Growing up, I became a dancer at age three and picked up a camera at age nine, so naturally those two passions combined as a I developed as an artist. I have always seen the influence of photography in my choreography, and the influence of dance in my photographs. While fashion and lifestyle work is my new artistic passion, lately I have had wonderful opportunities to revisit my roots in dance photography with some local dancers.
I love to do dance photography because of the artistic freedom I can take with the editing. Whenever I do a portrait session I take the opportunity to utilize post-processing manipulation. This allows me to unleash my creativity and replicate elements of the stage, such as lighting and set pieces, to create stories, theatrical drama, and surreal scenes.
When I am editing a set of dance photos, my main focus is always to draw attention to and highlight the figure, even if the image is an environmental portrait. To achieve this, I follow these three general keys:
1. Desaturation and Tinting
2. Eliminating Distracting Elements
I always eliminate elements that would distract from the figure, even with my onstage images, often removing stage lights that would detract attention. For the above image of Marissa, I utilized a combination of cloning and the patch tool to remove all of the people and other distractions. Now there are no disruptions to the flow of the architecture and its juxapositon with her body.
TIP: I always create a copy of the layer that I am cloning on just in case I change my mind later and need to make a fix! Makes it 100 times easier.
3. Creating Complimentary Backgrounds
I hope you all enjoyed a little insight into how I use post-processing manipulation to create dramatic, cohesive, and sometimes surreal images, thanks for reading!
Karya Schanilec is a Seattle based photographer specializing in fashion, portrait, and performance photography.