Deconstruct This Photo 4.0 – Tell Me What You Think


I learned to light after years of deconstructing the work of other photographers. And I know from your previous feedback that you guys are fond of these posts, so let’s dig into another one.

How did I make this picture?
Is it a lucky snapshot?
Is it lit?
If so, how?
The camera Settings?
The direction?
Post production?
Whatever details you think are needed to make this image.

Looking forward to you trying to pick this apart… I’ll reveal everything in a followup post. The person who gets the closest gets… …a chest bump and a pizza, or signed book or something. Don’t be shy. Let er rip.

334 Responses to Deconstruct This Photo 4.0 – Tell Me What You Think

  1. Lennert Guarraci May 3, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Made live on stage!

  2. tucker joenz May 3, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    My thoughts are you lit her from camera left and camera right. You set the camera to black so the lights would light her up. I’m also thinking you are somehow below her. That she is on her toes. And some work in post with that. Am I close?

    • umm May 4, 2011 at 12:16 am # do you set a camera to black?

  3. Erik May 3, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    hard light from camera right. large Sft box cam left for fill. about a half stop off “main”. f8.0, 1/500, ISO 200. little PP.

  4. Mike Allen May 3, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Two Profoto Strobes to her left and to her right. Look like bigger light sources/soft boxes.

    Fast flash duration, camera settings manual, 250th of a second maybe somewhere around f/11 ?

    she jumps you shoot…strobes freezing the action.

    Nice big space to control light…and Black background.

    • Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      I was guessing f8 or 9 but exactly what I was thinking Also the softboxes are a little low, maybe waist high to the model standing and behind her slightly. Now that I think more about the background though you’re right f11 or 16 to really limit any loose light on the background( which if you light right could be any darkish color and come out black.

  5. Chase May 3, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    The Plexiglass rig seems to be in place here. Cans left and right.

    • Mark Dolby May 5, 2011 at 2:11 am #

      I agree definitely got the plexiglass rig here, just look at the right foot, she’s on point.

      • Silas Otero May 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

        Agreed.. One light from each side, and plexiglass rig…

  6. Blake Knox May 3, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Lit from right and left rear of subject.
    Maybe some level/exposure adjustments in post-production to get the shadows just right.

  7. Andy May 3, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Really enjoy the lighting, it makes her look sculpted.
    It’s also very nice that her body isn’t “disappearing” into the blackness, she is lit from both sides.

  8. Jon May 3, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    2 controlled lights left and right.

  9. Dennis May 3, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Ok, how about from a ladder subject on floor, two lights poss softbox with grids, camera right and camera left rear.

    should be a good start on the topic

  10. Ryan May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    could be waaaaay off.. but ; Key light to camera left but behind the dancer as not to light the front of her arm. fill light to camera right perpendicular to the dancer.f8 or so to retain sharpness throughout as she is stretched so far out. At least 250th if she was actually in the air, but possibly post was done to make it appear that way.

    Oh, and a black backdrop?

    Thats all i got

    Great work as always


    • Stephanie May 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      I would agree with Ryan,
      Large light on camera left higher and at 45 degree to her jump and also about 10h30 behind her and one more softlight on camera right but below her at about 4h30 to create some type of clam lightning as she is doing a Grand Jeté (jumping split) in the air and I am also guessing that the picture was taken from what would have been eye line which gives the feeling of being taken from below her with probably some 24mm

      kudos to the ballerina that is doing one of the nicest Grand Jeté I have seen in picture as well as a very nice “port de bras” and “port de tete”

      just guessing :)


  11. Kerry May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Camera positioned above dancer. Fast shutter speed to kill ambient light. Bare bulb monos positioned low. 1 behind and slightly left of dancer. The other to dancer right. Good dof, perhaps an f8 or f11 exposure.

    This is fun, will be interesting to see results and others feedback.


  12. Lance May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    I vote she’s lit with two giant light sources, that are modified (soft box perhaps). One light is slightly behind her to the left, pointing toward her. The other light is slight behind her to the right, pointing toward her. A top view would put her in the center, with the light sources in the top left and right corners. Each light source is pointing to the opposite corner. This creates the shadow over her face, chest and arms that are viewable from the camera.

    Camera is set to max sync speed to capture her frozen in the air without blur, with aperture set to create a correct exposure with the two light sources…probably something somewhat small as she appears to be in full focus everywhere. The background is irrelevant because the fast shutter speed kills the ambient. Image changed to black/white in post, and any remnants of the room that came through in the image were darkened to black, if needed.

  13. VWells May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    pretty obvious it is bottom lit and shot through glass while she is en pointe, n’est-ce pas?

    • Kris May 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

      You’re absolutely right I think VWells. Everybody… the key clue here is the shape of the dancers foot (toes). Otherwise, it could well have been a jump. The toes though give it away, therefore, if the dancer is holding that position, Chase & crew have more options with regard to exposure and shutter speed. In other words, Chase has again, figured out how to control MORE of the variables! good stuff…

  14. Adam May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    A quick guess.

    Studio shot. 2 lights.

    1 softbox lower right
    1 softbox to the left, slightly to the rear

    Dancer jumping toward camera.

    or it could have been shot from above… maybe

  15. Jeremy O'Donnell May 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    She is doing splits on the ground, you are shooting above her. Both lights are behind her slightly, I agree soft box on the left, and hard light on the right. Post production on the “background.” Maybe a little on the legs to take out the pressed look from being on the ground. Sweet shot.

    • kari May 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      This was my guess also!!!

  16. Angad Singh May 3, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    essentially its cross lighting. You may have used strip lights! Shutter speed must be high to reduce all ambient light as the blacks seem really black.

  17. Cody May 3, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Lights definitely look like they’re lower camera right + left, and a little bit of overhead light on camera left. These could be strobes or something else.

    It’s also possible that this is a posed shot, and you shot it overhead (the subject was doing a split, and you shot her against a black background, to make it seem like she was in the air. I doubt this was the case, though.

    Looks like, from the subject’s right leg, there was a bit of post sharpening?

    Also guessing this was shot at a small aperture (f/8 or f/16 most likely) and possibly shot on a hasselblad or d3/x/s?

  18. Matthew Coughlin May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I see 2 light sources. Both seem to be soft light sources so I would guess a large octa or softbox. I am going with the sandwich method of both lights being on 180 degree axis line with subject. Both lights slightly above subject and angled down just a touch. As far as camera settings, I would guess this was shot at your highest sync speed around 1/200s (although it would not matter if all of your ambient was killed with your aperture because the strobe at that point is stopping the action) and I am going to go with f/8.0 for aperture. I want to say you are low and she is leaping so you are looking up. This is a controlled environment so I would say this was shot on black or she is far enough away from whatever background that no light hit it. As far as post, minimal, just B&W treatment with some curves adjustments for contrast.

  19. Raphael Gibbs May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I would say that you had your subject lit from both left and right with soft lighting and you had your camera in a monochrome setting with high speed continuos shooting. Thus you chose a still from all those shots

  20. erwin May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    2 light sources, what I don’t know. Where: both behind the subject, left side of the picture, from above, right side from below.

    Still a noob at camera settings, but camera settings:
    high aperture

    I want to say it was shot straight on, but physically, her jump wouldn’t look like that, so I feel like it was shot from a higher angle.

    Post work: desaturate? blacks made darker?

  21. Dana May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Harsh/non-diffused light coming from camera right and fairly perpendicular to the subject…..softbox/diffused light slightly feathered from camera left, and over head a bit. I’d say at least 1/250th if not 1/500th shutter speed to stop motion and cut out ambient light, and an aperture of at least F8. Hard to tell if a reflector was used for the front, or if it was slightly lightened in post.

  22. Sebastian May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Looks like 2 large softboxes, one low on the right side and one high on the right.

  23. Robert Jewett May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I can’t tell you how you did it, but I can tell you where I’d start to try for a similar look.

    First, I’d use a minimum of two lights. In this image it looks like you have one CL and one CR. I’d start with them back at 45*, and slowly move them forward until (no more than 90*) I got the nice shadow line down the leg. The edges of the shadows are sharp, so I’d start with basic reflectors and go from there. I’d start at about F11, and 1/200 SEC (max sync speed for me) to freeze movement. But I use AB’s. You could go faster with other brands. ISO 100.

    In post, I’d convert to B&W, crush the blacks, and clean up with a little D&B.

    But that’s just me.

  24. Michael McMullen May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    It could be live, as it looks like she’s being lit from all angles (both sides and a separation light, which would be consistent with stage lighting). And she’s definitely mid air.

    Telephoto, stopped down a bit (also consistent with shooting into stage light if you use a high enough ISO), and a fast-ish shutter speed. It wouldn’t need to be too fast, since if you expose for the lights (which in my theory are constant and not strobes, therefore, no worries about killing ambient light since you are shooting *with* ambient light) then the background will naturally fall to black.

  25. Amit May 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Nah,,. I don’t think so. Two large soft-boxes on either side, quite a distance apart. But then, that would leave no space for the dancer, would it? Knowing Chris’ photos, he would have surely taken this in burst. Post-produced to turn in B&W and increasing the black levels. A bit of cropping. Considering the DoF, it might be f/4 or more. I don’t think there are more than 2 lights here. No hair light is seen. Yep, that’s about it. Scott might have worked more in post than I think, however.

  26. Chris May 3, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Studio strobes with softboxes left and right (with right-hand light slightly behind the subject… say at 1:30 or 2 o’clock). Shot on a stage or in another large space (or otherwise in front of a backdrop that was then cut out in post :-), with dim ambient light relative to the strobes. She actually is in the air, not on her toes, and shutter speed didn’t really matter because the strobes froze her. B&W conversion in post…

    Pretty straightforward!

    (or, at least, that’s how I would have done it… curious if you did differently!)

  27. Phil May 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I would say not a luck snapshot. 2 light setup maybe camera right light with no modifier, camera left light behind subject at a 45 degree also no modifier if so a large softbox with diffusion panel removed. Shot down low or off a stage. Camera setting maybe f/11 @200th sec. Post prod. Red channel with a slight levels adj.??

  28. Petteri May 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Lit with two hard lights. One behind/sideways the dancer on left and the other behind/sideways on right side. Dancer is on the floor. This is shot from above the dancer. The background has been removed and filled with black.
    Camera settings:
    Aperture: F/8
    Shutter: 1/250
    ISO: 200

  29. Thom Gourley May 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Okay, I’ll bite. Ummmmmm, two lights, or perhaps a window light on the left with supplemental light to the right.

    The pose is almost too perfect for a leap, although I can’t rule that out. But I suspect she is holdng the pose standing at the barre or even on the floor, with the background removed in post.

    Am I getting warm? ;-)


  30. Bas May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    *2 light set up
    *not handheld
    *Telephoto lens probably a 200
    *In post converted to Black and White. Increased the contrast a little bit (possibly a little dodging and burning)

  31. David Thorson May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I’d say this was done with 2 lights possibly 36″ strip domes in the position where kicker lights normally might go… to possibly forward to the photographer… black velvet backdrop*, and the photographer shooting upwards with a 35mm lens. Camera settings f11 at 1/200th – ISO 100

    Edits – contrast boost and black levels 15…

    *or model was cut out from a different shot and pasted on the black backdrop :D

    What did I win? :p

  32. Espen Schive May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I think its lit mainly by two lights that are sandwiched slightly from underneath. The right hand light looking at the photo is the strongest my guess is beween one two stops above the other. It is fairly hard lit, but got some really soft shadows happening. So my guess is that there is used some diffusion material. A softobox or just a flash through diffusion of some kind.

    I think the dancer looks as gracious as only dancers can. It is beautifully lit, and my guess that you have had a few takes on this one to get the light as in the face and so on right. Dig it!

    Best Regards Espen

  33. kellyhofer May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    it seems to be rim lit with softboxes on both sides of her, at the 10:00 and 2:00 angles. Flagged so as to not hit the camera with light and cause flare. while it may be a lucky shot, it seems staged, for dancers can repeat moves like this.
    post-processing seems to have softened it, maybe a nice noise removal to soften the image. you also blackened the blacks and lightened the highlights. [increased the contrast]
    obviously you made it black and white.

  34. Scott Bourke May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Plexiglass rig used with 2 lights of equal power both left and right of the subject, and at about 90deg to subject. Camera left light is set high whilst the camera right light is set lower.

    So want a plexiglass rig for my Self Sportrait series I have on my blog.

  35. Nate Watters May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    She’s definitely on plexi – that’s not a jump. Under a tent of some sort – obviously relatively dark to shoot a higher SS to kill ambient. One strobe high, camera left and one camera right, also pretty high, I’d say even with the left strobe, actually – both fired at a higher output, shot at probably something like f/11-ish…That’s my guess.

  36. Joe May 3, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    It looks as if the model could actually be doing the splits sitting on the floor and you shot from above. Then in post production you eliminated the floor to give the illusion she was jumping in the air.

  37. Matt Mills May 3, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Looks like you’ve got two lights on either side, a bit behind the model/dancer on the left and a little more on the right. My guess is softboxes. And for a backdrop, either dark gray or black, and the lighting ratio makes it drop out completely. Have the ballerina hit her mark for the jump and there’s the shot.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong, and you shot this from the pit of a ballet that happened to have excellent lighting; with enough light from the wings during a practice, it’d look basically like what I described above.

  38. Leigh May 3, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    First, I’d have to say that the dancer is standing on a clear glass or plastic table.

    Camera angle is facing upwards, not quite at a 90 degree angle, forward just a little.

    I’d guess 3 lights were used, 2 on her left and on on her lower right, one of the ones on the left is almost in the middle, only slightly to the left.

    I’m guessing that the camera settings were f/11 at 1/200 with a 110mm lens?

  39. bill May 3, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    made on stage or in studio. professional dancer is side lit like a wine bottle
    – large/broad source on camera left (strobe)
    – large/broad source on camera right (strobe)
    – black background, possible flags to minimize light spill from 2 main light sources
    – possible white bounce fill on front
    – posible trampoline for dancer to get height
    – fast shutter speed to freeze motion
    – f 5.6 thru 11/16 for DoF
    – probably handheld to frame dancer in the air
    – post, mild photoshop to control highlights, shadows and clean up framing

    Definitely not a “lucky shot”. This was a a deliberately and well executed planned photo from concept to execution.

    Great job, Chase and team.

  40. Jonathan May 3, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    My guess is that only two huge softboxes were use, on directly to the left of the subject, and the other on the right but a little behind. A fast shutter speed must have been used to get rid of any ambient light on the background, and I assume gobos blocked any stray light from the strobes.
    I can only imagine that a shot like this was carefully planned, and you had a rough area on the floor where the dancer would do her thing and be in the right light, which would require many takes. Depending on how high she can jump, the camera must have been fairly close to the ground, and the larger size of the front shoe compared with the back shoe indicates to me a somewhat wide angle lens was used.
    In post, the blacks level would have been raised to blank out the background, and I’m guessing some contrast was added.

  41. Mark Salmon May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Camera settings:
    iso: 200
    Shutter: 1/160
    Aperture: 9

    First flash low and to the right flagged to prevent light spilling onto her face. This light is for her leg and abdominal area. High power setting 1/2 power?

    Second flash high and to the left to light back leg and right side of the face. perhaps gridded.

    Third flash behind and to the right aimed back towards camera skimming her face and right arm. Flagged to prevent flare. low power setting 1/16 ish.

    Reflector on the left (low) to bounce some light back onto arms and legs

    All flashes are side on to create texture and depth. Subject is some distance from any wall 20 to 30ft minimum.

    Post production is minimal. Monochrome with some dodging and burning.

    Dancer and photographer both worked together and this isn’t a lucky shot…it’s meticulously planned and executed.

    other than that I’m beat!

  42. Ben Walton May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Kinda looks like its made in studio. Black backdrop. Lit from camera left kinda high, and camera right a little lower. I feel like if this were in a studio, it would not come out like this on your first try, so after a few takes of her jumping at you, you timed it just right and bam you got it. Not a lucky snapshot in the sense that you powerdrove it and this was one of the shots in the sequence. Dont think you did that. I’d say it was a lucky snapshot in that you timed it just right and took one photo. You look like you were sitting on the ground, and shooting up at her. You most likely directed her to do this jump once or twice. And if i had to guess, the settings are f/5.6ish, 1/1000. and ISO 200. In Post Production, you might have sharpened her just a tiny bit, or increased the black point in aperture to get a little more dramatic lighting. I dont know. Im guessing. I just want a signed book. Is that too much to ask!?

  43. Jens May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    From above … she´s sitting on the floor.

  44. Michael Lowey May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    OK, first go at something like this….

    Shooting from above with the model doing ‘splits’ on the floor or even glass plate with dark background beneath.

    Lit from below right and slightly behind so not to over light the forward facing details such as the face (close and full power)
    Also lit from side left (much softer than below lighting)

    Spot metered or reading taken from models right eye/side of face to preserve detail and fade other aspects accordingly.

    Post production = high contrast, increased brightness, increased levels of black, tweaking highlights to prevent bright areas from completely burning out.

    and that’s all I can think of! Cheers.

  45. Paul May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Gridded softboxes to left and right and slightly behind dancer.

    Heads have high speed flash duration (pro photo presumably)

    Aperture approx f1, shutter speed irrelevant.

    Simply conversion to B&W with curve to increase black levels

    Lens 50 – 70mm of full frame?

  46. Allen May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    close to synch speed maybe ~1/200
    telephoto lens (guess an 85?)
    strip lights from left and right both slightly behind the dancer
    post production increase contrast
    shot from below, potentially while she is on stage practicing
    music playing

  47. john chung May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Couple of Einstein monolight set to action mode, 40ws, set to both side of the dancer.
    Camera set to 1/250 sync speed, iso 400+, F8+ and 10fps. remote trigger to fire the lights

  48. Butch May 3, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Lighting: Car on the left and a car on the right… Brights on.
    ISO: 800
    Shutter: 1/fast (The car lights are REALLY bright)
    Luck: Preparedness meet opportunity.
    Post: Straight Outta Camera
    Production: Seems like it’s you a camera and the two cars on the left and right with their brights on. All i got. Great shot Chase!


