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How the magic is done - Quick steps

Action photography is associated with many challanges. Often you get only one chance on the perfect shot and photographing objects or humans moving in fast speed requires special technichal skills. Guillaume Legraverend will guide us through his photograph "Together". For more in-depth tutorials, please see 1xLearning.

Canon 5D, Canon 70-200mm 2.8L @100mm, 0,3s, f/9, ISO100
Each year, students from the School of dance in our city prepared from 1 January a choreography on a common theme which representation is provided in June. 6 months of training at a rate of once a week to learn the combos and be in rhythm with the music. This year the theme of the Parisian subway was selected. 17 dance groups made up exclusively of girls aged 5 to 50 years show choreography of 3mn in front of an audience of 300 people (family and friends). To be well placed in the room and have a chance to take pictures in the best conditions, it is important to arrive one hour before the opening of the show. So we could be positioned at a central location in the middle of the audience. You must be placed at the same height as the scene.   

To transcribe the best dancing movement I decided to switch to manual mode to precisely adjust the camera. Decreasing ISO and aperture to increase shutter speed and enable IS on lens to absorb vibration. Difficult to get a good composition because the dancers are quick and you must anticipate their movement to fit properly. In manual mode there is a lot of bad picture (underexposed, overexposed, totally blur, subject cropped...) - I took a total of 16 images to have only one correct. You must control on the camera screen the result and it's the best way to find the good settings. You must quiclky switch your settings because lighting is changing very often (sometime to bright, sometime to dark).  When photographing a moving subject, you need to use a higher shutter time. 

I am very happy with this picture because it is a change from the architecture shoots I have published before and even if manual mode is more difficult, it is the best way to create something different and less static than the P-mode or aperture priority I often use!

With Lightroom I have removed some dust, and increased the contrast (+45), clarity (+44), enabled lens correction and cropped the picture to remove blank space around the subject. No work on noise reduction here because we use ISO 100 for sensibility. So not a lot of post processing work (no Photoshop), the main work is done while shooting!

1)    Look carefully the scene and try to be in phase with your subject.

2)    Pay particular attention to lighting, exposure, and in manual mode find the best settings to have subject not to blur but not too static (use camera screen to control)

3)    When shooting, your lens must follow the subject just before shooting and a little time after to be sure to have captured the movement.

I am 36 years old and I am working for a big energy company in France as a software engineer. I practiced photography for 6 years when I bought my Canon 5D. I learned photography reading forums and showing my shoots but the best way to learn photography with artistic vision is to go to the site! I spent a lot of time studying photography posted on this site and it give me idea and encourage me a lot when published!