Hanging on silk

I met Ernestynne via a post in Facebook. She is a performer in an aerial circus using lengths of fabric. She had booked and paid for a session with a local photographer who had then given every excuse under the sun as to why no images were forthcoming. Eventually she managed to get her money back but the experience had not been so good for her. Given the background of the photographer and the usual types of sessions she shot I had my doubts that the true reasons for the none delivery was that she had taken on an assignment beyond both her experience and her gear and that there were no usable photos from it.

To restore her faith in the wider photographic community I offered her a free shoot which was arranged to take place in the factory building the circus uses to train in.

She has told me that the building had skylights but I still anticipated that lighting would be the main issue. When I arrived I discovered that the back wall had been painted black and that she had already cleared away stuff so that we had a reasonable clear background. Overhead was a yellow gantry crane which I knew would show up in shots if I was not careful.

I decided to use a white shoot through as my main light with the gear extended on the boom to sit to camera right and about the same height that Ernestynne would be positioned. A second light was positioned low down and was simply to provide some separation between her and the black floor. I decided that where possible I did not want to shoot up but rather at a level equal with her. This meant that for most of the shot I stood on a small ladder.

Before we starting taking photos for each session I had her show me what the routine looked like. This let me visualise what I may want to shoot but also more importantly gave me an indication of where to position the lights such that they would give me what I wanted but at the same time be in such a position that she would not hit them.

The shoot went very smoothly and the positioning seemed to work out well in that most images will only need a minor touch-ups in Photoshop.

I really liked the post that Ernestynne made on Facebook after I posted a sneak peak image.

Hi there everyone. Some of you may remember that last year I had problems with a photographer that I paid for. In the end I was given a refund but no photos. Today a different photographer, Paul Whitham, was generous enough to do an aerials photo shoot with me. He was punctual, professional and a great guy to work with full of lots of interesting ideas. I highly recommend him to anyone wanting performance shoots

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