When I got asked to photograph the ballroom of the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai filled with dancers, my first thought was how to light the room evenly to show all of the dancers the same. To make creating this images more of a challenge, there was only 5 couples to start of with and I needed to make the room look full. So I started of shooting the ballroom as if I would when I shoot interior, using the same technique to ensure I get all of the detail and ambiance. I knew that once I start flashing strobes that it will change the lighting design of the room witch is not what I wanted.
Once done, I started bringing in the couples one by one. With my assistant dancing with the couple to keep the soft box overhead I photographed them in motion. A series of shots at 1/100 shutter speed to try and freeze the motion and then also a series of shots at around 1/40 shutter speed to create some motion blur. I did the same with the 5 different couples give them each a certain area of the dance floor to fill and soon I ended up with a 108 exposures that needed to be blended together.
Editing: Because all of the images were done in the same room and not moving the camera for the entire time it made blending the images much easier. The selected parts of the individual images were blended together by using layers. Sometimes having to move the layer around to get the dancers into competition. Almost like building a puzzle, “only it’s more fun”.
I always appreciate it when a rewarding project like this comes along; Thank you for the team at Fairmont Peace Hotel.
Hope you enjoy the video I made of the workflow.