  49. Andy May 3, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Her pose is so relaxed… This has to be shot from underneath glass and she’s balancing on her foot en pointe.

    Above could be two large soft boxes, hatchet light… each at 90 degrees to her.

    Maybe even larger aperture f11-f16 in order to keep everything sharp and in focus

    – Andy

  50. Dan May 3, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Looks like 2 lights (one left and one right). The one on the right looks lower back a little and slightly tilted up. The one on the left is tougher to tell….either higher, and more forward than the one on the right and is perhaps even high enough to need to be tilted down a bit. Or it might be lower pointed up (based on the shadows in her outfit by her waist).

    Relatively fast shutter to help black out background, aperture/flash combo set to properly expose the subject. Depending on how close the background is to the subject might even have used a flag/grid or something to make sure light from the strobes didn’t light the background?

    In post I’d say the contrast and/or black levels were bumped up.

    I dig it. :)

  51. Patrick May 3, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    My thoughts are considering there are shadows directly in the center of her body, there are 2 light sources. There is a light source at the bottom right anticipating her jump (maybe a speedlight or a large soft box) and a speed light high above her to the left for fill (maybe with a diffuser)

    With her jumping and being in focus, you’re going to need a fast shutter speed and a relatively small aperture.The first and obvious reason is that fast sync helps stop motion. You need to shoot at 1/500 or faster to stop action. I agree with Erik, F8-F13 maybe!

    Then use of PP to convert to black and white! I can’t wait to see the answer!

  52. Jimmie Butler May 3, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    This is a fantastic photo!!! I’m just going to type what I am thinking.

    Judging from the linear shadow on the right leg, this photo has to have been lit from both sides. The background remains an inky black, so that would mean that the bare strobes were positioned in front of some gobo’s to prevent light spill and no reflectors. This is strictly a two light setup. This photo being an action shot of the ballerina jumping towards the camera had to have been rehearsed/shot numerous times to get the timing right. As for the camera settings, I’m going to go with an F8.0 to F11 at 250th. Post production, if it were me I like things simple, just desaturate the photo and work with the contrast/tones/curves to keep the skin tones.

  53. Paul May 3, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Sorry that’s f11 not f1 obviously!

  54. ryan skinner May 3, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Strobes on camera right and left with no diffusion to give that hard light. I think you captured the ballerina during a jump so your shutter speed is fast as there is no blur in the image. High speed sync? Even though she is jumping you are still low or on the ground. Contrast was pushed in post… how did I do?

  55. G$ May 3, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    She’s posing on a black seamless and you’re above at an angle. The settings are probably around f-11 @ 160 since she’s sharp throughout. I would have used gridded strip banks or gridded medium box. You then turned her b & w, cranked the contrast and enhanced the catch lights in her eyes to give them depth.
    You’re welcome.

  56. G Allard May 3, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    In your studio. 2 Profoto heads: 1 w/lrg softbox camera left, 1 w/bare reflector camera right. ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 200th. 24-70mm lens somewhere around the 50mm mark?

    • G Allard May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      Oh and, full action, mid leap.

  57. Scott Nelson May 3, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Body is slightly foreshortened, no exaggeration in length of extended leg, so longer focal length (possibly 200+). That would place photographer above subject. F16 at 100 shutter. Subject is either lying on black floor or held by partner removed in post.

    OR… POV has been rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise. She is lying on floor, lit from underneath AND above.

    Did I forget to say, truly beautiful shot?

  58. Tank May 3, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    My guess… 2 light system… sandwiching the model. Not directly but from slightly behind and below the model. The light sources are either large and close or smaller and far away. If the latter, I’d say possibly bare bulb with large reflectors… better yet. Maybe a couple of strip boxes gridded could do the trick instead. Shooting would be a high F-stop & shutterspeed… like F/13 1/160 or 1/250 sec… something to have the background as dark as possible. Post processing would be a b&w conversion… some clean up on the background to give it proper falloff… and a little burning and dodging at most. ISO would be low… about 200.

    Unless you used hot lights… then you could just gel a couple of lights and diffuse them slightly. ISO would have to come up to get the right balance of F-stop/shutter speed.

    I wouldn’t say this is a shot that one just lucks into… but then again, I think we make our own luck.

    • Tim Colston May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      That is exactly what I thought though my articulation isn’t so wordy.

  59. Nitin Pant May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    It’s a two light sandwich, large softboxes.
    Camera D3x, 1/250, F8, ISO 100
    Aperture only, bumped up some blacks and exposure.
    Local contrast adjustments.

  60. Travis Tank May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I am going to go with two strip lights one on camera left probably more behind the subject and one on camera right more to the side of the subject. I am also guessing she is jumping on a trampoline or something like that. Could have been done with cables of some sort to lift her up and be edited out later. If this isn’t right I am going to guess David Blaine.

  61. mark rodriguez May 3, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    i just watched black swan last night, so my guess is you just imagined the whole thing

  62. Jason May 3, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Pretty much all been said but not sure if the liht source is as soft as people say. don’t see much gradient in the light, harsh shadows.
    Maybe a beautydish to the left of her slightly from above. Possibly a larger softer source to the right a little lower.
    250th, f8/11ish. Slightly higher power to the right.
    Probably just some levels, maybe a slight curves adj to increase contrast. Maybe a touch of sharpening.
    As far as posed. Could be anything, splits on the ground, actual jump, many possibilities.

    Very nice shot regardless of how it was captured though.

  63. Aaron Guthrie May 3, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    The only one thing that I can say for definite is;

    This was taken underneath your glass shelf thing (i forget it’s name). Oh! It’s that plexiglass thing! Ground Control! It’s because if you look closely at the right foot, there’s weight leaning on it.

    No, this is not a lucky snapsnot, this is a highly posed shot.
    The pose was coordinated by her lowering her body downwards, towards her feet, but slightly raising her upper torso and head, considering that the camera is below this gives the illusion that she’s mid air.

  64. Dawn May 3, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    One light and shes jumping over it, fast shutter to capture without blur, post process adjust the contrast and brightness to make the shadows darker.

  65. Tim Colston May 3, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    I say it is lit with two kicker lights the lights’ pretty hard. Gridded heads to keep the light off of everything but the subject. Shot at 1/125 @ f/11 if not more. Flash duration does a nice job of freezing. Black and white conversion in post. Daddy like.

  66. Corey Thompson May 3, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Two strobes, one key light at camera left about 180 degrees from camera, fill light about 200 degrees to right of camera.

    Shutter speed at around 1/500 with strobes on high speed sync. The dancers move a lot, 1/250 would probably be too slow. Aperture around f/5.6 to let more light in from strokes.

    Looks like the dancer was traced in PhotoShop and placed on a black background. It also looks like the dancer might have been standing on her toe in this shot considering her right leg is completely locked. I suspect the position of the dancer was rotated slightly to give the appearance that she’s in mid air.

  67. Holy Torres May 3, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    I count at least 2 lights. Based on the diffusing, I would say that soft boxes were used. The light to the left of the subject looks like it was positioned at about 8 or 9 o’clock covering the length of her body. The catch light in her eyes is a nice giveaway. The light on the right side looks like it was at about 2 o’clock as it gives a nice rim-like glow on her left arm.

    Perhaps the subject was on a dark stage or you used a black backdrop. I don’t see any motion blur or bokeh, so I would suspect that you shot in manual with a deep DOF (my guess is 20.0+ f-stop), and perhaps 1/1000+ sec?

    As for post production, I think you only made minimal modifications. One thing that I often do when shooting on a black backdrop is to clean up any spilled light on the floor or the rear wall to make a solid black around the subject.

    Such an interesting photograph! My eyes go straight to her neckline, then straight up her face and eyes, immediately darting across her right arm, then swooping down her legs to her right foot and finally back up her left side up to her left hand to come full circle.

  68. Jojo May 3, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    It looks like its made during a performance. Sidelighting is very common in dance productions. Camera setting is possibly at f2.8 with a telephoto lens. A 70-200mm? I’m thinking 1/200 – 1/320 at ISO 800-1600?

    Your shot is one part luck and one part great timing.

    With your active art participation in your local art scene it is very possible that you could be invited by a local dance company.

  69. Nuno Fernandes May 3, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    two strobes on left and two strobes on right of model
    iso 100, 125th of a second maybe somewhere around f/8 f/10.
    the dancer is on a unbreakable glass doing the pose.
    You shoot under the glass.
    This photo as photoshop post production:
    Shoot in color and then black and white adjustment
    Adjustment of black areas with curves and brush

    Ps: sorry about my english :)

  70. Jana May 3, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I think that she is on the floor in a split. Light from the cam left, slightly yo yhe back, and one from the front cam right right and pointed more downward as not to light her chest. Photo is taken from the front in a downward angle…

  71. Allen May 3, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    More important than particular settings is what we know:

    background is black and she is moving: shutter speed must be fast
    light comes from two directions: two lights
    the exposure on both feet is roughly the same: so these lights must be tall
    light doesn’t wrap around: lights must be narrow (hence strip lights)
    light falls off fairly smooth across her forehead and legs: lights are soft (large)
    both feet and her face are in focus: we have at least medium depth of field
    We’re seeing under her chin and the bottom of her toe: shot from below
    someone shot dancing from below would imply a stage
    face is compressed and not blown up: telephoto

    • Allen May 3, 2011 at 10:12 am #

      her face and chest are dark: both lights are slightly behind her
      very high contrast without being blown out: increase contrast in post

  72. Jaco Crafford May 3, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    This is beautiful!
    I’m guessing in studio, shot through plexiglass through wide-angle lens.

    Hassleblad H4D-31, HCD 4/28 lens, manual focus
    ISO 100
    Shutter 1/200th
    1 x strobe in line to the left of subject (subject’s right), through 28inch softbox, about 6ft away, 6ft high
    1 x strobe in line to the right and below (subject’s left), through grid, about 3ft away, close to the floor

    something like that, or maybe not even close :-)

  73. Robert Ruotolo May 3, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    First this an AWESOME idea to help people learn – So Thx, from me at least.

    How did I make this picture? I’ll take a stab @ the Camera platform being a D3s with a Prime 85 or 105

    Is it a lucky snapshot? I doubt it. With your teams skill, I would be surprised to find out it was. ( but in photography Lucky Snapshots come from skills developed over time that increase your luck IMO. If it was, I bet it was after a series of shoots being made to close to the end of your shooting day.

    Is it lit? Think so.

    If so, how? Two Strobes with Soft boxes of different sizes

    The camera Settings? Shutter Pri./ Manual High shutter speed between 500 & 1000/sec , Mid level iso ( 1600’ish )

    The direction? Large Soft box to the rear on dancers right( direct to SUB )
    Medium Soft box w/ GRID low and to the left ( feathered )

    Post production? Possible BW conversion from color & besides that I would not expect anything more than a levels adjustment for the blacks in the background.

    My website is not fully up ( ) So am sending my Facebook site address :



  74. Woodnocks May 3, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Two SB900 or SB800 speedlights (maybe used diffused umbrellas), Power range at 1/4 to 1/8 (On Manual). Camera Nikon D7000 AFS, WB Shade, Spot Metering, Center Focusing Point, ISO 100-200, Shutterspeed 1/200, Manual setting, Image Quality Fine+Large+Raw, In-Camera B&W (Tweaked, maybe added red filter) 50mm 1.8, Black muslin backdrop, Small Stepladder may have been used…. + the dancer

    Direction: Speedlights sandwiched between dancer. Dancer Jumps, Shutter Snaps…. CAKE!

    Post Processing: Crop, Sharpen, Burn.


  75. Dennis Pike May 3, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    You have one light coming from the lower right,and behind. harder source, if it’s in a softbox it’s a small one, or far away, or both. you also have a light coming from the slightly upper right and behind, but not as far back as the other light. also slightly hard, but not bare.

    You shot at a relatively deep DoP, because everything is in focus, I’m going to say f/11. Probably shot relatively wide, because I don’t notice much compression. probably a 35mm lens on a D3S. Not much post work done here, some sharpening and a b& white conversion.

  76. Mike May 3, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Lucky snapshot – you’re in the audience for the performance and sitting in row 3 or 4, just at or below stage level.

    Lit by existing stage lights. I’m going to go with 1/100th and 70mm, low ISO and F11 to kill ambient light. – But there’s some softness around the face and fingers that could mean this was shot with your iPhone.

    Very little post – crank up the contrast and saturation.

  77. Dario Branco May 3, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    The dancer is lit by 2 lights, one on each side. Probably behind her about 45º. Because the shadows are so dark they had to be small light sources and to capture the movement without any blur you had to used a fast light duration.

    You had her made several jumps (all about repetition) and you began by photograph her in a wider framing that the final result and than croped it.I don’t know if the position of the arms is intentional but her head is right in the middle of it each makes me look right at her face. ALso she is positioned in the right-third.

    You probably and a close aperture, about 8 or 11 so that she could be all in focus and a faster shutter speed, about 1/200 to freeze the action.

    Than in post you must have increased the contrast for a even more dramatic look.

  78. Ryan O'Connor May 3, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    ah, I love deconstructing lighting, I always have my friends do this. From what I gather, you [obviously] had two strobes set up, the one to your right being a bit heavier and set farther back than the one on your left, which is probably a bit farther back than straight-to-the-side. The lights are pretty close from what I gather, since her right arm shows lots of back-lighting whilst her left leg and midsection show the source being a bit more forward. Because of this, I believe she performed back and forth between the presumably tall/thin softboxes you had set up.

    It was a fast shutter speed with relatively high power on the strobes to compensate. Could be snooted to prevent extra light leak, but I know the settings will already isolate the subject from the background, so you honestly could have shot this against anything. I’d just wager on a stage with the big curtains that are usually there.

    Angle, probably standing on the floor in front of the stage (if that was the setup), putting the ground plane at about elbow-height to you, so you’re looking mostly up, probably level somewhere between her right knee and ankle.

    not sure whate else to comment on, other than if there was some light hitting the background I know you and the team are MORE than capable of just painting that out, heh.

    as a side note, do more live photoshoots so I can sit there and daydream about actually doing this for a living some more!

  79. Chris May 3, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Seems lots who are probably more knowledgeable than I have already commented. I guess I may as well say what I think anyway.

    There is a light camera right, firing upwards to light the right edges and the underneath
    There is a light camera left, firing to the entire side of the dancer, looks like it’s coming from just behind her since it’s not lighting the front of her arm.
    I’m going with flash rather than ambient since that would let you get everything else black reasonably easily.

    I recall you saying your sync speed with the D3 was something like 1/250, so probably there, with the aperture probably around f11 or f16 since it looks like you’ve got massive DOF.

    Compression looks nice so maybe around 70-105mm somewhere?

    No it’s not a lucky snapshot, the lighting looks carefully planned, direction? I’d guess after watching a few things you asked her to repeat this a few times… as for post, probably not too much, maybe black point, slight contrast? and the obvious B&W conversion.

  80. David Killingback May 3, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    ISO 200
    2 medium rectangular or square softboxes (or large, depending on distance from subject) left and right and far enough behind her to cause the shadow on the back of her left leg. The light to camera right has about .7 of a stop more juice (or is closer) than the light to camera left and the light on the right is also further behind her than the light to camera left. Mono conversion in Apple Aperture with adjustments to recovery, black point, brightness, contrast, saturation, highlights and mid contrast. Some burning in on the background to kill reflection from the perspex rig. ;-)

  81. shane savage May 3, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Well I guessing there was a camera, some lights and a ballerina, no ballerina for sure. My serious guess is the lighting, probably soft/octabox on her right is coming from about a 45 degree angle from her rear, and another light on her left at about the same angle, this would create the nice shadows that appear on the front of her. Additionally I guess she might be on a stage and you are shooting up at her from the front row area of the facility.

  82. Jesus Hidalgo May 3, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Ok, here is my guess.I’m thinking:

    -Is it a lucky snapshot?
    Definitely not, this a well posed ballerina on a well thought out pose.

    -Is it lit?
    Definitely Yes.

    If so, how?
    -I don’t think that you are using softboxes due to the hard edges of the shadows. So, I think that you are using the strobes with grids.

    -The camera Settings?
    100 ISO, around 1/200th @f/8

    -The direction?
    Strobes situated low on the floor; possibly two on each side, since the legs are uniformly lit across.

    -Post production?
    Yes, threw the shadows to black and adjust curves. Desaturated color.

    -Whatever details you think are needed to make this image.
    My guess is that this ballerina, and the reason I say ballerina is because, not just any model can do splits like that and point her toes like that, she’s in the middle of the floor so you could arrange your lights in front and behind her.

    Well, that was my guess. I tried.

  83. David Killingback May 3, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Oh, and a 50mm f/1.8.

  84. Shang May 3, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    light source to the left rear and parallel to her right. notice her right arm is mostly dark which means light source cannot come from parallel to her left. shutter speed has to be at least 1/500 sec, if not more. recall you said in one of your videos that there is a way to boost sync speed to 1/1000 sec with broncolor rig. Anyhow, 1/250 would be way too slow to freeze this action. can’t tell if the photo is cropped. uncropped, f/10, cropped, could be f/8. very cool photo.

