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Meet with the dance committee several weeks before the dance date to discuss the theme and the basic design of the background setting.

A three-dimensional set is far more attractive than a plain colored backdrop. Colored seamless paper is a good way to start. Make sure it is wide enough so you won’t run out of background when you stand back far enough to compose the couple on the ground glass (approximately 16 ft.) To get the three- dimensional effect add a trellis, fence? or furniture along with balloons or streamers. This will help add depth to the picture. Put small X’s on the floor, so your couple will quickly see where to stand. If the theme of the dance can be repeated in the set decoration it will add to the sentiment of the setting and increase interest in your photographs.


Make sure your camera is in good condition and that it is on "X" setting for strobe. Always have another camera of the same format with you as a back-up.

To assure you of the correct cropping it is wise to tape a mask on your ground glass viewer. Be sure to center your subject and leave a little space around them for breathing room.

Always use a tripod and mark your camera position with tape on the floor. Do not move your camera (or lights) once you have begun. Check the focus on each couple.


Well in advance of the dance, decide how you are going to light your subjects. Make sure your equipment is in good repair and have a suitable back-up just in case of bad luck. It’s best to run your strobe off a 110 line (rather than a battery), if your equipment will do so.

If possible, run a test with the equipment you plan to use, to check for the correct exposure.

Remember to place your lights so the couple will be evenly lit-full length. Keep your subjects far enough away from the background and your lights high enough so the shadows will not fall across the background area. On elaborate sets a background light may be used.

Once your lights are in place make sure they remain constant throughout the entire dance. Tape marks on the floor work here too. Always bring extra sync cords and extension cords.


Make sure you have an adequate supply of film for the entire job. The film must be of the same date and emulsion batch to assure consistent color balance and density.

Remember to number each roll immediately after exposure to assure match-up with the sheet.

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