographs has been somewhat of a challenge – an exciting challenge at that! Photographs are still images, so to try and portray movement through a medium that isn’t naturally aimed at this was quite inspiring.
As soon as I knew this week’s theme would be movement, I knew that I wanted to photograph movement through dance. Don’t ask me why! I would love to say that this concept was born from my big love for dance or ballet … but apart from a year of ballet lessons (if you can call it that!) as a young child, and throwing some moves on sticky nightclub floors as a teenager, dance and I haven’t really got an awful lot in common.
And yet, something attracted me to this subject.
Ruth is a beautiful and extremely talented dance graduate who needed some photographs for her dancing portfolio, so she could apply for some jobs in the industry. So we quickly booked in a date for a photoshoot.
I made sure that Ruth left my studio with plenty of great, in focus, not blurry photographs for her portfolio. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have probably seen Ruth’s headshot I posted yesterday. It’s one of my favourites! (If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you totally should. Just click here!)
Throughout the session, we also made sure that we turned off the flash and took some beautiful blurry photographs to convey the expression of movement through dance. And I am over the moon with how they came out!
The light coming through the window was ideal, and Ruth’s red dress was perfect for this, with the sheer fabric creating some beautiful effects.
For those of you who like numbers, here are some setting figures for you. My usual camera settings when using flash are f6.3 at 1/125th of a second. To capture the movement, I knew I needed to slow down the exposure time quite considerably, so I set this to 1/20th of a second. I also turned off the flash, as there was plenty of natural light coming in for such a slow exposure time. I did however drop my aperture to f2.8.
And so here are the results!
So, in answer to the question is this just a blurry photograph or is it art? Well … I’ll leave it up to you to decide!
I’ve made up my mind already!
With huge thanks to Ruth, for being such an amazing dancer, and for being game to my crazy idea, and for repeating a dance move over and over and over again until we finally got it right in camera! You’re a star!