  85. Joel May 3, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Well, first off, this isn’t just a lucky snapshot. Like some others, I think she is on your custom plexiglass rig that you’ve shown in older vids. Dancer roughly 4′ off the ground. Shot upward onto either a light blocking flag or possibly just night sky. I call the plexi because of the tip of her pointe shoe is black where other light is wrapping quite a bit. The lighting looks like strobe from either side of the model, possibly a gridded strip bank, elevated to the height of the model (the underside of her arm is not lit, so it has to be at least a tiny bit above her), and also feathered toward her back (because of the tiny shadow line that runs down her front leg, less pronouced in the back leg). Strobes maybe 8-10′ away on either side.
    Settings should be something like f/11 (for good depth of field) 1/250 (sync speed and drops the ambient) ISO 200 (Nikon native). Model direction would have had her drop her pose to look at the camera, rather than most dancers that would have their face up and toward the audience. Post would have been minimal to clean up the background and make it 100% black. Also clean up any sensor dust that might start showing it’s face.
    Sorry if I wrote a book. Cheers, Joel

  86. Andy May 3, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    I’m terrible with words, so I made a diagram:

  87. Bernie Greene Photography May 3, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Is it a snapshot? Yeah right.

    Is it lit? I’ll say. There is a fairly hard and directional light to both right and left and both slightly behind the model. You probably had a black background but not necassarily as it would go to black anyhow if you kept the lights off it and had the lights’ output fairly high to completely nuke the ambient.

    Camera settings? I’d say you were stopped down to at least f/11 to give some sharpness safety and at your highest sync speed to overcome the ambient. You were also prefocused on the spot the dancer would be in at the time of firing.

    You told the dancer what move you were looking for and where you wanted her to be at that moment on the set.

    I don’t think there is anything done in post apart from maybe removing any lighter colours in the background black. Maybe levels or curves to increase the contrast.

    To me the contrast is a bit severe but that may just be my monitor. The highlights are blown out and the blacks of her shadows are as deep as the background.

  88. brian palmer May 3, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Not a lucky snap shot… instudio or on location.
    At least 4 lights,
    light 1 – high (1 foot above subject @ peak lift) camera left.
    Light 2 – Camera left a foot back from light 1, lower in height aimed up at where the dancer is going to be at the peak of her échappé sauté(?).
    Light 3 – Camera right, about 6 inches back from light 2 and just a little above dancers peak hieght 3-6 inches) and aimed down slightly to feather.

    Light 4 would be at the dancers back slightly back from position of light 1 and aimed up, slightly (1/2 foot) lower than peak jump height.

    Lights on the right are at a stronger setting than ones on the left, maybe 1 stop or 1/2 a stop.

    Camera settings, since the body, hands feet and face are in focus I would say the apeture would have to be closed down around F8.0 or F11, Shutter speed would have to be around 1/200 – 1/250 ish? maybe higher flash syncing camera so up to 1/500? – Also this would render the background black (as she is away from the background). A slight camera tilt to the left.

    Direction – Have the dancer do her jump a few times to see where she ends up height wise as well as position. Once figuring out there she should start the jump to be in the proper position the ground is marked and she follows the same path to jump on the retries. Normally these jump peak with both hands in the air, so …maybe she was directed to try different arm postions to add to the composition and negative space on the camera left side.

    Post production –
    converted to black and while and ise a little bit of tone to the image , I see a slight hint of purple…but I am at work so that could just be the crappy monitor. :) solidified the blacks by adding contrast.

    Great practice, I cannot wait to see what the actual setup looked like.

  89. Adam Coss May 3, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Why not? Seems like rim light setup with the left light being softer… I would say a small softbox or other diffusser.. Right light I think is just a reflector… Um… i guess a little post to ensure the background is black, fill the shadows of the dancer in lightroom?

    camera settings I think iso 400 1/160 f11? shooting at 85mm?

    Maybe i’m wrong

  90. Freddy Oropeza May 3, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    I love these!!
    2 light sources, the first I would say is a fairly big source that’s some distance away, left of frame, high above her pointing down towards the dancer, the second is a smaller light source or perhaps a bit closer, right of frame at the same hight as she is.
    I would think you’re using a fairly fast shutter speed to freeze motion, which also helps to drop the background to black, guessing 300/s at f/8, and the shutter was deliberately, and carefully timed to get this snapshot
    As for post production, I’ll go with less is more this time, and just do an adjustment layer for brightness and contrast.

  91. Alex Musat May 3, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    low ambient light, 2 sf on each side of the subject, and post production

  92. Mickie May 3, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    I would guess 2 strobes, one left of modell 45 degress from behind, and one right of modell 45 degress from behind,. Shot from under a plexiglass rig,.

  93. Andres May 3, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    One light camera left with modifier and one light camera right bare bulb. There is enough sharpness in the subject so I might say f16 or f11 (powerful lights by the way) which helps to darken the background as well. I will say 250th shutter speed if not higher. Camera is positioned below pointing up to give the perception of a high jump. If there was any processing then it was more of an “S” shaped curve to get a bit more contrast.

  94. Shannon May 3, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Stage lighting, spot lights on the left and right angled, little bit of luck on how the light fell on her body. No post production… that’s my guess and I am stinking to it…haha. If only it could be that easy.

  95. Relz Life May 3, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    2 lights, both with modifiers. Back light is a stop stronger than the key light or half the distance closer (inverse square law). Both lights are to the side, causing the shadow in the middle of her, Shot at 1/250s at f/10 maybe.
    Post production, softened and boosted the contrast, and converted to black and white.

  96. Woodnocks May 3, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Two SB900 or SB800 speedlights (maybe used diffused umbrellas), Power range at 1/4 to 1/8 (On Manual). Camera Nikon D7000 AFS, WB Shade, Spot Metering, Center Focusing Point, ISO 100-200, Shutterspeed 1/200, Manual setting, Image Quality Fine+Large+Raw, In-Camera B&W (Tweaked, maybe added red filter) 50mm f8 (not 1.8 as before), Black muslin backdrop, Small Stepladder may have been used…. + the dancer

    Direction: Speedlights sandwiched between dancer. Dancer Jumps, Shutter Snaps…. CAKE!

    Post Processing: Crop, Sharpen, Burn.


  97. TravisMinded May 3, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    You made this picture in a studio, or any other place that have little ambient light.

    this is no lucky shoot, you planned it.

    you lit the subject with Two powerfull 90cm Softboxes, place slightly behind her, like the rear L+R surround speaker position diagram to get the soft kicker light shaping. with a black background or black background.

    whoah the camera setting is the hard one, I don’t know what equipment you use, but it should be ASA 200 (might be lower), max sync speed (1/200th or 1/250th). f/16.

    You shoot this on a tele lens 70mm – 200mm at a little lower left from the subject.

    There should not be alot of post production, since you shoot this in a controlled enviroment. you just convert your raw file to BW in lightroom (maybe) and set some level or curve, add some black, contrast, clarity.

    i don’t know you are a photoshopper geeks or not, you might fill the background to total darkness.

    that’s how I gonna make a picture above, btw why reversing others ppl works? why not make it your own way. as long you got the picture in your head you develop in the process.

  98. Peter Falkner May 3, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Hmmm nice image,

    Jump, pop. High contrast, left and right side lights, slightly behind the plane of the dancer shooting a little forward. Maybe a little harder on the camera right light. Lots of watt seconds/high f stop to allow blackout background. Post might just be tweaking contrast.

  99. Stefan Barbu May 3, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    You lit her from her left back, as her right arm is in shade while the left arm is highlighted. You also lit her from the right, as we can see mid section shade along her right leg. I think you must have been above her and to the right of her, as you snapped her in mid jump.
    f11-f16 for large DOF. you could have planed this view and ask for this position, or you could have done a continuos shoot and picket the right one.
    Fast shutter speed 1/500th prob.
    Low ISO.
    Maybe some post to get some detail back from the shadow and of course to get it BW and take care of the black background.

  100. Giorgio Vee May 3, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Looks definitely iPhone 4ish..

  101. Steven Hopkins May 3, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I’m guessing this was shot on a cyc wall, it could even be a white one. Gridded beauty dish camera left to get somewhere between super hard light and soft light and gridded to avoid any spill on the backdrop. Gridded strobe camera right about a stop hotter. I’m guessing the composition come from a crop in post and the original was shot in landscape mode to allow the dancer more room to move and less of a spot to hit. This gives some leeway to the dancer and the director. Perhaps this is why the strobe on the right is a little brighter than the left one as well; as the dancer moved around she came closer to the right strobe for this particular shot.

    Camera is probably f/16 at 1/250th to kill the ambient completely. Desaturated in post, and then many many curves layers to emphasize or deemphasize certain parts of the picture. For example, the right side of the dancers right leg and the right side of her left hand are perfectly exposed, but the image is clipped (at least on my monitor) in the hair and in the toe of the right foot. The leg and arm are what give the photo motion and make it of the dancer. Her face is left extremely contrasty and hair and chest are deemphasized because this isn’t a picture of this person, but a picture of motion and dancing.

  102. Rui Cruz May 3, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Shot has compression, so I’m thinking you’re shooting with a 70-200mm.

    This, added to the fact that it has a huge depth of field, means in turn that you are using a quite high F-stop, like F16 at least. Which would also explain the absence of ambient light in the shot.

    To freeze the motion, you don’t really need high shutter speed because you have the strobes to do that. So, it could easily be 200th.

    There’s no clue as to whether this is a stage or a studio, but I’m going with stage, because a jump like this means some sort of space to run.

    I don’t think this is a live performance, because no dancer I know would – in his right mind – be flashed right between the eyes during a live performance.

    This can in turn mean that softboxes, or other form of huge light modifiers could’ve been used, no problem. However, this light could also be: one natural indirect light (probably camera right) and a single strobe with a softbox to the left.


    – D3 – 70-200 – F16@250th
    – One strobe, camera left, softbox; mixed with indirect light, camera right.
    – rehearsal, or non-production performance
    – stage, or big studio
    – Preproduction to increase the contrast and turn the photo black and white.

  103. Tom Varden May 3, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Looks specular to me. Dish on upper left (Rembrandt style) slightly in front as key , bare bulb/reflector on right slightly below and behind for separation. Fast flash duration and a keen eye for composition and timing.

    Love these. Keep em comin.

  104. Chris Gibson May 3, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Lit from the side both left and right, soft boxes or umbrellas used?

    Is it a lucky snapshot, no way!

    Camera settings somewhere between 1/160-1/500 and maybe f8-f11

    Post production, amazing black and white conversion.

    Dark black background or the background was done in PP

  105. Mark M May 3, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    You are one tricky bastard, but I figured it out. Prepare the pizza.

    1. Transport subject to planet with two suns, almost no gravity, and little atmosphere.
    2. Wait until suns are almost at opposition.
    3. Have subject jump and hold pose in the air.
    4. Shoot against the sky.
    5. The sky will record black because of the lack of atmosphere and the subject will float in low gravity.

  106. Anghor May 3, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Well… plexi table, shot from bottom – she is standing on her toes. Two lights from both sides. Don’t even try to tell what lights ;-)

  107. Bart May 3, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Not very advanced in photography but I will make a guess…

    Black background, flash left of the woman and another on from the right and from the back on the leg and back of the dancer. All the flashes come from underneath her. Or at least from a lower standpoint.

    Is it a lucky?

    Is it lit?

    If So, how?
    As I stated before in How.

    The Camera Settings
    Focal lenght: Could be almost anything. Guessing you used a 50mm or 35mm. Hard to tell, could also been a 85mm or a 70-200 but the quality is so top-notch I think U used a prime.

    If you mean the camera, I think it has been shot from eye-hight. Nothing funky, just normal. Maybe you used a tripod because it looks really really sharp.

    Post Production
    Convert to BW contrast slightly up. Maybe cutting out visible back ground, dust particles and stuff like that. It’s clean as a whistle. Also a crop for the placement.

    As for the picture: It’s great! Great composition, love the face expression, so relaxed. The muscles on her arm are a great detail.

  108. hariharan s May 3, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Light 1: 45* behind the subject onto the left
    Light 2: 90* straight to the subject on the right
    Both strobes evenly lit
    Image is cropped
    Camera Settings: F 5.6 to F11 | ISO 200 | WB DayLight / Flash | Shutter 160 – 200
    Direction: Straight to the subject
    Other Details:
    May be possible there was no need of worrying about the background itself since there are only two lights pointing at the subject
    Photoshop used to bring some highlights and contrasts and B&W conversion made using some plugins (NIK)

  109. Glenn Goettler May 3, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    probably stripboxes either side, likely w/ diffusion removed. grids in place? or a couple stacked hard lights. the key is not the camera settings, but the strobe settings. camera is likely at max sync speed and f8-11, but the strobes are dialed into a setting that fires them at around 1/2000 sec. it’s the light that stops the motion, not the camera. and so you have enough lights to keep the power at an appropriate setting for this flash duration.

    dancer repeats jump until you have the frame that works for both you (aesthetically) and her (technically). my guess is you guys did this specific jump 10-12 times with slight variation, and this is frame 4 or 5 in the series. you are prefocused on a floor mark that she is using. this is just beyond the peak of the jump, on the way down.

    what do i think? very beautiful capture. she’s obvioulsy a professional; her lines, musculature and relaxed face make that clear. i would like to see a bit of increased separation between her right-side torso and rear leg. at least on my monitor, i’m losing the edge line of her back in that beautiful bend. all-in-all, excellent. i’m also very biased as a ballet photographer myself. thanks for sharing!

  110. Blake Knox May 3, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Lit from right and left rear of subject.
    Subject is on plexiglass.
    Maybe some level/exposure adjustments in post-production to get the shadows just right.

  111. Doug van Kampen May 3, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    1. I’m going to bet that you made this on set or perhaps during a warmup session for a shoot.
    2. Not likely a lucky snapshot; you don’t typically work that way. :)
    3. Two large strip lights on light stands, vertically, about 30 degrees behind subject at 6-8 feet, to provide falloff and depth; 1/8th power
    4. ISO 200 to preserve soft details of female figure, 1/250th to 1/500th at f/8 to cancel out the background and maintain just enough DOF for tight focus front to back of subject.

    Nothing complicated in post, shot in RAW and then converted in Capture NX. You kept it simple….

    That. Was. Fun. ;)

  112. Blkpxls May 3, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    This was shot in theatre or performance house.
    She is wearing point shoes so they have that flat toe area but the is no tension on the ankles so she’s jumping. I think that’s all light from the stage lights since theres a hard light fall off from the stage… I Think chase would Have her face lit better if he was in the studio…chase is stage left or right so the spot lights are hitting one side strong and getting a little top light only on the left side… Common spacing for stage lights…and it’s a photoshop Cutout… Thanks chase for sharing

  113. Wrensch Lombard May 3, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Here goes:
    1) Dancer not in air, standing on pointed toes on your plexiglass rig. leaning forward
    2) Camera below and a bit to the front and left of the dancers toe.
    3) Hassleblad, f11, 1/800, ISO 100, 50mm lens
    4) Lighting, 2 large light sources gridded to contain spill and enhance contrast. 1 light camera left above the dancers’ shoulder height and a bit behind her. 2nd light, camera right at below shoulder height of dancer and also a little behind her. some dark backdrop above and behind her. black foam core above camera with hole in to kill reflection of photographer.
    5)post: black clipping to produce the pure blacks. clone tools and brush adjustments to cover up hot spots.

    hope im right!hehe

  114. Royce Walston May 3, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Camera Settings:
    ISO 100
    Focal Length 135mm
    Ballet dancer is performing a jump towards the camera with black background. Two lights used placed at camera left and right. No modifiers other than to flag them off the background and lens. Light at camera left is 3-4 feet off the ground and positioned about 6-8 feet from the dancer, aligned even with her position. The light at camera right is positioned 1-2 feet off the ground and about 3-4 feet from the model metered with 1/2 stop more intensity. It is positioned slightly behind the dancer’s position.

    Thanks for the challenge, and the answer should prove interesting.

  115. Henry May 3, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    The tension in her leg (the one on point) is making me think you shot this on plexi (aka Ground Control), two strobes 1 left, 1 right, rectangular softboxes with grids to narrow the light, shot from below, prob 50mm at f11, prob iso 200

  116. Rodrigo Valle May 3, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    - Plexi rig in use, shot from below the dancer.
    – main light camera left, medium softbox a bit far, creating harder shadow edges.
    – rim light camera right, slightly behind model, maybe 1 stop below main light.
    – model is stationary (en pointe), no need for very fast flash, so the lights can be pretty powerful.
    – D3(s/x) set to ISO200, F/16, maybe a 35mm lens (little wide distortion).
    – you needed to position the model at an exact spot, to light very careful her left eyelid and cheek, so this took a few shots to get her into position.
    – very little PP, just darken blacks and manage the highlight blow point, and slight crop. And convert to B&W, obviously.

  117. Mike Kelly May 3, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    2 lights, both behind the dancer. 1 high small softbox camera left, the other low and hard camera right. white floor for bounce. Dancer on stage leaping, 200mm @ f8 for sharpness throughout. Chase is down in the pit in front of the stage shooting up to get some extra perceived leap height (prolly not much extra needed cuz the girl is ripped and can likely jump plenty high)

    Post is a slight contrast boost, and black and white conversion.

  118. Marcus May 3, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Ok, giving it a try because my wife gave me a possible tip. ;-)

    Dancer sitting on a dark floor, camera set to 1/250th (flash sync speed) to kill off ambient light, f/8. Two flashes, possible upper left and lower right. Contrast increased in post. This is roughly what I am guessing. ;-)

  119. Amadeusz Leonardo May 3, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Two cases:
    a) shot live on stage in theatre – so it is a lucky snapshop, lighted by scenic lights probably different colours (I assume blue and red/orange), one on her back/right, another one on her front/left; high iso 1/250, f/8; post-production – b&w, blacks clipping, orange and blue filter (depending on light colour), medium-S contrast curve, noise reduction, some sharpening
    b) studio-like shot – not a lucky snapshop, lights opposite to themselves (slighty left and slighty right), probably through softbox or huge umbrella, native iso 1/1000, f/8; post-production – b&w, blacks clipping and some shadows filling, medium-S contrast curve, sharpening

    However I think it would an a) case :) Done something similar, but flamenco –

  120. Lennart Fritze May 3, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    a closed aperture, a short shuttertime,
    ISO is fitted to the luminous intensity
    a hard sidelight (probably a standard reflector)
    and probably a huge softbox from the right
    and the shortest flash synchron time as possible
    she jumped in the air while taking the picture

  121. Robert the Bruce May 3, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Definitely been post processed, triangular artifacts outline her entire body. All of the black is 100%, so it’s been background filled to remove *something* or at least make it more consistent for prints.

