One of the things that we are focused on in the RC household is Dance. My wife Jenn is a ballerina, and taught all sorts of dance at a couple of schools in Long Island for 17 years. As much of what we did back home was focused on Dad, I figured that I could be a better partner by tagging along and making some frames during her major events.
Yeah, that sucked. I got my start in doing portraiture, cutting my chops in a photo studio, with Flashes. Now, I was at an ‘event’. I was at the mercy of the lights, looking for moments in an art I had little actual experience in, with choreography I didnt understand. I always smile and wonder how much Jenn must’ve muttered under her breath when I showed her pictures that I was so proud of, that she just out and out thought sucked. I mean, she had been following McNally’s work just as I had.. we just didnt know that about one another yet (that’s another really cool story I’ll share another time).
I figured, the best way for me to get better, I needed to do two things. First, I needed to immerse myself in the discipline that I wanted to shoot. I spent more time than I care to count researchign dance online learning the lingo- like what Fouetté is and what to shoot on it, or a Grand Jeté is.
The next thing I needed to do is work on -what- would be interesting to shoot doing the dance. I started looking at things like Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle and just become familiar with the stories. As I watched more and more dance, and watched Jenn do her thing, I learned a lot more about the choreography of things. As the choreography started making more sense, -what- to shoot got clearer. As that cleared up, I was able to get better shots.
So spend some time. Know Thy Enemy.. you’d be surprised as to how much better you’ll do with your images.