Circus Photography Tips and Techniques

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Renowned photographer Joe Macnally takes us to a field in Florida for a shoot using the new Nikon D4. The circus is has actually been built as a set and the lighting rig specially designed to emulate the look of circus spotlights. Take a moment to watch, there are many valuable insights:

Joe has a penchant for bulldogs because they are “so ugly they are cute”. He creates a fun picture rich in colors with the dog posing next to a circus clown. Using Nikon’s CLS (creative light system), a wireless flash system using Nikon SB flashguns, he sets up a main light, a fill light and background lights. The resulting image wonderfully emphasizes the dog’s character. More photo tips and techniques at Kodak.

A somewhat more challenging shoot was that of an elephant with circus performer. As well as using the spot light effects Joe has two very large soft boxes directly above the elephant to give even lighting to the animals skin.

circus photography

Tips for Photography at a Circus

Joe’s shots of a contortionist are created with a black background, contrasting the white costume of the performer and side lit with two large soft boxes.

The film itself was also shot using Nikon DSLR cameras, namely a D4 and D7000.

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