Ballerina and bubbles: Why flexibility is important in photography

Color wash image of a little girl ballerina looking over her shoulder in front of a reflecting pool in a gardenWhen you prepare for a shoot you think about a lot of things: the people involved, their personalities, their dress, the location, the lighting, what style of pictures you are going to shoot.  When you arrive for the shoot you take a few moments to check the ideas you created with the current situation. Then you start shooting and everything can change.

That’s pretty much what happened with this little ballerina shoot.  I, admittedly, wasn’t sure how I was going to do a ballerina shoot outside but I decided I was up for the challenge and would do it.

I arrived and while my little model was slipping into her tutu, I went outside to find some appropriate spots without a lot of other people (we were shooting in a museum garden and it gets pretty busy).  I found some great stairs and benches and envisioned her sitting on them doing a stretch. I saw the open grassy area and envisioned her chasing bubbles and showing off her favorite moves from The Swan Princess.

Enter the ballerina, downtrodden.  That’s fine, kids take a few minutes to warm up sometimes so we started with the melancholy shot above. Then she got into the posing mood. The little kid posing mood, not the ballerina posing mood. We moved on to another area that she likes and started blowing bubbles. Lots of bubbles! Then it was a bubble addition.  When did this become a bubble shoot? Just now.

So my ideas of graceful little ballerina poses took a backseat to her idea of blowing lots of bubbles while I took pictures.

And that’s okay.  When you work with kids (or adults for that matter) you have to be ready to adapt and overcome, as my husband says.  I’m still working on the bubble pictures but I have a feeling those are the ones that her parents will treasure, not my perfect ballerina poses.


What unexpected turns have your shoots taken?