    2 lights, one left and one right, staggered slightly and maybe grid spotted to focus it, but more likely just a well timed shot on a diffused strobe. I feel as if the left side of her face was post-processed in a way to enhance the Rembrandt affect, but if not it’s once again incredibly well timed.

  122. TC Deveau May 3, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    studio shot with strobes….one strobe camera high left pointing down at model with possible softbox/grid modifier, one (hard) strobe directly camera right in line with model. ISO 100-200 (prob 100), shutter speed 1/250 (max shutter sync for nikons), aperture f11-f16 (prob f11 for optical sweet spot, for deep DOF, allow for blacked out background). lens either 24-70 at long end or 70-200, shot probably from a ladder in order to get the camera POV in line with the model jumping. model instructed to dance/jump naturally with shot taken casually/spontaneously. B+W conversion in post with contrast increases, blemish removal, possible cropping. that’s how I would have done it anyway, cheers….

  123. Jin May 3, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    One light source (diffused strobe light)- top right 45 degree from the dancer when she jumps (top left in the picture)
    Second light source (diffused strobe light) – down below 45 degree left from the dancer when she jumps (bottom right in the picture)

    70mm F8

    Silver Efex Pro 2

  124. jake scott May 3, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    You had the dancer well dancing.
    It is a snapshot seeing as how when a dancer is dancing there is so many different movements.
    Yes it is lit, from two different directions on both sides of the dancer.
    High shutter and under exposed allowing the shadows to be greater.
    The directions was to get the dancer in motion towards the camera.
    The photo was turned black and white and the shadows and highlights were made greater.
    And the dancer was on a black ground set up that or in post production the background was turned black.

  125. Raman Singh May 3, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Black background… unless its white and you’ve cunningly used the inverse square law to trick us… highly unlucky.
    2x lights; soft boxes, left is 50″ softbox just bellow and closer to subject (at time of shot). right is another 50″ softbox just below subject (at time of shot) running at same power

    camera settings
    max sync speed. 1/125 – 1/250 depending on camera.
    ISO 100
    Lens 70-200

    Post Production.
    Curves – make blacks… blacker
    B&W filter – tweaked.

    proberly all wrong…. but hey worth a shot!… let me know how close i was… or how far.


    Mark M – loving your analyses.

  126. Josh May 3, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Model is on a stage. Chase is below the stage shooting up. Large octa on the left or possibly a strip box creating the spread of light from her head to her toes. Softbox positioned low to the right and behind the dancer, aimed up at her, but flagged to prevent light from spilling onto her face and neck. All lights are Broncolor. Camera settings are probably f/5.6 or f/8 to keep the back foot in focus, ISO 200 (guessing), and 1/60th of a sec. (the lights are stopping the motion, not the shutter speed). Shot with a Nikon D3s, maybe a 14-24mm lens. Post-processing in Aperture, convert to b/w, bump contrast and add curves adjustment in photoshop.

    • Josh May 3, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      Actually changed my mind, camera was above dancer. Otherwise, analysis is the same.

  127. Glenn Goettler May 3, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    one additional point from me: this shot is about the dancer, not the photographer or the equipment. the lights are set and adjusted. camera is in place and focused. Chase has to hit the shutter at the right moment, and provide direction between attempts, but what you see in the final image is the grace, power and beauty put forth by the dancer. if she isn’t able to pull that move off with accuracy and calm, there’s nothing a photographer can do to make the shot work. so not to take anything away from Chase and the gang, but the real art here is ballet; the photography is secondary. my final $0.02. thanks!

  128. moe May 3, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    The subject looks cross lit with possibly a larger soft box or may be an octa bank on the left, a smaller soft box for a harder light on the right and it looks like there’s a little fill coming from the top way up high something with a grid spot pointed a her head and chest.

    My guess would be f/16 or f/22 to black out the back ground completely unless it was done in post. The camera was positioned close to the ground (unless the subject was on a trampoline but that maybe taking it a bit too far).

    Some contrast was added in post ,blacks were increased and the eyes were sharpened and slightly brightened to bring out the catchlights. .

  129. Natanis May 3, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I think you lit the subject as follows:
    The main light on camera left, parallel with the subject, either an umbrella or beauty dish pulled back to create a harder light, ( zoomed in the catchlights don’t look square enough to be a softbox). You also had a light powered down for fill camera right, but I think it was pulled back towards where the backdrop area would be so that you have more angles of light and shadow instead of wrap around.

    Your shutter speed would have to be fairly high in order to freeze the motion, depending on your setup and lighting equipment I would say around 200 or 250, and aperture was fairly closed to get a deeper focal plane, the dancers foot is very in focus as well as her face, so it wouldn’t have been shallow. I’m thinking 11 or more and I think you used a 35mm lens to get slight distance to avoid distortion but still have the ability to frame her in without getting too far away.

    I would imagine you worked a lot with the logistics of the shot to get the dancer in the exact position you wanted her to be in, you probably had her execute this move several times in order to frame her properly before you achieved the perfect shot, and you would have waited until she was at the peak of her movement just before she began her descent to hit your shutter button, that also helps ensure that composition, framing and movement are exactly where you want them to be:)

    That’s all I got:)

    • Natanis May 3, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Ok, now that I read some of the other comments she absolutely is being photographed from below a sheet of plexi glass! That’s amazing! Well done!

  130. Lynn May 3, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    How did I make this picture? Let’s play this like ‘Clue’. Chase, in the studio, with the Nikon D3S.
    Is it a lucky snapshot? Absolutely not. Jumping shots aren’t lucky if they’re planned and you have a decent trigger finger.
    Is it lit? Subject is lit, Background is not. I can’t imagine any stage lighting like this.
    If so, how? 2 strip banks on either side of model (falloff indicates the lights are behind the model even), flagged to not hit BG. studio strobes to freeze motion and maintain good recycle time. broncolor?
    The camera Settings? 1/250s f/8 ISO 200
    The direction? Subject jumping out of frame to the right. Or are you talking about artistic direction? In which case just letting her do her thang and snapping the shots.
    Post production? adjust black, sharpen, selective dodge/burn, levels, b&w (saturation)
    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image. Truth be told, this could be done anywhere with dim ambient but I’d like to think it was in a studio. I wouldn’t imagine this taking more than 3-4 takes.

  131. Jeremy May 3, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    How did I make this picture? D3s :)
    Is it a lucky snapshot? Not unless you happened to be at a ballet that had no other lighting than side.
    Is it lit? Is this a trick question? Of course, it isn’t a black frame.
    If so, how? L and R strip boxes with grids – slightly off axis to rear on both sides. Enough power to have a short flash duration so there is no movement in arms and legs.
    The camera Settings? 85mm ISO100 1/250 f10
    The direction? foot of stage shooting up or on floor laying down.
    Post production? bring up blacks to be solid in levels, curves or blacks.
    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image. Could be trampoline to make jumping repetitive easy.

  132. Jon May 3, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    2 soft boxes one on camera left and right, both are to the rear and slightly angled upwards to the dancer who is doing her move, shot mid air.

  133. Gavin May 3, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    sandwich lighting setup. lights placed slightly behind her as to prevent to much lights pill in front. nice depth of field so i would presume f11, shutter not too important as the plash light would freeze the action. but none the less 1/250. converted to black and white with a slightly elevated contrast level to create punch and eliminate any distraction that might be in the background.

  134. Jonathon Harrington May 3, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Is it lit?
    Yes. Both lights are slightly behind the subject, with the one on camera left being higher and aiming down on about a 45 degree angle, the light to camera right is also higher, but only about half as high to the one on the left. The lights are both relatively harsh and direct, I would say that are both large softboxes with louvres to make the light more directional and less soft.

    The camera Settings?
    f/5.6 with an 80-100mm lens focused around 15-20 feet to get a depth of field around 4-6 feet

    The direction?
    The camera is at about waist hieght of the subject.

    Post production?
    Increasing of blacks, clarity and contrast.

  135. Steve Robinson May 3, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    she is sitting, you are above, broncolor heads backlit at 45 degree angles either a p70 or bare bulb on subject left, looks like a strip light softbox on camera right, maybe just a reflector with diffuser or bounce.
    steve robinson ~ Sanger Texas

    It could be captured in the moment by syncing the packs, but my best guess is she is sitting and you are above her.

  136. James_M May 3, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Camera Right light Pointing Up from just below and behind her
    Camera Left light was just a bit above and behind she jumped from a trampoline thru the light.


    Everything is a lucky shot when you plan it that way

  137. STEVE HOPPER May 3, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Shot whilst she umping on a trampoline high up, with 2 lights from under neath and side back at around f11/f8? camera synced to top speed around 320 if possible? you high on equal level for when she up in air straight in front..

  138. Jake Hanocck May 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I think a massive shooting table, like the one you have, with a Lucite top was used and shot from below. Lighting looks to be bare bulb from the right and left.
    Camera setting? Perhaps exposing for f8 or f12

    There should not be too much post on this, Only a little contrast bump.

  139. Ant May 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Light is tricky to judge, but I’d guess she was being lit from below either side. She’s jumping forward outside of the beam of light, hence the shadow on her front. There seems to be very little ambient light, so maybe lighting was with theatre spots rather than strobes. Camera settings-wise I guess you’re going to be around f/8 with a fast exposure1/200 or less. Base ISO.

    With posing and direction I guess you’d want to see her do her thing first. Choose the movement or shape you like best, then set her up a mark to hit so she’s in the light for the expression you want. No fluke, once you’d seen it a few times you’d know when to fire. Unless this was taken from a live performance, in which case you’d have to judg

    • Ant May 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      IPad mong above sorry. If it was a live performance you’d have to get a feel for how much hang time she gets, so you can judge when to shoot.

  140. Markus Adrian May 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Nearly the same guess like the others:
    black backround, 2 strobes with softbox from the right and the left, she is standing on her toes on plexi above you… and now the clou: you don´t used the fastest sync speed, you just used the flash duration, the shutter speed even doesn´t matter. Of course you had to eliminate all the ambient light…

    However, amazing picture!!!

  141. sam May 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    I think… Strobes, one back left of her, close, large softbox. not as higher power as the one on the right of her, also softbox, closer and directly to her right. Black backdrop obv. f/11 @ 1/500 iso 400. Photoshop crop and curves, monochrome

  142. Alicia Stauffer May 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    1/250 @ F/11 with ISO 200, 3 strobes-back, left and in the front. Count down 3,2,1 and Jump! On stage where she is comfy and added more black to B.G. in post and more contrast for drama!

  143. Kevin May 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Definitely not a lucky snapshot, and I doubt you made this frame on the first attempt. I’m guessing she had to do this pose quite a few times before you got this :)

    Lighting – studio shot. She’s standing on plexiglass and you’re shooting up through it (as indicated by the unilluminated area on her right toe). Lit with two lights: a strip box at camera left, at subject’s waist level (aka neck level in the pose), and the strip is placed behind her left leg and off to the left. The second light was a snooted barebulb from low camera right, also placed behind her (and off the the right) to create the edgelighting.

    Shot way below available to throw the background into black, probably at f/11 (1/250) at a pretty high power setting on the lights.

    Post production converted to BW, using levels to close up the shadows and highlights (dropping the dynamic range of the image and bumping contrast).

  144. Nick May 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Maybe an octa camera left slightly behind her, and a stripbox on the right slightly behind her both about the level of her hips. Shot with very fast strobes so shutter speed isn’t a big deal, probably around f11. Convert to B&W in post and increase contrast in curves.

  145. David Johnson May 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I doubt you will read this far, but thought I’d take a shot at it.
    The light on camera right is the intriguing bit. Its obviously under her, given the angle of bright / shadow. Means 2 choices; flash is at floor level pointed up as she jumps, or as others have said, shes on glass, in splits, and off the floor. The other light, is well above her on camera left. Strobes are very close, NO SOFT BOXES, harshness is the goal.
    F4 (shot at some distance using med zoom) – 1/320 – ISO 400, black background, contrast / darken in post.

  146. Todd Shipley May 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Black seamless, large octobox to the model’s left. Beauty dish high to model’s right slightly behind midline. Camera manual 1/250 sec f9 iso 100. Post done in aperture and Silver Pro Efex.

  147. Erik May 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Seems like you used two lights. The one on the left about as high as the center of the dancer and the other down 45 deg to the right.
    Maybe softboxes on both but depends on the distance, could be hard light as well. 1/250 sync speed with a small apature to dim everything else out.

  148. Anonymous May 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Setup: Shot from below (she’s en pointe), her right hand is almost pointing directly at the main light, rim is 180 degrees from main, both equal in power and fired through GIANT softboxes (or octas).

    Direction: Calm, graceful, pose, serene thoughts, I have faith in you…

    This is not a super fast move so 1/200 with decent strobes and it’s tack sharp, at f/16

    Convert to b/w via channel mixer

    Chase, thanks for sharing with everyone, you are a great help in this community!


  149. Zach Suggs May 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    f/11, 1/250, ISO 100

    2 large softboxes — same settings for both.

    The right one being directly perpendicular to the subject, and the left at the same distance, but slightly higher and angled down, and placed slightly behind the subject.

  150. Daniel May 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Hey Chase and Team I hope you made it down this far!

    I have to agree with a few others that she was standing on plexiglass or something similar. The camera is underneath and in front of her.

    The two lights are “basically” rim lights coming from about 45 degrees behind her to either side. Camera left light is in line with the height of her head and the camera right light is shooting a little more downward…aimed right through her arched arm and leg directly at her right hand (see those three fingers?)

    The modifiers look to be pretty big but that is difficult to tell since I don’t know the size/height of the model. I could guess all day at the actual lights but it really depends on when in your career this was taken…

    Sorry to say that she looks a little soft in the face so I am guessing that you are at f/6.3? Probably taken at sync speed, so 1/250th? ISO 200, I would say 100 but you use Nikon. If you are using film or your Polaroid then all bets are off…on all of this stuff.

    If you stare at her outline long enough you can see a soft glow around the brighter areas, which leads me to believe that the blacks were boosted in post and then black was painted (either adjustment brush or brush) around her for maximum effect..

    That is where I would start if I wanted to try to reproduce this shot…

    Can’t wait to see if we are all just rookies over analyzing everything.


    • Daniel May 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      Forgot to mention that the composition is just perfect so there may have been a little bit of cropping done in post.


      • Daniel May 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

        Umm after looking at this image without my glasses I cannot see the halo I was referring to so I am an idiot and my glasses create a glare/halo effect around the brightest areas in this image…apologies.


  151. Chris wheeler May 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    How did I make this picture? “Ready?… Set… Jump!”
    Is it a lucky snapshot? No, probably one from 1250+/-
    Is it lit? Yes
    If so, how? Two large octogon softboxes with little diffusion or two sb’s.
    The camera Settings? 1/250 unless your using two SB’s in which case your probably at 1/500…f8?
    The direction? From Photog; “ok… Jump!” oh you mean lighting… Three o’clock and nine o’clock.
    Post production? Set black point, bump contrast.
    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image. Good talent, couple flashes, a little lightroom, coffee.

  152. RBD May 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Two lights – One subject left, slightly behind subject, set at a height equivalent to the height of the dancer’s leap. One subject right, again slightly behind subject and set at a height equivalent to the height of the dancer’s leap. Power settings are equal between the lights and probably set at max, given what appear to me to be blow-outs both left and right. Both in softboxes. Fast shutter to kill the ambient. You are up on a ladder to get the straight on shot.

  153. Puneet Dembla May 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    crosslighting. one from 45 deg. front and one from 45 deg back.

  154. Jordan May 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Yeah it looks like she is doing the splits, and you’re taking the picture from a ladder…then she got cut out in photoshop and placed on a black background. The leg lines look to smooth to not be cut out. And there was probably a soft box on either side of her.

  155. John May 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    The shadows from both sides look equally hard to me, so I’m guessing two gridded strip lights on either side. Fast shutter speed, probably around 1/250th. And because there is good depth of field, I would imagine you set the f-stop for the sweep spot, probably around f/8. Probably very little done in post, maybe a little increase in contrast and possibly cleaning up the background if it wasn’t completely dark.

  156. Richard Keech May 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m going with :
    You’re/Camera is underneath her shooting up through plexiglass
    I think both lights (left and right) are modified. Softboxes maybe with only a single diffusion sheet in it
    both are behind her slightly and above her a little
    F10-16 for a deep DOF and a fast shutter to kill ambient
    Post Production: Clean, make B&W, possible remove any tell-tale remenants of dust/smudges or support for the glass

  157. Kevin Skusa May 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm #


    i guess:

    – this shot was taken in horizontal format
    – chase was positioned above dancer

    – the dancer made the split on the floor

    (therefore no jump- i guess that because of her fingers: if it was a jump i think there had to be much more tension in her fingers)

    – black background

    – two softbox flashes. one next to the ground and behind her/ and the other one just a little bit higher in front.. if i imagine this picture taken in horizontal format the flashes are positioned bottom left and upper right

    more blacks
    middle tone contrast increased
    perhaps crop
    and flipped 90° left ( i hope it´snot mirrored horizontal;))


  158. Bradley R. Clampitt May 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm #


  159. Joshua K. Martin May 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Beautiful, elegant, and yet powerful. Well done.

  160. Matt Hunt May 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I think this is not a lucky shot but posed. The background is clear and no other lights such as stage spots….

    Black background, or something less than white which has been underexposed enough to get it very dark. Light sources of equal size left and right of dancer, same height as her and a little behind her, just enough to add a rim (am looking at the shadow at her rib cage for this).

    A little pp to get the blacks – but I am going with very little pp and reckon this was done right when pressing the shutter.

