I’ve often been asked, ‘How do you photography leaps in your studio?’ The short answer here is, “I don’t.” For several reasons:

  1. It can take several tries to synchronize the dancer’s peak stretch of the leap (apex) with the click of my camera. Her lead up steps may differ each time she does the leap, making the capture of the ‘apex’ of the movement even more difficult. Spending too much time on this will put me behind schedule.
  2. There isn’t enough room in my studio to do this safely.
  3. If you are using a cloth or paper floor, it can move or slide on the landing and takeoff which creates a hazard for the dancer.

Instead of leaps, I recommend jumps. Jumps take off the floor from two feet, and typically land in the same spot that the dancer took off from. By eliminating the ‘travel’ you can better gauge where the apex of the jump will be in order to capture that beautiful stretch in the air.

I count up for the dancer with the jump preparation on 3 and the jump actually happening on GO, or 4. Try this out with your dancers and you’ll likely be getting great action shots with very little practice every time.

This jump takes off and lands in the same spot. The dancer preps on the count of three and jumps on ‘GO’. 1, 2 , 3 GO.