Tag Archives: belly dancer

Surviving a marathon photo shoot with bellydancers2

My model Hadia Habibi, was lit by one softbox on the right aimed downwards. There is a light behind her to light the background, black curtains and red fabric. Canon 5DMark2 with 50mm lens.

When I left off in Part 1, I mentioned how tempting it can be to leave your lights where they are and just shoot each subject in the same exact lighting.


If I were hired to photograph an entire school of belly dancers within a certain time period, believe me, I would do it that way.

You know, sort of like the big photo studios who contract with schools to photograph their students.

There’s no room for individuals tweaks.

They send home 3 setups with a specific pose for each backdrop.

The setup for above. I was warming up. Later, I added more lights.

When the student arrives at the designated time, they already know which pose they want, so they get directed to “Pose 1, 2 or 3”
Continue reading Surviving a marathon photo shoot with bellydancers2

Without power or memory cards, you’ve got an ugly necklace

As a rookie news photographer, my nightmares would take on this form:

I’d be some place where there is “breaking news” and I’d have all my gear, be at the right place with all hell breaking loose.

I reach into my bag and I realize I left my film in the trunk of my car.

Recently I was out at ArtWalk, Riverside’s once-a-month event where galleries downtown open their doors to artists’ work.

I had to get out with my camera and shake off the cobwebs. Continue reading Without power or memory cards, you’ve got an ugly necklace

On location group photos

Hadia Habibi & Al Nar Bellydancers

Working on location outdoors can simplify matters especially if you’re photographing a group.

A well-chosen location and an equally well-chosen time of the day  can free you from having to set up a seamless or Muslin background if your subject is a group of more than 5 or 6 people.

You see, the problem with photographing any kind of group is deciding what to use as your background.

What lens to use? Wide angle lenses make everyone smaller, introduces a lot of clutter in the background and has too much depth-of-field. I used the 80mm setting on my 80-200 zoom. The downside? I have to step way back from the group and that means if you’re soft-spoken, you’ll need a bullhorn. The other problem?  How do you position your light without it showing up in the picture? Since your light will be closer to your subjects than you are physically, that may mean using a boom to raise the lights out of the frame. I got away with moving my light just outside of the frame on the left. Marvin, my assistant, was also holding  a reflector on the left to kick back the directional sunlight coming in from the right.

Unless you plan on cramming everybody so close like sardines, the bigger your group, it follows then, the more space you’ll need.

Realistically, once you have about 8 people, you’re almost assuredly out of space indoors in most studios. And even the biggest seamless paper or Muslin background hung on the long side up will not be enough.

Continue reading On location group photos

Photographing a belly dancer Part 3

A change of attire for a different mood–Getting different looks for their models is often a goal for photographers. It can be something as simple as letting their hair down and introducing a colored backlight. Here is the setup for the lights.

Before you tear down the set sometimes you have to ask yourself, “What else can I try? I’m already here.”

Everything is already set up. If you have time, you might as well push the envelope and see.

That’s what I really enjoyed about working with Hadia.

She was up for more.

When she produced the paraffin lamps, I was chomping at the bit.

Now we were literally playing with fire and turning up the heat.

If you’re trying this at home, and your model has long hair, have her tie it up for safety sake. Continue reading Photographing a belly dancer Part 3