    Camera settings…May be gazing at tea leaves in terms of accurracy but the focus from front to rear feet is good so I am going with a telephoto (well longer than 70mm :) ) at f8 plus. No idea on shutter sped since flash duration would freeze the jump.

    Or do I take up flower arranging? :)

  161. Danielkphoto May 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I think two lights, one to the right of the ballerina (from her perspective) and a littlebit in front of her. The other one o her left and a little bit behind her. Camera setup, not so sure, I think in this case, the strobe cuts the action, so the shutterspeed doesnt have to be really fast. Aperture not too wide, cause she’s well in focus everywhere. For post: black&white obviously, quite some contrast. I think you used a black screen for the background, so that didn’t need any post :)

    Can’t think of much more :p looking forward to hear how it’s actually done :)

  162. Chris Malin May 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I’m a complete beginner, but I like this puzzle.

    This appears to be a leaping image as opposed to a static image from an interesting or unexpected angle. This puts a powerful and graceful athlete in the process of doing what she does best: dancing. This is my biggest assumption. If she is static, then the light and shadow will be easier to balance using modeling lights (and you don’t need to read everything else I wrote). If she was leaping, though, read on…

    The full extension and strength of the pose means that the dancer probably had a few steps to get moving, so you needed some space for her to start and to land. In order to allow the dancer to leap freely, without feeling constrained or worrying about bumping into you, I’ll assume you had at least about 10 feet between you and the dancer.

    Camera, Lens, and Lighting
    To fill the frame with the subject at 10 feet, you’d need a lens with about a 28 degree field of view on a full-frame Nikon. That’s about 85mm. To get the front-to-back sharpness of the image, you’d want a depth of field of maybe 5 feet. That means about f/22 on an 85mm lens at 10 feet away. For a little more room, you could have shot a 135mm around 16 feet, or a 200mm at almost 25 feet away.

    The optical character of the image, including the relative sizes of each foot and the stretch of the lead leg makes me think you were at the shorter end of the range (85mm rather than 200mm).

    f/22 means strobes rather than hot lights. Lighting is camera left and right with a 1:1 ratio. Both lights seem to be aimed a little forward from behind the dancer. The relative evenness of the lighting from top to bottom makes me think large softboxes or strips on each side, maybe with grids to control spill.

    To give room for her to leap, assume each light is at least 5 feet away. Shooting through modifiers, you might need 800+ watt seconds to get f/22, maybe 1200. To freeze motion, though, you need short duration. Broncolor Scoro packs would give a great mix of short duration and ample power.

    Shot was pre-focused and focus locked.

    Post Production
    The background cleaned, the highlights and shadows adjusted through multiple curves adjustments. The conversion to b&w has a beautifully contrasty, silvery feel. To get that, I’m guessing that curves were applied independently to each color channel and those color channel curves were blended in “luminosity” mode.

    Okay, now I’m going to read everyone else’s thoughts and see how close I am.

  163. Paul May 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    I would normaly say speedlights, HSS… but knowing you it is the uber-schnell Profoto lights. Although the edge if the highlight to shadow transition area is kinda soft, I am still gonna say hard light from a sport-type or maybe Magnum reflector–possibly with a sock (diffuser) over each. One is low off to her left and the other higher (maybe head height) to her right.

    The thing here is that EVERYTHING is tac sharp. I mean, both toes–really?!? I’m thinkin’ F8 to F11 minimum and a fast shutter speed–way faster than 1/250th. That or you pre-focused on her and then all the lights were turned off and you opened the shutter. She jumps and you pop the strobes for a 1/1000th to 1/1250th or so flash duration pop that froze her solid.

    B&W conversion in PS as well as dropping the shadows and bumping up the highlights in curves.

    I mean that, or you held up your iPhone at the balet and just snapped this one of 8).

  164. Jesse M May 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    2 softboxes. Main light is camera left slightly above and behind dancer. 2nd is camera low on camera right to light torso and her right hand. No reflectors, the bottom of her right arm is lit by the reflection off her body. She is jumping and chase is positioned in front of her slightly squatted down. I believe she is jumping because if she was sitting and doing a split her thighs would be wide and unflattering.

    250th to maximize blacks in background and f10 to keep her sharp. Motion stopped by 1/2 power strobes.

  165. Dany May 3, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Very expressive shot !!
    Its definitely not a lucky shot … But you have done several pose before you selected this one !
    Lighting :
    I believe you used two lights, one on the left and one on the right almost same output
    Main light :
    – comes from left at 10 o’clock from the camera and subject.
    – its 45 ° up toward her face

    Right Light :
    – Come opposite, at 4 o’clock from the camera and subject
    – its also 45* bottom up direction, toward her arms / head

    Camera : manual small aperture, f11 speed 1/500 s or more to freeze
    Lens : I guess tele 200, your are not so close

    PostPro : turn to B/W , crop to have her head in 1/3 rule point, darkening around, some level adjustment, to set black point and white, a touch of contrast
    and sharpening at end

    Both are hard lights. Not to close from subject. without modifiers.
    It was nice trying to deconstruct it.

    NB: Please excuse me for my english, I am living in France near Paris

  166. jason May 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Just a ‘stab in the dark’ here but looks like she is doing the splits on a black floor, lit left (slightly behind) and right (slightly in front) at just above floor level then shot from above and slightly to the left – in front to give the illusion that’s she’s in mid-air?

  167. Nick Funke May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Done on a propped surface, most likely a stage with strobes. post production is probably Lightroom, can see that you edited some blacks. f/5 to f/8-maybe 200 to 250th of a second

  168. Karl May 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    If this is a snapshot, ill call you god from now on :)
    My gess for this riddle…

    Two spots at à 45 degré angle behind the model who is sitting ‘grandducart’ with her feet behind her a little higher on à white floor.
    Left spot at a hight of 1 meter.
    A third spot or reflection screen from onder her right arm.
    A diafragma of 22, and the lens between 50 en 80mm.
    In postproduction the background has been made black.

    Of course you could also used you’re iphone to copy an existing image from a poster…. hmmm nooo.

  169. michael murphy May 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    my turn…

    ok, two large light sources, probably large profoto octa or something like that at hard camera left at 90. narrower beam from the other side in a little tighter maybe a strip. as for exposure, 1/500th considering you may be using a hasselblad that can handle higher sync speeds. iso, 100 because, well, doesn’t everyone :-). f/11 to get nice and sharp.

    post post post. ah, i’m going against the grain here. i’m sure it could have all been done in camera but i’m betting based on jarvis style that the background looked very different in the RAW file. Black added in post. other post processing including obvious black and white conversion (duh) and bit of high pass filter to bump in sharpness and finally a touch of blur to skin to add softness.

  170. Shuaib May 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Two large strip boxes behind her at almost 45 degree angle on each side.

  171. Marvin Chery May 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Model is actually on the floor.
    Shot a top to bottom camera angle
    2 hard Light sources ( One could be sunlight )
    One to left & one right
    Post processing to ad more blacks & make B&W

  172. Shuaib May 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Two large strip boxes at almost 45 degree angle behind her on each side.

  173. Callum Winton May 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Is it a lucky snapshot?
    Very unlikely to be at that angle to capture it if you were at the theatre, so I’d say planned

    Is it lit?
    I see light, so yes :o)

    If so, how?
    Black b/g (or a big room) and rim lights left/right.
    It has a soft quality so probably Large softboxes (4×6) or possibly strobing through large silks.

    The camera Settings?
    Looks like a long lens and shot (or cropped) at an angle to suite her pose.

    2 ways of shooting it
    1) push it around the 1/250 mark (or higher if hss or m/f camera) at around F/11-16.
    2) Low ISO and around 2-4 seconds at F/16+ using the strobes short flash duration (broncolor?) to freeze the subject

    (1) is possibly not fast enough unless you catch her at the top of her arc, so I’m guessing it was method (2)

    The direction?
    Jump … and try not to look like you have a foot growing out your shoulder (d’oh!) :o)

    Post production?
    B/W conversion.
    S curve adjustments to tweak the contrast and make the blacks black and the whites white.
    Nice creamy look to the image, so possibly some tactful dodging/burning too.


  174. Julian Fok May 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Shot in the studio in the dark.
    Two softboxes: one on her left, the other on her right pointed perpendicular to the camera.
    Shooting from below. She’s standing on a glass floor and you’re shooting up towards her.
    Camera settings: f/11
    Post: converting to black and white, bringing up contrast.

  175. Caleb May 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    looks lit from high on a stand on camera left, low on camera right, maybe even a black reflector or screen (accidentally?) to remove light from her upper torso. Zack Arias’ class makes me think this was shot wide since there is a decent amount of dof but was probably shot at a decently low f since its dark but maybe not too wide because her foot is in proportion with the rest of her body. The curves are too perfect so it looks like she was cut out of her background with the pen tool.

  176. MarkH May 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    1 Large space, ambient light greatly reduced (could be in the shade) or turned down so that the strobes can overpower what ambient there may be.

    2. Two vertical strip lights or large softboxes positioned slightly behind her, parallel to her body facing each other. In other words, cross light lighting her. (she’s turning her head which allows light from the camera left light to highlight the left side of her face; otherwise, the left side of her face goes black if she looked straight into the camera.)

    Strips or softboxes are diffused as the diffused shadow-highlight edge has a bit of softness to it. Perhaps grids on both strip lights to help focus the light.

    The camera left light is slightly higher than the apex of her jump (gives the nice churiso effect under her left eye); the camera right light is slightly lower than the apex of her jump.

    3. Each strip flagged off with black flags to prevent flare issues.

    4. f8/11 @1/250; ISO 100?

    5. Post production? Strip out the color, bring up the contrast, Selective Color -> Black Increase it 10 – 15%

  177. Schaffer Photography May 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Definitely not a lucky shot :)

    – 3 strobes, 1 lower left, 1 lower right, 1 upper left
    – f/11 around a 1/500s camera settings, ISO 800
    – Once all camera settings were ready, the dancer took a rather graceful leap!
    – The photo was shot from below on a tripod with a black background
    – Post production with just a little tonal curve adjustments making contrast a little stronger

  178. Vivardy Boursiquot May 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Great shot by the way! Let’s try to guess…

    The shot was taken from above her. She’s doing a split on a plexiglass. The contrast is too harsh for softboxes, so my guess is a more direct light, The main light is under the plexiglass at 45° on her left. The back light probably also under at 45°. Around f/11 at 1/250.

    I don’t think she was posing. I think she was maybe warming up, stretching. But I don’t think it was a lucky shot, you probably just wanted her to feel comfortable as you were waiting for the right shot. The post-production seems basic, black and white conversion, some contrast adjusment to make sure the background i perfectly black.

  179. Calvin Pennick JR May 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Your favorite sandwich lighting just behind the dancer. The light camera left is more diffused than the light camera right. 1: 1 1/2 ratio. Camera height about 4ft. Multiple takes of model jumping against a black back ground until you got the shot you like. F11- f16 to ensure focus and 2000th of second to freeze action which would also control any spill or ambient light. Very little post production needed if any. Maybe you tweek the contrast. Profoto heads of course.

  180. Tsc Tempest May 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Is it Lucky or Staged? Big question. The give away for me is the difference in the highlight and shadow transitions on the legs cf the arms.particularly around the back foot. This tells me the “barckground” was masked out in post production and made black. She’s posed on the floor. The camera position then is in front and above the model. Light are low, left is a soft box set to glance the length of the body of the model, on the right are two spots with grids backed up well back. Unless there is some luck masking by the model’s left arm, the hair was masked as there is no edge highlights like on the arms. Camera settings, at least f/8, perhaps f/11 because everything is in focus, head to hips, toe to toe. Shutter speed dependent on the strngth of the strobes. I would think something moderately fast, but not so fast as to loose detail in the shadow transition across the face and chest. There might be some rotation in post production, high key b&w conversion to simplify the background edit certainly the original background was cut out – there is no light spill on the floor or even shadow transition to indicate depth in the background.

    Very niclely done.

  181. Will Hore-Lacy May 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    I can see the possibilities to post either on pointe from below or in splits from above, particularly given the perfect light pattern on her face, but I think Chase typically leans towards authenticity with ‘athletes’ to I’m going to say she was jumping. Also I think she would be off balance if on pointe. Given that positioning for our dancer she was lit with two lights, hard sources but maybe a little bigger than a standard reflector (beauty dish?). One directly left of her and slightly above the other to the right, slightly behind but about level. Shooting at max sync speed, subject frozen with the flash.

  182. Jay Huron May 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    Wow, I can see all of those thoughts, of above, below, and in front of a jump. Though flexible I don’t think she could get here leading leg at that angle in a jump if you were above her, so I think that’s out. The other two are very plausible. The toe she would be on point on is flat and dark like she is standing on it, though the shoe may just be that flat on the end, but I think I’ll go with that you are under her with a Plexiglas floor for her.

    The light is mildly soft, so not giant octas or anything. Maybe 48″x36″ (vertically) softboxes on either side of her. The one left of camera is higher (her head level) and slightly behind her and the one right of camera is lower (her hip level) and slightly in front of her.

  183. Dawn & Michael Mitchell May 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I am probably going out on a big lim here, but it looks like this to me:

    1. She is standing on her toe, on some sort of transparent material
    2. There are 2 light sources, one on the lower right and one on the upper left. I am thinking the one on the lower right is grided.
    3. Camera is a Mamia
    4. since she is standing and not jumping the settings on the camera do not have to be too fast, just fast enough to sync, but the background going black would suggest a large aperture or a seamless black background.

    Either way, I am glad you help us out by doing these, it really makes me stop and think!

  184. gabe s May 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Grid spot softbox on camera left, slightly behind dancer. Then a softbox on camera right. Camera right is lower power.

    Black Background in studio,

  185. Bluestill May 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    She is standing on plexiglass and you are laying on your back. there is a softbox about 4 ft to subject left and natural light (perhaps a window to the right of subject. Definitely ISO 200, maybe about f11 at a 250 shutter speed.

  186. scott May 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    high speed sync, bare flash left and to the back a little, bare flash right, both 1/2 power, I’m thinking with a 24 70 f2.8 or 700 200 f2.8 camera on 51 point continuous auto focus shutter 160th to 250th sec at f8 iso200.

    post, gray scale pushed the contrast, pulled out the red for smother skin tone

    my fav bit, shadow on her front leg and right arm, the light just catching her chin.

  187. Bluestill May 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I forgot to add the post work. blackened out the background completely in post work.

  188. Adam May 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Softbox Sandwich!

  189. Brett May 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    probably just CGI.

    or you eliminated the ambient light and shot for just your strobes that appear to be 130* camera left and above with possibly a bounce 90* camera right.

    if thats a case you shout at 1/200th and closed down to f/22.

  190. Alessandro Rosa May 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Photo was made in a controlled environment, so probably a dark studio with very little ambient light. You could have used a trampoline to get the dancer up in the air, but I’m not too convinced of that

    This is definitely NOT a Lucky Snapshot.

    Light to camera left is probably a ten o’clock position from above angled down at about 45 degrees. My guess is that you are probably only using barndoors as a modifier to prevent spill to your background and flair in your lens.

    Light to camera right is more than likely positioned somewhere between two to three o’clock position from below. I am going to go with Barndoors for this one as well.

    It looks like both lights are at the same power ratio.

    With a dark studio, the flash will freeze the motion, so you are shooting at Sync speed of your camera. The image is sharp front to back so somewhere around f8 to f11. It looks like there is some compression going on so you look to be shooting a telephoto lens and I am guessing that you are shooting up at her with your camera in a portrait orientation. I would also say you are probably at the seven o’clock position an are angled slightly so that you get the space between her head and back leg.

    Post is probably minimal. If it was a digital, then desaturate and bump the contrast a touch. Possibly a slight dodge of the shadows on the legs, but just a touch where there may have been a little light spill.

    Details needed to make image. Really good ballerina, decent sized studio space front to back so that the dancer has room to jump towards the camera and capture her full frame with a telephoto lens as well as keep your lights away from your background. Strobes with a short duration are also helpful to not get any motion blur. You probably also have her do one or two practice jumps so that you can determine where your lights need to be and what the peak moment is.

    • Alessandro Rosa May 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

      Oops… Meant burn of shadow area…

  191. Ashley Arnold May 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I would say, by looking at her right leg, it looks like she is standing on some sort of glass/plexiglass. You are beneath the glass shooting up while she is bending down towards you. So no not a lucky shot ;) She IS lit: you have 2 lights: to her left and to her right, creating beautiful rembrant lighting. The light looks like it could be strobes, and if so your shutter is at 1/125, f/11-f/16? ISO no higher than 400. Softboxes on both lights. Little to NO post-production, maybe just smoothing her legs, but the light looks beautiful so you might not have had to do much! Am I close at all?? GREAT JOB!!

  192. Fernando May 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I think you shot this from below, under your plexiglass rig, shutter around 1/200 or 1/250th, f9, maybe 35mm. I’m inclined to say there is a little post beyond the B&W, to draw out contrasts and maybe sharpen, but the background being darkened off probably happened in camera.

    There are two lights, either side of the ballerina, but they are not parallel and not at the same height. The light to the left is above the dancer and slightly in front, or maybe parallel. The one to the right is below and slightly behind.

    Great image. Thanks for the challenge.

  193. Ines May 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    being a dancer myself, I love the grace and ease of this.

    It is not a lucky shot, although I’ve seen dance photographers catch dancers in midair, but her body and face are too relaxed all around to be jumping like this.

    I don’t think this shot needed a lot of equipment…..but did have an elevated plexiglass table. 2 lights from below, stronger one angled towards belly, the other towards the standing leg. camera from below, photographer lying on back under table. dancer on point with back leg bent in the “attitude” position

    There was an awesome camera used, I can’t even start to guess which. 50mm f8 1/125

    Probably not a lot of post in Lightroom, basic black and white adjustments. Maybe a bit photoshop to increase raised leg highlight.


