Q – How To Photograph Fire Performers?
A – Always keep moving; don’t be an ass.
In Part One of this series of tips to help improve your photography of fire spinners, we looked at seeing fire performer photography through the lens of a photojournalist as a way to create stronger, more impactful images. After all, the human element is what draws us into any performance. In Part Two, Consent Always and Safety Third come into play, to remind you that a performer is not just a sparkly prop who happens to be spinning pretty fire — there are many factors to be aware of, especially the importance of everyone else’s agency. In Part Three, we began to delve into how to more effectively use the camera by using techniques taught to soldiers as Basic Rifle Marksmanship. You are, after all, shooting people with a camera.
In this post, I wanted to pick up where I ended off with the idea of Kinetic Shooting vs Static Shooting and which is better, as well as how Shoot, Move, Communicate helps to reinforce Consent Always and Safety Third. Ready?..
How and Why to Shoot, Move, and Communicate
TL; DR – Don’t stay in one place. Once you start moving around, don’t be an asshole.
Always keep moving. Staying in one spot is boring for you, and does not help you make a picture interesting, especially one you realize that you happened to pick a bad spot to begin with. That’s it.
Once you start moving and shooting, but you are not communicating with people around you your intentions and gaining their consent as you move around (“S’cuse me, may I take a shot from here?”), being aware of possibly getting in someone’s way (“Am I in your way?”), to apologizing for getting in someone’s way (“Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll get out of your way — my bad!”) then you become fire performer photography can be.
I’ll explain what I mean.