Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota: A Case Study
16 headshot portraits, several full company images, and 5 action shots over the course of two separate days of shooting…. This is a shoot I did for Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota for their promotional materials .
And the coolest thing was when Marissa, one the lead professional dancers, stated at the end of the second day of shooting, “We like you!”
But to get to this point, I needed to gain a fundamental understanding of ballet.
So I worked closely over several meetings with the directors and the marketing lead to understand what was needed to boost the marketing vibe of the company, to capture the meaning of ballet, and the energy of the dancers.
To this end, I attended a 2-hour workout with the intension of only taking notes. This was an amazing, eye-opening experience that helped me gain an understanding of the subtlety of the dance and allowed me to not only understand the form and movement, but also to pre-visualized how to capture it.
To accomplish everything, two locations on separate days were needed. Excellent production planning was critical.
Production planning was critical: I put together mood boards and inspirational shots and reviewed extensively with the creative directors to nail down the look we needed. We scouted the Down Town St. Paul Landmark Center location and contacted the Center for permits and alternative shoot locations. We then developed a detailed shot sequence and time plan to ensure we could get it all done as we were coordinating 16+ dancers and company support team. The lighting diagrams helped to visualize the final images and setup details: To freeze the form in the movement images, fast lights would be needed. Profoto Pro-10s would do the trick (sorry, had to geek out a little).
The detailed plan was worth it as the execution when smoothly. We set up in the 1000 square foot studio at Twin Cities Ballet for the first shoot.
And took over downtown Saint Paul (literally) for the second, Sunday morning, shoot. This was fun as it was basically a gorilla shoot in front of the Landmark Center.
Yes, we blocked off a downtown street to get ‘er done. But seriously, who is going to argue with 20 ballet dancers in tights and full costume! (Well, full transparency, we didn’t block it off entirely—we did allow traffic through between shots—and we had “permission”.)
A few of the images are here with more at ThomasMcCartney.com. Enjoy…