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#CheckTMate

Hey guys,

I recently got the chance to photograph the incredible dancers that make up Team Millennia, a competitive dance team out in OC. The theme for this shoot was checkered with red accents; I set up a white backdrop with 3 dynalite strobes in one of the rooms at Dance Precisions, TM's home dance studio. I had two lights on the backdrop for a nice clean background, with one black umbrella on the subject. I had to overcome a number of hurdles as the day unfolded, which I'll walk through here for educational purposes (for whomever may be interested).

During set up there was a slight hiccup with one of my backdrop stand joints breaking. Fortunately, I was able to get it fixed with with some assistance of a couple TM newbies. After about a third of the way through the shoot, the on-camera flash head that slaved my 3 strobes suddenly stopped working, even with replacement batteries swapped in. This rendered me unable to use the strobe flash function on the lights and forced me to rely on the 2 working modeling lights out of the 3 heads I had to work with before. The modeling lights are significantly weaker and fixed brightness. I could only adjust the exposure of the light by moving it closer or further from my subject. I was prepared to adapt thanks to my ''nifty-50'' mm f/1.4 lens, always trusted in low light situations due to its fast aperture. Even then, I made sure not to dip below f/2.0 or I'd risk missing focus. One thing I've learned also is that it's better to push my ISO higher in order to shoot at a faster shutter speed, as I left with a number of unusable shots due to slight motion blur. I was trying to avoid unwanted high-ISO grain that would be noticeable next to the clean strobe shots. Thankfully I was able to match the look of the strobes with the modeling light shots with simple white balance adjustments. 

I powered through all the individual shots in one sweep since I lost some time due to the technical issues I encountered. We caught the last of available light once heading outside the studio for the final group shots. It was a great learning experience shooting TM and I think I'm able to say that I've finally gotten more comfortable with my ability to pose and connect with subject in a fast paced environment, thanks to having a number of dance team photo shoots under my belt now. It's definitely been good practice for me since there are so many people that make up the teams I've been shooting.

Enjoy the shots that came out from this shoot and feel free to leave a comment below! Let me know if I was able to provide some educational value for whoever is interested in learning more about photography. I'll probably do some more in-depth blog posts in the future if that's something people would like to see.