Fire performance: photography and videography
About the shoot.
I recently contacted Penny Pyro about doing a collaborative shoot themed around her fire performing. We decided to meet before sunset one evening, not really knowing just how well that would turn out for some of the images. I took with me my trusty Neweer Speedlight, which I had only really used a handful of times at weddings in very dark rooms. Considering I’d never shot with fire, smoke or at night before on creative photo shoots, I was very happy with the results.
Below are a few of the first images I took of Penny’s friend, Farren, whilst she was setting up for her act.
During these shots I was able to test the lighting and already the sun had started to set. Farren told us about shows and events he’d taken part in such medieval-style acts with Knights vs Dragons. It was then that he told us that he also does fire breathing, but was not going to do any on the night. Later on we discussed the possability of arranging a video shoot, but I’ll come back to that later.
Testing the light..
In the above shots with Farren, the sky already had a beautiful orange glow to it, but we were all surprised by what came next. During Penny’s first performance the sun continued to illuminate the sky and created the perfect backdrop for the photos. Though we were intending to just test the light before igniting the props, the resulting images turned out very well!
Once we’d got things set up, Penny proceeded to light her fire sticks and begin the first part of the performance. Below are some shots of her and Farren doing some fire eating.
Low light & silhouetting.
To add something a bit different to the style, I wanted to try using the flash as a back-light to create a kind of silhouette effect. I hadn’t realised how many droplets were produced from the props until I reviewed this in post-edit!
Flaming Fire Fans.
The last part of the official act was Penny and her fire fans. The sound they made was brilliant, each movement created a roaring as the flames moved gracefully around. Whilst spinning the images captured reminded me of Dragon heads.
The Fire Fight!
At the end of the night Penny suggested having a fire fight as a bit of fun. It wasn’t rehearsed at all but made for some good entertainment. Here’s a few images:
This concludes the highlights of the photo shoot. I found the greatest challenges of this shoot when the sun had completely set as it was extremely difficult to maintain focus. Due to the subjects constant movement, the camera’s auto-focus struggled. Manual focusing was also incredibly difficult as I was only relying on the light created by the flames. I am was however extremely pleased with the results and had positive feedback from both Penny and Farren.
Remember earlier I mentioned filming? Well the fun doesn’t end here as we soon organised another shoot to focus completely on capturing some video footage. Below is a compilation of shots from Penny. She brought along the best part of her fire acts including some of the props from the previous shoot. It was a lot easier to capture with manual focus this time, however challenging with nothing but the light of the flames again.
Next up Farren gave us a show with his fire breathing, something which he’d told us about at the previous shoot. Here’s a video reel of Farren:
If you’d like to see more complete acts I uploaded the full sequences to my Youtube Channel
It was a great pleasure working with Penny and Farren. They are both very down to earth, professional and, most importantly in this line of work, safety concious! I look forward to see them around and/or work together again in the future.
That’s all from me for now 🙂
Note: You can find out more about Penny by following her on Facebook