  194. Will Hore-Lacy May 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    If she was on pointe on plexi glass then I suspect the camera would have to be quite close to her foot and you’d really struggle to get sufficient DOF to have both feet in focus. I think a bit of distance as well as a small aperture would have been required.

  195. RB May 3, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    This is an older shoot.
    Shoot on film.
    Tmax film at ASA 3200 (at 6400 it holds very little mids)
    Using tungsten stage lighting provided by the theater.

  196. Gian May 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Don’t know if the plexi was used, but if it was, then she’d probably be sitting on it, then you’d be shooting from above, maybe on an aluminum step ladder. And if that were the case, the lights would be at least floor level, 1 of them on either side, making them slightly behind her. This explains the highlights on either sides and the really high contrast. There might be a fill card on the right of camera so that there’d be details/exposure in her face and chest(plus, you can see that her right arm is crazy ripped). In post, it might just be changing contrasts and increasing details. The lights might be rectangular softboxes because if they were bare, there wouldn’t be details for the seams on the right side of her dress. Camera might be a fullframe with a 35/50mm set at f/6.3~8 with a maximum shutter sync speed 1/200 so the back would black out.

    If the plexi wasn’t used, I think it’d be almost the same except you’d be shooting rapid fire because she’d be jumping like crazy until you get “the one.”

  197. iPhil May 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    You’re on the floor facing up behind a glass, and she is standing on a glass, and she is not really jumping, she is posed similar to this.

    Which is why the tip of her planted, her right foot has no lighting on it?

    I’m going to guess the lights would be rear right. And camleft. is actually… up high. aiming down at her. So… her upper body is around a 90 degree actually facing downward. Face looking to the side.

    Background is either black/dark ceiling and not illuminated because the lighting you used to light her is either facing downward angle.

    Gonna guess…
    80 shutter
    ISO…. 800

  198. Mantis May 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Shooting above her as she jumps.
    Camera settings: F11 1/250th ISO 200
    Lighting (Not at all familure with this) Two light set up each at 45 degrees to the rear of the subject. Light to camera left is the main and the right is fill.

    Post-production: A bit of contrast adjustment, and sharpening.

  199. Daniel Yam May 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Definitely a professional dancer. Two strobe lights set virtually across each other with black background. Main at camera right unmodified, fill at camera left about half stop less. You didn’t want her right arm to get over exposed due to her extension towards fill light. Her instruction was simply to jump between the lights. I bet she can nail this jump 7 out of 10 times. Camera was just below waist level and dancer jumped towards you. 1/250 f10, low ISO. Used a D3s and 24-70 2.8 set close to between 24 to 35mm. Curves adjustment to boost up contrast. That’s it.

  200. Vinoth l May 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    wowwww look at all the tech words…

    Uh..? umm… uhhh…ummm…gosh what is it…hmmm…

    I shoot streets?

    Sorry Cj, no idea. No education on studio lighting.

    Just want to say a great entrapment of time.

    Thanks and have a good week.

    From Montreal, Canada.

  201. Barak May 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Wow, 209 comments already.

    This isn’t a lucky snap. You’re shooting at a low ISO and everything is sharp and she’s in motion, so you used strobes. I’m guessing 2 Prophoto or Broncolor heads left and right with “magnum” reflectors. More likely Broncolor as the flash duration is shorter for them. There’s probably some flagging of the background going on. You’re probably using a D1 or Hasselblad, so you’re at about f/16 or f/22 on the D1 or f/22 or f/32 on the Hassy. Ambient is irrelevant at this exposure. You are up higher than I would expect you to be shooting dancers. Maybe chest high. You had her leap at full performance energy and “don’t look at the camera.”

    Not much post production other than convert to BandW and sharpening. And local contrast adjustment, the same way you did the portraits for the Seattle 100.

  202. Barak May 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Er, D3.

  203. Barak May 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    And your focal length is around 150 mm on the D3.

  204. JeromeJanvier May 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    “hmm… a jumping ballerina would be nice, do we have any ballerina friends?”

    “hi im chase, and this is…”

    After the getting to know yous and talking about what she thinks a nice move to capture…

    -Large light source at camera left, slightly behind the subject. (close enough for it to be seen on her eyes)?
    -harsher light source from a distance on camera right slightly behind subject, maybe half a stop stronger?
    -lens on the longer end mr jarvis low, maybe on the floor?
    -small aperture >f11, hi speed sync 500?
    -framing allowance since she will be kicking, jumping twirling etc? the softbox on cam left could probably be seen?

    “action! chakachakachakachakachakachakachakachakachakachaka… great! lets go grab something to eat!

    “nice. nice. nice. nice. great!”
    -picked something around the peak of the jump where her left leg is where she was at the beginning and torso passed the soft box as she was jumping forward?
    -cropped, desaturated, crushed blacks, lifted whites?

    or you ran into a ballet studio with two other friends with triggered flashguns, popped a rehearsing ballerina ran home before anyone could say a word. hehe! JK!

  205. Andrew May 3, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I’m guessing it was shot during show rehearsal, and therefore was a live shot, not specific direction, just the ballerina doing her thing.

    I would guess there was soft box to her left, and a small flash sitting on the stage to her right.

    In post, significant dodging and burning to give it the contrasty impact.

    I’m largely commenting because I want to win a pizza.

  206. Kenny May 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Cool shot!

    Here’s my peace of mind.

    Camera setting: iso 200 1/160 f11. camera position below through plexi glass
    Lights: 2 striplights gridded 1 camera left 1 camera right ( camera right 1/2 higher than camera left.
    Post: B&W conversion some dodging & burning

    Well there you go!


  207. Kenny May 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    forgot to add (stop) by camera right power

  208. mun May 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    A lucky snapshot from the performance, normally ballet perform will be whole scene black. So the lighting is from the stage, then go true post production, make some contrast with level of Photoshop.

  209. Guiga Lessa May 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    First of all, I would like to congratulate you for this beautiful picture. Also I wanted to say I’m a fan of your work, and that I have been following your blog, and the work you do, since you were published as a Hasselblad Master. Also I want to thank you for your countless contributions of your experiences, and work with the photography world. Not to mention, you have a hell of a amazing team!

    For this picture, I have two guesses:

    Camera used: Nikon D3s
    Lens: Super Tele: 200-400mm f/4
    this could be a snapshot taken while the ballerina was rehearsing, shot 20 feet back from the room she was in. Maybe at the same level, maybe a little below her.
    There’s a black backdrop/ curtain behind her.
    The lighting was set from both sides as hot lights/ continuous, to light the stage.
    Camera settings? I’d say 500/sec to 1000/sec ISO 400-800 or even higher like 1600 at f/11
    there was some post production. Shot in color, and changed to BW.

    My second guess, would be:

    Camera: Nikon D3s again (Best camera ever by the way)
    Settings: 250/s ISO 400 f/11
    Lens: 85mm f/1.4
    Shot from below the ballerina, closer to the stage/studio
    backdrop was either a black curtain, or blackdrop.
    There were 3 SB-900 flashes, one coming from the right of the subject, maybe a little behind her and two other from the left of the subject. Maybe using umbrellas.
    SHot in color. Some post production.

    Anyways, that is just a guess. Good job!

  210. Darina Boycheva May 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Hi Chase,
    Thank you for another installment of the “Deconstruct This Photo” series. Here is my guess as to what might have happened behind the scene:
    – First of a beautiful ballerina happened for sure
    – I think that this shot was done on a stage
    – Background – I don’t think a background was necessary with the fast shutter speed and also if the distance subject to background was not limited.
    – My guess is you shot from a lower vantage point and the ballerina was jumping in the air
    – The camera was probably Nikon D3x
    – The shutter speed was fast, maybe in the range of 1/200 of a sec to eliminate any ambient light
    – The f-stop was smaller for larger depth of field as the subject was moving, f11 or smaller
    – The lighting – I think it was strobe lighting to freeze the subject in motion. There were two main strobes. The first one was positioned on camera left, behind the subject and turned slightly towards the camera and up to create a beautiful short lighting pattern on her face, with a little Rembrandt triangle on her left cheek/eye without overspilling on her hair. The second main strobe was positioned on camera right also behind the subject and turned slightly towards the camera. Modifiers for these two strobes – it could have been bare bulbs with bigger distance to have more spread and coverage as she is lit from head to toe evenly or the strobes could have had large soft boxes and I am leaning more towards the soft boxes (maybe strip boxes). And finally I am thinking about a third light source, which I am not absolutely sure about. There are some ifs but if the main strobe on camera left had a strip box and was missing the back leg then there would have been another light to cover that, however if the light modifier was wider on this strobe, then the spread was bigger and there was no need for another light. Also the same case is with the light that I see on the inside of the ballerina’s right hand. It was probably hit by the main strobe on camera right and the hand is more in front of the body than it looks from this angle.
    – Post Production – probably converted to black and white, pushed the blacks and contrast to exaggerate even more the effect created with lighting.
    Enough with the guessing, thanks again and I am looking forward to seeing what actually happened for this shot to be.
    Great work!

  211. Anonymous May 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Beautiful shot.

    I think it was a little bit of luck and preparation ahead of time. The way she is poised definitely suggests to me that she is in mid jump and not just well balanced and you are shooting underneath a piece of glass as some comments would suggest. If this is not the case, then well done sir.

    It is lit with 2 main light sources on either side of the dancer. I would hazard a guess that both were point sources.

    The meta properties said it was a 35mm lens, I would guess a high shutter speed like 200th of a second at f22? Perhaps an ISO of 100 or 200 (really strong light source ^^)

    Direction? Do a grand jete?

    Post production was probably some cropping, b&w, maybe play with the contrast too.

    Special notes, no backdrop needed, the high f-stop and fast shutter will black out the background. She may need the space to make the jump anyways.

    Eagerly awaiting the answer post!

  212. Carsten May 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Here´s my guess ( w/o reading all the posts before, since I don´t want to cheat myself):

    Photo is taken on Stage or in the Studio. You didn´t need a black background, since you were using a very small aperture (f11 or even higher), which blackened the background completely. To get the jump of the dancer frozen & to avoid any motion blur but still retaining the sync speed of the Broncolors (for fast recycle time & shooting), you set the shutter speed to 1/250.

    For the lighting you have chosen two softboxes 90° set apart form each other behind the subject. You ran both lights with the same power output. The softboxes were necessary to get the light wrapping around the face and to avoid to harsh shadows and retain more detail in the shadows.

    The lens you used was either the 50mm or the 85mm. Anything more tele (like 100 or 200mm) would have involved the risk to get any blur since you were not able to use a tripod, because you had to follow the jump of the dancer with your camera to click the shutter in the right moment. While the 85mm would have caused a compression of the dancer you went with the 50mm, which is also stretching the legs a bit better.

    Postprocessing was very little necessary, since the background was black already. So you only had to apply a crop to the picture.

    That´s my guess…

  213. Severine May 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    My guess is a fast shutter speed 1/500 with a 200 ISO. Probably a f/11.
    Two strobes with soft box. One main light on the left of the ballerina, 45 degree higher then her head and 45 degree left to create the beautiful Rembrandt effect. A fill light on the right 2 f-stop less then the main. This light lower then the ballerina.
    The background is far so you can’t see it.
    You are on a ladder or something in order to be at her jump level.
    You turn the picture black and white in post production and maybe increase a little bit the shadow.
    I love this pic!

  214. Kevin Foster May 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    My .02

    I have not started playing with light that much but I will as soon as I get Zack’s show watched ;-)

  215. jimbslim May 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Have a firm grippy surface with a little give to it for the dancer to work on ie no paper or concrete floor
    Dim the lights in the studio
    Lighting : 2 strobes w/30 degree grids 6′ behind dancer at about 45 degrees off axis, camera left strobe at top of dancers head height pointed slightly down camera right strobe at front foot height pointed upward
    Camera setting: manual, exposure bulb, f11-f16 iso 400.
    Direction: Ask dancer to make move, pop flash/ repeat as necessary
    Post: develop film, scan, bump up blacks to fill and adjust contrast to taste
    Enjoy a hoppy beverage

  216. Levi May 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Hasselblad Camera for higher sync speed. at least 1/500th
    80mm lens.
    f/8 or f/11
    Two Broncolor strobes equidistant from subject camera left and camera right for split lighting. But positioned slightly behind her. Possibly grid spotted.
    Background is irrelevant because of such high shutter speed, ambient light is long gone.
    On a side note I find her left leg growing out of her right shoulder distracting but then again I have been watching Zack Arias critiques. haha.
    B&W conversion in cs5 or silver efex pro 2.
    It is not a “lucky” snapshot. Seems premeditated to me.

  217. Thomas Jupe May 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    I would say location shoot – use of high powered flash lighting to allow high shutter speed to freeze motion and also to black out the background.

    Flash lights set up either side of dancer at equal power but slightly behind the subject. Also the light to the right is lower down (closer to the floor) about thigh level and the light on the left is higher 2 feet higher than head height.

    Camera settings as suggested by others 500 / f8.0 (as it is the most likely, but maybe a faster shutter speed due to my earlier theory) but with ISO200 as 400 would be unnecessarily grainy. It would be nice to have more noise in this shot (shot at about ISO800) to give more texture but thats just my personal preference!

    No post production except for crop and I think it was shot in colour, so desaturated and a bit of a contrast tweek!

    Cheers Chase – better than a sudoku! Tom

  218. Joe Chahwan May 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    I made an illustration, can be seen here

    PS; I prefer the “Pizza”, already have a signed book!

  219. Michael P. Majewski May 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Without reading other submitters comments, My thoughts are that this is more than a mere “snapshot” I think it was well thought out and planned in art direction, choreography, shooting and post production. However it seems to be amazingly simple in its asthetic.
    The frozen subject tells me this was more than likely lit with strobes, with just 2 lights, one, a medium sized softbox on stage right and probably a beauty dish stage left. The lights are placed at about 4 & 6 o’clock angle off attack to the camera. The camera was probably set the AF to continuous to track the dancers movement. The shutter was @ synch speed to kill the ambient, as the background doesn’t matter. It could be studio with concrete walls for all we know, for whatever the background was had been taken out by bringing up the blacks/levels in post. Images was coverted to B+W in postas well for a great, striking image.

  220. Thomas Jupe May 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Oops forgot – Lens around 200mm! Shot hand held (no tripod)

  221. Alfonso Juan Dillera May 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    This isn’t a lucky shot.

    I’d say she’s on the ground, doing a leg lift (or something), natural light (maybe a window on both sides) taken at around 12 noon or so because of the close to harsh light on her arms.

    Settings would be f13 1/800 or so. Processing wise, you’d black out the background so you’d get that effect that she’s jumping.

    Well that’s how I look at it.

  222. May 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Two Strobes one left one lower right. 1/250th for freeze. Shot in studio, around f/8. Black seemless, Boost contrast in post production.

  223. Max May 4, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    Not a lucky snapshot, no..
    I think this is shot in studio on black seamless (or very dark grey) and with two strobes :
    – a very large softbox/octa close to her at camera left (very diffuse/soft quality to the light) and
    – a second strobe at camera right, this time more distant or possibly with a reflector mounted on the strobe / silver dish etc. (harsher quality to the light), kind of a “kicker”
    Both strobes are directed at her but the one at camera left is a bit more behind her than the one at camera right.

    Probalby shot with a long lens (I would guess 70-200 / 2.8?) with a high f stop (f8-11?) and high speed sync (1/250) with reasonable iso (studio and lit so no need to go crazy with iso…)
    And of course a little bit of post processing for B&W and adding some contrast and jazz the picture up a bit
    hope this is quite close to THE recipe ;)

  224. Eric Calabros May 4, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    she is on the ground > rotated > converted to Black and White
    fingers of right hand show that the background has been changed

  225. Charlotte May 4, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    You’re under her, maybe under some thick perspex or something. You can tell because of the muscular tension in her leg – it would be really hard for her muscles to make that shape if she was in the air.

    Also the fact that her toe block has no light on it at all, it’s pressing against something.

    Other than that, two strobes maybe? One left and one right, both slightly behind her so that they leave a line of shadow down her front.

  226. Rohit46 May 4, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    I feel that the girl is dancing over a glass or fiber platform (which ever is trasparent i mean), using one of the things you used in some of your video :)
    so you can notice her TOE is visible,hence it shows the girl is been clicked over a GLASS BASED PLATFORM & 2-3 FLASH UNITS are been used with DEFUSES to make the BOUNCE BACK OF LIGHT
    1. from the girl back side
    2. from the right hand down side (LIGHTING UP here stomach area)
    3. from the left hand side (of the dancer)

    CAMERA SETTING would be….
    larger aperture somewhere f1.3 or above
    shutter speed around 200 (as she seem to b posing than actual dancing or making any further move)

    am just a year old in photography & love clicking….!!! :))
    Rohit Singh

  227. Nomad1 May 4, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    I think cross lighting, as many have suggested, one broad soft the other more specular, one side almost pushes the highlights to the limits Set pose on ground, the background is post processed, small dent in the selection around the extended leg and torso

  228. Chris Justin May 4, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Nice picture, no just happened to snap this. two lights one soft box on the her left
    and thinking more of snoot from above and back because before pp she was more straight. post production you gave her some tilt, clean up back ground wipe any light falling short.
    2.8 lens f8 24-70mm lens ISO 200
    I dont think plexiglas was used, Too much equipment for this shot
    Less is more.

  229. venkat May 4, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Its a gr8 shot.. but wht i have in mind is.. She is stretching on ground and shot was taken from top.

  230. Jason May 4, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Dancer posing on toe atop pexiglass large soft light cr slightly behind and low pointing up one cl behind and higher pointing down. focal length around 70mm probably 24-70 lens, f-16@250 though it would be easy to blow out the ambient cause i think the light is close but i think you photoshopped in a black background

  231. Thomas Engler May 4, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    I’d say that you used a soft light from left and right with a black background. And the dancer is doing her move with a trampolin to get some more air.

  232. Dale Tan May 4, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    I’m with the rest on the whole f8 @ 1/250 or whatever your fastest sync is. Can’t see the bokeh, so I can’t guess whether it’s a zoom or prime. Given the quality, though, I’m guessing a f1.4 50mm or similar 85mm (35mm equivalent). Could be Hasselblad too, since it’s studio, but that’s inconsequential in this case.

    Lighting is from both sides, bottom-left and bottom right of the frame, with softboxes on both. Left soft box looks a bit nearer to model, pointed slightly further up the frame. Lights are studio strobes on pocketwizards.

    Model is on a surface, directed to do a split. Surface could be a plexiglass over a black background that sucks out light (sheet of felt?) – but that’s a lot of work. Easier to use a green/blue screen and PP that out later. My vote is with the latter since the edges are too well-defined, too neat.

    PP, other than making it B/W, is likely to be burning out all traces of the backdrop/surface. Some corrections also done to fix the tonal range to cover the full stretch, since B/W requires good contrast to pull off.

  233. Francesco May 4, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    This is not a jump. I think is a splits on the floor, the cam was above her, two studio flash from left and right with a softbox, f 11 or 16, exposure 1/60, in PP you erased the floor and background

  234. Sherry Fagan May 4, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    2 Lights:
    -> 1 is 45 degrees-ish above her to her right (computer viewer’s left), and angled behind her head more then infront, hence the beautiful REMBRANDT.
    -> 2nd seems to be a long Strip front and off to the side..hence the kicker highlights you get on the arm surface & the greater amount of light coverage you get on the broader part of her main body.

    ->1:1 (shadows & highlights)

    Camera Settings:
    ISO:100 (doesn’t seem to be noisy)
    F11-F16 @ 1/125th

    -> Black Seamless / Gobos / Black Room (any 1 of these # of combo’s!)

    -> Levels tweak for that absolute black and punchy whites (blownout look on computer viewers right).
    -> Curves tweak for contrast pull
    …you could have done anything.. that’s the beauty of Photoshop.. :)

  235. Jon May 4, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    I don’t know how you find time to read all this stuff, but here’s my chapter:

    How did I make this picture?

    I think she is actually jumping and probably shot on stage or in some other cavernous arena with no backdrop, but a fairly high shutter speed to darken the background out. Probably f5.6 if it’s a Nikon lens to get everything sharp.

    Is it a lucky snapshot?


    Is it lit?


    If so, how?

    Probably was a bit of ambient, but taken care of by underexposing for it. Two fairly harsh lights (maybe small softboxes, or more likely strobes set to widest setting) crosslighting from pretty much perpendicular to the axis between camera and subject – light on the left a little forward, light on right a little back – lights at about hip height. Maybe an extra rim light behind her.

    The camera Settings? f6.3 1/250th

    The direction?

    As in what direction did you give her? – “Do an Attitude Leap”

    Post production?

    Knocking out anything still lit in the background. Adjusting the curve to make the darks a bit darker, a bit more contrast.

    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image.

    Possibly took more than one take.

  236. Jon May 4, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Forgot to say – probably slightly wider than 50mm lens.

  237. Michael May 4, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Shot at f 8.0, 1/250. Fired with Pocket wizards. Lights placed 180 degrees apart and bare bulb. Shot while sitting on ground with her jumping. Behind her is a black backdrop. Lens was probably longer rather than shorter.

  238. Jon Galdos May 4, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I thinks she is sittiing in the floor(split position in ballet) and the picture is taken from above! Hard light in lower right (5 oclock) and 2 softer lights in her left(7 oclock and 10 oclock). All lights nearly at ground level.
    I think she is still, not moving at all.
    Some postprocess to dark the ground and that’s all!!

    Let me know if I am right!

  239. David May 4, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Looks like it was shot on stage from the low angle, camera could be in the orchestra pit or very near the floor. Cross lit, box camera left, box camera right, slightly behind subj. 1/500 f/8 Probably a Blad autofocus body. asa100. Profoto or Brons for flash duration.

    Or at least thats what I would be shooting for to get this image if I had to recreate it to the letter.

    All the best-

  240. Bimal Nair May 4, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Hi Chase!
    This is a well thought shot, not a lucky click by any means. You with the camera were probably at an elevated place, camera positioned at an height of her waist at this instance. Black seamless at the back. Clicked while model is in air while performing. The lighting is deliberate to achieve the motion and shape of artist in this particular fly. Following must be the probable setup:
    1. One strobe (with a big soft box) on upper left of subject lit from 10 o’clock angle, but positioned at the back of her (say 120 degrees from lens direction), light pointing almost into the right corner of lens.
    2. Second strobe (with a big soft box) on the right bottom of subject from a 4 o’clock angle, positioned exactly to her right middle.
    4. Camera settings must be roughly f8 at 1/160th of a second. ISO 400. Focus point aimed roughly at the collar bone location. Shot in monochrome with flash or shade white balance.
    5. Probable post production : clearing any flare or ghosting on right end of frame (caused by left side strobe). Conversion to black and white. Else a clean shot.
    Hope i would get this shot at these settings :)

  241. Jakub Gloser May 4, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    You do a lot on location shoots and i think this is shot on location as well. On a stage in a theatre or some place like that. Taken from ground level. Not posed I recon it is a proper action shot.
    I think it’s shot with a longer lens about 200mm and with that f/8 at least.. more like f/11 even f/16 between 1/160 to 1/250.
    It is definately lit. I think a medium sized softbox on the left at 10 o’clock and a beauty dish on the right 3 o’clock hip level.
    Converted into b&w, curves, maybe skin highlights or red filter.

  242. Anthony May 4, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    Strobe high, camera left, slightly behind subject. Strobe low camera right, slightly in front of subject. Black background, true action shot. F11@ 500, ISO 400?

  243. Mikael May 4, 2011 at 5:10 am #


    Looks like she stood on something in a studio. It does not seem like a lucky snapshot, but maybe you did a burst of shots at the peak moment. You have tilted the camera so the horizon line is changed.

    There is seperation almost everywhere. She is lit from left and right. Large sources of very directional light but not to harsh, maybe gridded softboxes. The placement is a little behind the model on the left, fairly near and on the right a bit more behind her and further away, a little harder light, almost burned out, likely contrast boost in post production, black and white conversion and crop. Quite wide lens.

    Camera settings: 1/250th, F11, ISO 200. All of her is in focus, background is black, no visible noise.

    I want a chest bump! :=)

  244. robin May 4, 2011 at 5:32 am #

    How did I make this picture?ballerina standing on a glass
    Is it a lucky snapshot?- NOPE
    Is it lit?- YES
    If so, how?- 2-3 lights at the buttom point upwards on both side
    The camera Settings?iso 250 , shutter speed 1/20sec , f7.1
    The direction? photographer underneath the glass ,abit front – left of the subject
    Post production?lightroom – photoshop
    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image

  245. Hugo D May 4, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    plexiglass as “floor”; lights left and right, aimed for the back part of her body.
    right light little more aimed to the back.
    nice effect all together

  246. Roger S. Duncan May 4, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    Cool – this is fun!

    2 strobes or hot lights, gridded, wearing go-bos or snoots enough so as not to get any flare at the camera or funny spill.

    One light high and up to the left – about 9 feet up – aimed directly at the other light aimed up from the low right – 1 foot up. Low right is aimed slightly to the back as well. The left side needs the go bo more than the right.

    Dull black floor and black, dark empty theatre stage. You’re low – at the stage level in the first few rows of seating, with a longer lens, 100mm, shooting slightly up.

    Fast exposure, 1/250 – f 11, ISO100

    Your model is a professional dancer. You gave her the go ahead to dance through the lit area in any way she knew how to do it. Trust your people and their skills . . . that’s your method.

    Post – slight cleanup on the floor, removed evidence of floor light spill. Tightened contrast a little. Made sure that catch lights were nice and big in the eyes.

    Thanks for the game.


    ~ Roger
    PS : see my new photoshelter site –
    Deconstruct my “Tommy” imagery if you like. The poster and the group shot – both were fun to light.

  247. Ricky May 4, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    The jumping ballerina was lit from left and right against a black backdrop. Should be around F8. Post production turned the shot to B&W

  248. Dave May 4, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Lights left and right of camera; series of shots as dancer reached apex of movement on highly polished, glassy surface; camera above, shooting f8 to f11; ISO 100 (maybe 50); 85mm prime. Capture is the reflection of the dancer. Primary was removed in post processing. After conversion to B&W, minor tweaks were made for tonal quality.

    Nice shot, however you did it.

  249. Jim Schofield May 4, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    It’s a frame capture from either a 2K or RED. Two hard side lights, one of which could be daylight. Converted to B/W in post.

  250. MiKy May 4, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    a coupple of beer and…
    two light
    high angle camera
    woman on the floor
    more beer
    paint the floor in post
    and enjoy with 200 guys whom are without nothing to do


  251. Joshua May 4, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    How did I make this picture? I believe she is not actually in the air, but merely doing the splits on the ground or even a raised platform of some sort. This would allow for the perfect light where you want it and the sharp detail of a well captured focus.
    Is it a lucky snapshot? No, just well preplanned and reconstructed pose.
    Is it lit? Yes, at least two lights from opposite sides of the dancer and from a lower angle.
    The camera Settings? 24-70 lens f8 1/250 iso100
    The direction? From a ladder, chair, or standing in front of her to the left of her right leg and looking down around a 45 degree angle.
    Post production? Yes, to enhance blacks and remove any thing on the floor to pus the background to black.

  252. Lara May 4, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    I’m with Joshua. She’s sitting, your shooting from above with two lights on either side.

  253. RSm540 May 4, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Actually, I was wondering if she was actually simply doing a split on the (black) floor, and leaning backwards at the same time. The camera, of course, would be directly above her.
    But it’s just a crazy notion :P


    • RSm540 May 4, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      Oooops, didn’t see Joshua’s post. I totally agree with him ;)

  254. diala chinedu May 4, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I won’t even attempt to guess the details of the lighting but I think its two light sources. One to the upper left and another to the mid right…

    All I came her to say is AMAZING SHOT!!!

  255. RobyFabro May 4, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Ok…, two studio flashes with grids, positioned at 45 deg. angle, behind the subject. Camera set at f.11 at 125/s (low position).
    Very little post production.
    The ballet dancer is called Jane and she skipped breakfast that morning!

  256. Renato Targa May 4, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I would say there’s two crossing strobes with big sources (probably softbox or octa) almost totally sidelighted. One at camera left is slightly from above her (at 45 degrees from her face, not her body, because of the Rembrandt highlight on the cheek), the other one is slightly from below. And they are very fast (expensive strobes, I would say) for freezing her on the air (like 1/1000s of flash duration or faster –other option is the use of speedlights at low power). The post processing is not heavy, but is present: black and white conversion, contrast adjustments and, if it was necessary, some rotation for a better framing. The camera is a pro 35mm digital body (D3s?) but may be a medium format, and the lens is a moderate tele (85mm to 135mm in 35mm equiv) as there is no big distortion between the feet sizes, taken from 12 to 15 feet from the subject. My aperture guess is f/11. Shutter speed not important as the flash duration, just fast enough for killing ambient light.

  257. fas May 4, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Lots of post production work gone in there…

  258. matabum, MaP blog May 4, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    i guess that this pic was taken during the ballet show. so no strobes etc, just theatre lights.
    camera settings: f5.6, 1/250, iso400, 70-200 f2.8 lens shooted on 120mm.

  259. Aleeya May 4, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    She’s suspended from a crane by lots of cables over Central Park which means post processing superpowers must be used. You’re using a telephoto lens because the crane got stuck haflway down and a fast shutter and a tripod because of a strong breeze frome the southwest is causing motion blur.


    You’re below her shoothing through a very very clean clear surface. She is lit from the sides but more behind her at an angle to give shadows on the front of her body. High ISO, aperture 2.8, sync shutter speed.

  260. Patrick Brosnan May 4, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    We do this all the time at dance schools. A cross lighting from behind setup. A strip light on right rear corner. A sofbox likely off the left rear side a little elevated. Gobos preventing spill on your background/floor. The two additional lights from low add punch to the mid section while the edge lighting is done by higher sources.
    Great control of the light and shadow!
    The light in the eyes is nicely done.

  261. Jose Valcarcel May 4, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I’m going to go with snap shot, the way I picture it you were probably setting up another shot, up on a theatre Stage Fly tower standing on the Grid.

    You look down at her streaching, on the typically black floor of the Stage and sudently recognized the photo to be made. She is lit by either some stage lighting or a couple of doors on the stage left open (maybe one of each). Use one of your long lenses (atleast 200) because if you are on the Stage Grid you are probably 60-80 feet above her.

    You probably took some from right above her, but liked the slightly infront/top view better. At post you turn B/W and help the black floor go completelly black, maybe rotate a bit if she was to straight in the frame.

    Or I’m completelly off and your brilliance set up the entire thing….it just didnt look like what I think your set up photos normally look like.

  262. Angelica May 4, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I think that you have two set of lights, one from the left about 45 degrees behind the dancer and it is facing the dancer at 45 degrees from above, facing down on the dancer. The second light is on the rights side of the dancer, this one positioned to the right of the dancer, a bit below the dancer facing directly to the left (from the cameras point of view). The lights are pretty hard, so I´d say that no umbrellas or softboxes were used.

    camera settings: f11, 1/250, iso 200
    post production: b/w, some adjustments to the contrast

  263. Daniel Lalande May 4, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Lucky snapshot…Definitely not.
    Is it lit…For sure.

    How so?
    There are two light sources in the image. One is to the left and one is to the right. Both lights are slightly behind the parallel horizontal. For the light light lighting up the left side of the image, i would say maybe 1-3 degrees from the horizontal line (in other words, just so slightly behind it). I would say no larger than a medium to large grided softbox (in portrait orientation) and approx 6-9 feet away. The center of the light seems to be about the height of her right shoulder. (right shoulder appearing on the left side of the image) There is a little bit of light fall off between the back foot and the front foot indicating the lights were not too close since the light falloff would be greater than appears in the image. If the lights were at a very long distance, there would be virtually no light falloff between the back foot and the front one. The light lightingup the right hand side of the image is a little bit more at an angle from behind. If it was directly to the side, more of the front of her chest would be illuminated. This light would also be in portrait orientation but slightly angle to fllow the lines of her body. . The right hand side of the image seems to have been lit by a grided stripbox or softbox with the top being equal to the height of her hand + a few inches but pointing 20 degrees downwards so that the light falloff just rims the top of the hand. The fact that there’s no light on her hair would indicate that the arm is blocking the light therefore the lightsource can’t be very wide. But with a grided softbox at a far enough distance it could cast a shadow directly in line with her hair. (which seems to be pulled back).

    Let me add one more lighting condition. If the room it was being done in was very large, you would use some type of matt surfaced reflector (white foam or something similar to bouce a little bit of the light back onto her. There is some detail in the shadow area. If it was done in studio, often that reflector isn’t necessary since the light bouncing around inside is enough create that slight fill so you don’t have total black shadows. Looking at the image it definitely looks like light bouncing around since it appears everywhere on the girl. (example, on the hand, (her actual left hand located on the right hand side of the image) an also on her actual right arm.

    Camera settings
    ISO 100 – Although you use Nikon so I’m guessing ISO 200. I haven;t checked to see if some of the new Nikons use ISO. In either case, the lowest ISO possible and a high enough F-stop available that will black out the background. (you’ll want a minimum of F8 for depth of field) but you could go as high as F13 if your lights will allow it – I know your lights will allow it lol, but i meant in general) Your shutter speed will be set to the maximum speed allowable to be set according to your lights. Typically 1/200th of a second. If you have If you are using fancy pocket wizard trickery you may be able to push it a little faster. Either way, I’m sure your Profotos have a short enough flash duration to freeze the action. This is the other reason why I said th lowest possible F-stop to acheive black out. The lower the F-stop, the lower you can set your lights and the faster the flash duration will be.

    The beauty about this shot is it could be shot virtually in any room with or place where you have a large enough space. If you have a 10 foot ceiling in a 25×20 room, you’re all set. Anything bigger and you it’s icing on the cake. You may have to control light bouncing off the walls if all the surrounding walls are painted bright white. If this is done in a very large space, you don’t even need a background. Since all the light is pointing slightly in the direction of the camera, the background acts as a void. Having a large black background would help if any to control the possibility of the light hitting the floor located behind her foot in the image. (although it would be very dim back there if any) But assuming she can jump high enough which it definitely looks like she can, I would say it’s not a major concern. Could it be done in a small room, yes but like i said, you might want to cover some/most of the walls and background with black fabric. If you can’t get a space to shoot this, it could be shot in most people’s backyards at dusk, dawn, or nightt time since the ambient would be low enough not to interfere.

    The camera position
    I would say you are shooting at average height since by the time she jumps, her hip would be near you eye level. I would estimate 85mm on a full frame camera.

    Most dancers are pretty good at being precise with her jumps and looking at the ways her toes are poointed I would say this girl has been dancing for a while and is quite good. So the easiest way would be to set a peice of tape on the floor where she is to start from every time she jumps for consistency, you can use a tripod to properly frame you image, keeping some room for inconsistencies form left to right with the jumps and also in height. Have the girl jump over and over again taking a few breaks in there since it gets tireing jumping over and over. The shot is taken at the top of the jump right when she hits the peak at (at the point where she’s about to come down). It’s at that time there is less movement. This will also help freeze the action depending on the flash duration of a person’s lights. The reason i mention this is becuase my ABs don’t have the best stopping power.

    And finally…Post
    The nice thing about an image like this is that it requires very little post. Convert the image to black and white then dodge and burn any areas you wish to have darker or brighter. But there isn’t much complex photoshop work involved in this image.

    Last of all…I’d like to thank you Chase for all the cool stuff you do for your fellow bloggers. You always have awsome ideas and interesting concepts. I wish i had the time to do the same…someday lol. Hpefully I’m pretty close, if not I’m gonna look like a complete A$$! lol

  264. Daniel Lalande May 4, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Oops…above it says “I haven’t checked to see if some of the new Nikons use ISO.” It should say “ISO 100″ and not just ISO.

