Dance group photographer using the stage at the Palace Theatre, Paignton.

Anyone who reads my Theatre blogs may smile at this post. I often speak about the ‘Purple Beam of Doom’ LED light. In this case, I actually wanted it on for a dance group photoshoot. Let’s see how it went…

Signature Rouge is a dance group I have photographed a few times now. Each time they really challenge me and push me past my comfort zone. They needed some new promotional photos for their agent to use for their new show, an Ariana Grande tribute act.

Let’s look at the photos and then discuss how we got to that point.

They needed a stage for the shoot so it looked like a live show. I approached the Palace Theatre in Paignton. They not only allow us the use of the stage but also supplied us with some props, and allowed us to use our smoke machine. I cannot thank them enough for all their help and support. You were all so wonderful!

Signature Rouge knew what lighting they wanted and it was tweaked on the day to really make them pop. Pink was too much, but a purple looked great. So, I actually requested the Purple beam of Doom. Eeeek! This was a real juggling act. I needed it to look like a live show while trying to limit to problems associated with it.

So, when I talk about the ‘Purple Beam of Doom’, let me show you what I’m talking about. This is it in action during a recent dress rehearsal:

The ‘Purple Beam of Doom in action

This light creates ‘blotches’ of purple. If the cast member is directly under this light, it creates blotches of different purples which are impossible to correct in post. In the photo above, you see the blotches of purple on her tights, Tutu, and arms. Had her face been directly under it, that too would have been a sea of different Ribena colours.

Believe it or not, for this photoshoot with Signature Rouge, The only light on stage was that very purple beam of doom. When you looked at the dancers on stage, they looked exactly like the photo above.

So what was different this time?

This time, I brought my own lighting to make sure I could overpower the blotches while leaving the stage bathing in all its purple glory.

I needed to raise the ISO enough to keep the ambient, whilst keeping the flash power strong enough to overpower the blotching, but not so powerful that it overpowered the scene.

I had a 4 light set-up. Two main lights in strip boxes were placed at the front of the stage to light the dancers. Two lights in small reflectors and gells were placed at the back of the stage as rim lights, but to also negate the more harsher colours on their heads and top of their outfits.

My set-up for this photoshoot

Dance Photography Gear Used

This may also be a shock to some. I retired my 85mm and 24mm for this one. The 90mm is just crazy sharp and I knew it would work really well with this shoot.

  • Sony A9
  • Sony 90mm F2.8
  • 2x Godox AD200
  • 2 x Godox V1

Need a dance photographer to photograph your group or band? Please get in touch!

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter