Capturing shots on the dance floor is one of the most exciting aspects of the reception. Everyone is having a great time, and it is an opportunity to shoot for the dramatic shot, not the safe shot. Mix in the DJ lighting, and as a photographer, I have the opportunity to create some stylish looks.
In most wedding photography situations I have to approach the scene with a cautious optimism, knowing that I need to capture the moment, as fleeting as it might be. This requires a good deal of planning and anticipation. Style certainly plays a big role, but the objective is always to capture the moment as creatively as possible without pushing the limit too far. Try to be overly creative and the moment is missed. With dance floor coverage the approach is completely different.
My objectives for capturing dance floor images is to catch people having fun, and create atmosphere through dramatic lighting. There are so many opportunities to capture “fun” on the dance floor, my focus can be on creative lighting. I touched on some of these topics in my onelight post several weeks back, when I talked about low ambient light shooting. The technique is the same but with all the opportunity for great shots I am free to shoot outside the box. I no longer have to approach the scene with the safety shot in mind.
I can quickly set my lighting, calculate my settings, and start looking for great opportunities. This might be interactions between individuals, a group having a fun time, or a spot with great emotional energy. This is my chance to play with shooting angles, lighting, composition, and interesting techniques. With the flash located in one spot of the dance area, I can move around the floor positioning myself to create different looks and atmosphere with each image. I can go from side-lighting to back-lighting quickly and easily. For additional versatility I put an assistant in charge of the light, which not only helps avoid any mishaps, but it also allows me to direct him to a new location if I see a particular shot that would work better with different lighting.