Foto Ruta is now offering tango tours and shoots. In light of our new tour we wanted to share our best tips to photograph tango.
If you’re visiting Buenos Aires at any time of the year, chances are you’ll be exposed to the Tango. Yes, the Tango. The traditional pride of all porteños, the most sophisticated way to seduce the object of your affection, and one of the most difficult subjects to photograph ever…apart from taking stills during the Tour de France. Also difficult.
So how do we photograph tango free of blur, grain, or so much frustration we’d rather just do the dance? Here’s how:
1. Shoot on the highest ISO possible to avoid grain.
Most newer cameras can handle ISO 1000 hand held before we start to get grain or “noise” on the image. Test the threshold of your ISO and shoot as high as possible without compromising the image. It will allow you to make the most of what available light there is. If you’re not sure what ISO, check out our quick guide to ISO to learn the basics.
2. Use SPOT metering to get the right exposure.
The majority of the time we want to meter for the entire frame. But if light is scarce and your priority is the dancers, then you’ll want to switch to spot metering so you know you’re getting the best exposure on the tango itself.
3. Focus on just one detail
The tango is intimate, it’s passionate, and the images should reflect that. Sometimes a detailed shot of just two hands clasped together, red lips slightly parted, legs intertwined, a partially shadowed face, or even the tip of a high heel shoe can capture what the tango is really all about. Seduction.
4. Go backstage
If there is anywhere in the world where you might do well getting in behind closed doors, it’s Buenos Aires. No doesn’t really mean no, people. It means ask again and offer 100 pesos. Some of the best shots we see of dancers, at weddings, at a sporting competition, or of models happen out of the limelight. See if you can capture a bit of this by taking a different point of view (POV) or exploring your options.
5. Movement can be your friend, not just your enemy
The tango is a dance afterall and that dance involves movement. We hate blurry images when we want them to be static, but there is nothing wrong with a little blur on a tango image if it looks as if it’s purposeful. Slow your shutter speed to less than 1/80 or pan your camera in the direction the dancers are moving. Experiment, its digital. you’re not paying per picture. give it a try. For more on shutter speed and how it captures movement, check out our quick guide.
Tango tours from Foto Ruta visit a selection of the city’s tango inspired locations. This includes tango inspired street art, a milonga and ends with a chance to shoot a professional tango couple in a unique location. For more information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org