  265. Terrence May 4, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    She is in a flying rig. Lit from slightly above left and slightly below right.
    Just unlit background. Somehow she is being steadied so she can hold the pose. Had to be just right for the Rembrandt lighting. Post processing to remove rig and maybe people holding her steady.

  266. Chris Soule May 4, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    High shutter speed, so to catch her without any blurring. Fairly flat image without lens distortion.
    Black backdrop set back ~10′, or far enough to not to get exposure. Possibly even flagged off the lights.
    You lit her camera left and right, with similar exposures (but not necessarily the same distance (greater intensity light on her left side) or angle, judging by the shape or the light and shadows. You needed to light both legs in front and back on both sides- so you used large, diffused light sources.
    The shadow on her left arm and the way the light barely wraps onto the left side of her face but is able to show the shape of the top of her left cheek (and intensity of that side of her right foot compared to the left foot) indicate that the camera-left light that was slightly behind and straight-on or (height-wise) with the subject, plus the bottom of her right arm is barely lit, so it was probably barely wrapping from the back. Camera right light is angled a upward and is more frontal, from the ground up or below whatever she was jumping on (trampoline?) or off of. There is some exposure on her right hand, which is in front of her body, but it doesn’t hit her entire chest or wrap her left arm so was from below, so with that angle, you were able to exposed the inside of her thigh and her left hip, which is just about the lightest part of the image. That light hits the outside of her neck and cheek and almost gets to her chin but falls off the rest of left side of her face as she looks out.
    You may have also bounced back down on top, to expose the top of her hand and left arm as it reached up. Exposure on left and right side were probably set 2-3 stops higher than the center of her chest and face (not necessary to go higher with a white leotard and her skin tone), so you were able to get some exposure on the rest of her face.

    Or maybe you just haphazardly placed some lights and PhotoShopped the bugger until it looked the way you wanted! jk.

    Either way, it’s a great image.

  267. Ashley May 4, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Pretty new to lighting but my guess..

    Certainly not a lucky snapshot, though there may be some sort of luck to the perfect timing and framing of the subject(however I like to call that skill), but definitely an intentional shot. Lit from the right and left. Must be a faster shutter speed to really catch the darks and to avoid blur from movement. Probably a middle range to higher aperture to create such a sharp image. Black and white post production, though it may have been set on camera prior.

  268. Pag May 4, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    My guess is you were shooting from below, with the dancer standing on that thick plexiglas contraption you showed in an old blog post. You’re laying on your back, shooting up through some black material (fabric, cardboard or something else) to kill your reflections. She is lit by two strobes, on her left and right, with enough power to kill the ambient light.

  269. Tom Hoover May 4, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Just to add something different…

    I think the camera was a D3s running 8 fps or more. You turned the strobes down to get shorter flashes thus catching the motion. We know strobes from Elinchrom and others will keep up with the frame rate. Shutter speed doesn’t mean much, the lights are doing the work.

    This lets the dancer do more than just jump in one place. You get to pick the frame you like.

    Also, if you knew the final picture was going to be B&W, ISO doesn’t mean much either. Black and White lets you bump the ISO without compromising the image quality…. actually a little ‘grain’ looks good.

    However, too high an ISO and you would catch to much ambient light. Balance ISO and a short flash duration to stop the image. Also, a little ambient makes it easier for the dancer.

    Looks like two lights, left and right and you shot from slightly below.

  270. Stevens May 4, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    2 lights and shot through glass on which she was standing and you are obviously shooting from the floor.

  271. MG May 4, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    How did I make this picture? -Feels like it is a medium-format camera

    Is it a lucky snapshot? – Perhaps, but due to a process. I guess more importantly, you let the subject do her thing and tried to capture the moment naturally vs. having it staged.

    Is it lit? – Yes.

    If so, how? – Camera left is lit from the top of the subject while the right is lit from the middle-bottom-back

    The camera Settings? – Shallow depth of field, multiple exposures. fast shutter speed, low ISO (suggesting a fast lens)

    The direction? – Subject is arcing right (towards the photographer). Photographer is to the left of the subject, height focused somewhere around shoulder and neck level

    Post production? Yes. Minimum – but yes, maybe to bring some detail out of the face shadows

    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image. I would need to gauge the subject’s style, jump and “hang time” and try to ascertain the most dramatic angle. Consistency of the lighting would be key here, giving the dramatic shadows against the black back-drop.

  272. Danny Bailey May 4, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Two Strobes

    Left high pointed down through soft shoot through

    Right low pointed up through soft shoot through

    F 11 – 50mm lens – 1/500th sec shutter

  273. Polo May 4, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Two lights, one key light (left of pic) and a rim light (right of the pic) f11 and 1/400s
    You shoot in burst mode so this image is the best of a series. Postproduction: add contrast
    Cheers! :D

  274. Barbara May 4, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    wow, amazing game.
    so, 2 strobe one on left (your) a little bit from above and ahead, one on the right maybe a little bit from under. Both strong light with a bit of diffusion. Shutter time short (125 or 250), F closed (11 or 16) and ISO on 200. The lens shoudl be a 70mm or 100mm if on 35mm camera. A little bit more than “normal”. Your position is quite close to the subject, little bit under. A black background or not illuminated. High contrast b/w post-processing.

  275. Shaun May 4, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Ok, So I am assuming that she is standing on her left toe leaning forward other leg raised behind her on a plexi floor similar to a lot of Chase’s dancer images.

    I am going to guess 2 light sources even power, I am going to say beauty dish with a grid positioned a fair distance from the subject. One camera left positioned behind the subject slightly. The other camera right, likely a bit behind the subject as well. I am going to guess camera settings at 1/250 or even high speed sync’d. Lens I am guessing 150-200mm (35mm equivalent) at f8.0-11. I am also assuming that the post was minimal and done in aperture to convert to BW with a little dodge and burning if necessary.

  276. Wendy May 4, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I haven’t read the comments but this is my take. Beautiful shot. Dancer is on the floor doing the splits making sure her back foot is turned up to look like her knee is bent. You are shooting from above. Strobe lit back slightly left and front left.

  277. Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    My humble guess is that it is general stage lighting, shot with at f/3.5 ISO 400 snapped @ 800 so you could crush the background curtains creating that “outer space” look. I believe this to be true as I shoot photograph dance at competitions and this is the relief of lighting I try to create with every shutter release. As for post, all I am certain of is cropping and grey scale.
    Fantastic shot!

  278. John Dart May 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Stag Leap, light at left is at 3 o’clock, light at right is at 2 o’clock 250th f16. No post other than BW and levels mid slider to blacken the back ground

  279. Greg Beams May 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Here goes:

    The front of her front foot is dark and flat which leads me to believe that she was posed on some type of a clear box/platform above the camera. I suspect her right hand (camera left) was resting on something that allowed her to hold the pose as effortlessly as her facial expression implies. The angle of the camera and its position makes it look as though she is jumping through the air with her right leg in the lead but in actuality her right foot is on the floor (clear box/platform) with her right leg supporting her. and she is bent over – not jumping.

    The main light was camera left (her right) and higher than her. body. The angle of the pose makes it appear as though the light is behind her but again, that is the camera angle more than anything else. There is a second light camera right (her left) creating the same illusion of being up and back but it is more to camera right. No fill light in front so as to create a more dramatic contrast and to allow the other two lights to accentuate her pose. Probably played with the intensity of the light to get the contrast you were after.

    The photo is pretty sharp throughout but the front foot is slightly blurred as compared to her hands/arms and so I am thinking F4 or 5.6 with a shutter speed of somewhere around 50 and ISO of 400 but I would have to play with it to get the effect – hard to say without a camera in my hand.

    Post prduction was to remove the background, whatever she was touching to balance herself and any remnants of the clear box/platform she was standing on. You probably shot in color and converted to black and white and then played with contrast and levels to get some more drama out of the contrast.

    That’s all I got for now – good luck to me :)

  280. Jeremy May 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    strobe under body stage left with large soft box, and maybe a reflector above for fill. large light source stage right. f11 at somewhere around 250th of a second. She is fully jumping, and its great timing, maybe a still from a video. Post production was done in LR or ACR, boosted the contrast, blacks, and clarity.

  281. Dylan Alvarez May 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Here are my two cents: That’s a half stag jump, so Chase would be slightly higher that her… The torso is never that forward in ballet, so that rules out the plexi-glass. As far as the lighting, it looks like there’s a light on either side of her… Your favored “sandwiching” method. Both of them with grids for harsher, direct light. Chase is probably on a ladder too… And then the backdrop is most likely black velvet to absorb and not reflect as much light as possible. This is definitely not a lucky snapshot, this is planned and carefully organized in the thrown-together style of Chase Jarvis. I’d say this is at about 1/200 @ f/11? Then boosted contrast and desaturated color in Aperture. Very minimal post production. Otherwise, a very impressive shot, I love it!

  282. Kevin Lamb May 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    How did I make this picture?

    Is it a lucky snapshot?
    Is it lit?
    If so, how?
    Sandwich Style –
    Strip Soft Boxes on either side of model, and grid spot on left for her face
    The camera Settings?
    ISO 200
    400th @ F9
    The direction?
    Leaping Ballerina,multiple uses from Ballet Company to stock imaging
    Post production?
    Pumped the “Drama” in with aperture and PS burn
    Very cool image, wish I’d taken it.

  283. Joe May 5, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Nikon D3X
    ISO- 200
    1/320 sec
    200mm focal length
    2 Lights (one on left- one on right with no soft box)

    She probably had a spot to jump at, so I feel this is an action shot with plenty of focal depth of field to keep her sharp.

    I would imagine this was done in a gym or something with a lot of space. You probably Photoshopped the background out (bleacher and such).

    Nice shot!

  284. Chrtistoph May 5, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    If this was done with her leaping, you are not a photographer; you’re a wizard. The subtle shadows on her leg? That doesn’t say chance to me.

    I’m guessing splits on the ground, a bare, maybe diffused strobe on camera right 45 deg behind, softbox slightly below her head ~60 degrees behind, bit higher power than the other.
    I’m gonna say f10-11 but maybe more as she’s pretty sharp throughout… 1/250, ISO100-200 (lowest native ISO, depending on the camera it was shot on). >135mm focal length shot from high up… however high to fill the frame, cut out in post and composed on black background.

    If, though, this wasn’t setup up similar to this and an actual jump, and you got the shadows, the expression on her face, perfect posing of her hands, body and the jump all in one shot, my mind is well and truly *blown*. Hell, even as a staged shot, this is absolutely wonderful, such a beautiful image.

    Well done, sir! You are a gentleman and a scholar :P

  285. Daniel Solorio May 5, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Black Seamlees
    Direction: Agreement on the move performed
    Medium to big softbox at Camera left
    Strip light to the right
    Both gridded
    Broncolor A-Heads

    Camera settings
    1/250 sec
    Nikon D3s
    Pocket Wizards

    Aperture basics
    B&w in photoshop “ChaseJarvis cocktail”

    Lucky Shot?
    I guess so, I think she probably miss the intended light spot by and inch or so plus some rotation, that’s why we got that massive shadow in front side of the body that turned out to be really interesting.

    I really enjoy this exercise. Thanks everyone

  286. Shannon Wimberly May 5, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Lit…..two banks, one camera right behind the subject at, maybe 45, for rim lighting….. the other camera left, closer to equal with the subject…… I would say f-8……. s 250……. ISO 400. POST: maybe punching the blacks up with curves……

  287. Quavondo May 5, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Large soft box on the left, 3/4 behind her. Strip box on the right side, a little lower than the large softbox on the left to light the bottom portion of her body. The light is position a little behind her so it doesn’t light up her front or face. It’s also a stop higher than the left light, or it’s closer to the subject than the left light. There’s a bounce card in the left front to get catch light in her eyes. Depending on what camera you use, you prob shot at 200th of a second to stop motion, can’t go any higher to avoid the mirror. F8 to get the depth. ISO 100. Shot on black background.

  288. Clint May 5, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    My guess,

    2 hard lights, one either side and both slightly behind model.
    f8 or so, 250th
    shot from low angle with model “jumping”
    but i also like the plexiglass idea
    shot on black background

  289. Moritz May 5, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Ok, without looking what others said now so I can give my honest opinion…
    Is it a lucky snapshot? – I doubt it, but I guess it took a number of jumps for the poor girl to get the look you got in the end

    Is it lit? Yes
    If so, how? my guess would be 2 strobe lights with long narrow softbox, full power or near full power to get the fast shutter required

    The camera Settings? no motion blur so 250 at f11 to get the shaddows

    The direction? she knows how to jump, main direction would be after first few jumps to get her arms down a bit and where to look

    Post production? besides the obvious black and white and contrast i think some smoothening of the skin and some curves

    all together, well done

  290. Michael May 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m going to say shot from above, looking down onto her as she jumps. Two hard lights angled upwards to her, one from front left, one from rear-right. I guess 500th, F8-11. PP to keep the shadows black.

  291. Alex Pletcher May 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    There is a strip light on both sides of the dancer, and I believe she really is jumping… Both lights are 10 ft. away from the subject and are located a bit more toward the background, not exactly on the same plane she is and angled toward her. The position doesn’t let light on the side of the arm that we can see and doesn’t let light fall on her chest. In the case that she is jumping, she would’ve had to have been in the air at the same point relative to the lights to get the same lighting every time.

    F8 250th on a black background, you were crouching with the camera and the lens is probably at 70mm or so.

    There was probably a point marked at where she should jump to get in the right position. I think you made the darks darker and the lights lighter in tone curve to get more contrast, and obviously converted to B&W. Good idea having the light illuminate the face but not the whole right arm.

  292. TylerCollins May 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Nikon 24mm f/1.4g lens,Iso 400, total skill, black backdrop, Amazing composition, photoshop to darken backdrop and shadows, mini pod, she is jumping, soft box camera left, nikon d3x

    Just guessing i have no clue

  293. Hang May 7, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    Taken standing below stage during a performance or rehearsal using existing stage lights. Camera Settings: iso 1600, 1/125 – 1/250, f2.8.
    Post: simple black and white conversion. Luck and Good timing.

  294. Q Master May 7, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    How did I make this picture?
    The model sitting down in a split position. Shot from above!

    Is it a lucky snapshot?
    No, it was prepared.

    Is it lit?

    If so, how?
    Soft light lower left
    Hard light upper right

    The camera Settings?

    The direction?
    (Diagonally lightning)

    Post production?
    Little to none, sharpening, contrast, b&w

    Whatever details you think are needed to make this image.
    Black canvas, model, tutu, 2 lights(flashes) with stands, a ladder, a Nikon D3X with CLS.

  295. Jon May 7, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Actually, just looking at this again, for me, what probably makes this shot versus other imaginary versions that may or may not have been produced is the fact that the fingers of her right hand are lit so nicely – which if the lighting is as simple as I think, is not lucky exactly, but would certainly make this picture the pic of a bunch, where that had might have stayed in shadow.

  296. Nonsence May 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I´d say she´s on he floor and the photo is taken from above her… because of the shadow in the middle of her leg I´d say there are at least two lights (boxes?) on each side… mmm camera settings…. low ISO if she was still then the other setting does not really matter… F8 maybe?

  297. Saneesh May 9, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Simple lighting…. not lucky but tried few times to get the right shot. one light, left high and one right low lights… and you are probably low or on the ground.


  298. John May 9, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    So, you expect 25000 comments? When do you post the response Chase?

  299. Michael Montalto May 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    First, due to the nature of the post, I refuse to read other members comments until you reveal how you did it.

    Second, this is a rad idea!

    Because it’s dance I dont’ think you’re shooting at a standard shutter sync speed. I would think you are shooting hyper-sync. This actually should add to the fall off of the light and contribute to the extremely dark background. The shadow on her front leg is very revealing in the placement of your lights. Because there is a shadow that runs the length of her leg, I can see that you used two lights.

    It looks like:

    Light 1: Camera right. Below subject, angled upward
    Light 2: Camera left. Behind subject, angled downward

    I amost want to say that you used grids for this or that you set your flashes to a very narrow spread. I say it because of the way the light isn’t wrapping around her completely.

    You know what..this is actually pretty fun!

    Because she is totally in focus and


    ISO 100
    Shutter Speed: 1/500th sec

    That is my best guess.

  300. Fabio Giraldi May 10, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Hi Chase! :)

    My guesses:

    1. Photo made from strobe light only (no ambient).
    2. no.2 big soft light sources (softboxes and/or octabanks) from back left and right.
    3. background: the frame covers a portion of wall behind the leaping subject. The wall could be either near (in which case it is dark in color) or far (and either dark or light).
    4. Shutter speed: max synch speed.
    5. Moderate tele lens at “strong” aperture (let’s say amidst f/8 and f/16).
    6. Camera in front of the subject.
    6. Moderate post production, aimed mainly in raising the overall contrast.

  301. Matthew Kieffer May 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Skipping all the many comments. 1 large softbox or strip to camera left -30 degrees behind subject – f/8 – f/11. Camera right…kicker light (medium softbox) pointed at a 20-30 degree upward angle and slightly behind subject. Appears to be same power for both. Blacks were taken down in RAW processing, Slight bump to midtones. maybe exposure + .1-.3. A little dodge and burn. Lights were probably either Prophoto or Broncolor to freeze action in air. Now to see how close I am.

  302. brian August 7, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I saw “Deconstruct 5.0″ is out… edit this original post and include a link to the “solution” when you can. I don’t know how else to find it…. I’ve looked. Thanks.

  303. Andy Beck August 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Great shot! It does look like you tilted there but the diagonal composition is fantastic. It fills the frame well.

  304. Ricky August 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    2 lights. Main light will be Fromm a boom at the top right and bottom front fill light on the left. Both on soft boxes probably 80×160 and 80×80. F13 at 1/125. Slight dodge and burn during post processing.

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