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Fire Performer Photography
The simplest way any photographer can show a fire performer at their most primal is to focus your attention, and thus your viewer’s attention, away from the fire and on to the performer where it must belong.
Fire spinning is a dangerous and beautiful art form. In my experience, far too many photographers obsess over finding the perfect camera settings to capture pretty fire textures and siiiiiiiiick fire spinning trails while they ignore the human performer who is risking serious injury or death every time they light their props.
Below, I’ve compiled a growing list of my best photography tips, tricks, and camera settings to help you improve your photography of fire performers and other flow artists. It is my hope that these methods can help you add a new dimension to your photography. My intention is to help you learn to see past the fire itself in order to photograph the soul of the performer by combining the best photography techniques from photojournalism, sports photography in particular, with different elements of portrait photography.
The best fire performer photographers depict the art and danger of fire performance for maximum visual impact. It’s never about the pretty flames and siiiiiiick textures.
WARNING – DO NOT ATTEMPT
I shouldn’t have to say this, but here we are.
I am an experienced fire performer photographer. Photos taken with fire involved professional fire performers with proper fire safety training, equipment, and procedures in place.
The use of fire comes with inherent risks to life, limb, or property. Any action you take based on any information on this website is strictly at your own risk and I will not be held liable for any loss or damages you caused to yourself or others because you chose to use fire in any way.
TL; DR: Don’t be a bogan wook. Leave the siiiiiiiiick fire trails and fire plumes to the professionals and support them by cheering their performances in person!
How to photograph fire peformers – Tips and Techniques
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers Like a Photojournalist?
The best way to photograph fire performers is to learn the skills unique to photojournalism and sports photography. This is my primary technique.
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers Safely?
Something to ask yourself: is it really that difficult to ask for permission, or are you just lazy, entitled, and possibly predatory? Always. Get. Consent.
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers Like a Soldier?
In Part 3 of this Series on improving fire performer photography, I present to you the Four Fundamentals of Basic Rifle Marksmanship. Wait, whaaaaaaat?
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers On the Move?
We’ll continue learning to think like a combat shooter because Army fundamentals and good fire performer photography fit well perfectly. Here’s how.
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers With Boredom?
Photographing fire performers and flow artists became boring for me a long time ago and that is perfectly okay. In fact, boredom can be a powerful asset in your creative…
How Do You Photograph Fire Performers By Thinking?
Looking for the best camera settings to use when photographing fire performers? I’ll give you a hint. There aren’t any. Read on to see what I mean.
How Do You Photograph Fire Breathers?
Wanna know the best camera settings to photograph fire breathers? HINT: I don’t care about getting siiiiiiiiick fire textures.
How Do You Photograph Fire Fans and Palm Torches?
Here’s how to use fire fans and palm torches as a simple two-point photography lighting system for beautiful portraits and action shots.
The Best Advice for New Photographers
This is the very best advice I can possibly give to new photographers. It may, or may not, involve 120,600 googol years.
Bonus Fire Performer Photography Tip: The Most Important One!
If you want to create the best photos of fire spinners and other flow artists, then the most important thing you can do is to forget about the fire. Learn how to see the human being behind the pretty flames, instead. I promise that your flow artist photography will improve!The Most Important Fire Photography Tip
How to photograph fire performers – TL; DR
Here are the basic steps you need to keep in mind when you’re photographing fire performers. I’m assuming that you’re already reasonably comfortable with the controls of your camera and aren’t trying to use Auto or any of the semi-auto modes to your camera. Photographing fire performers is an advanced style of photography and isn’t for the point-and-shoot or smartphone photographer.
Think like a photojournalist
Learn the skills and techniques unique to photojournalists and, especially, sports photographers. Fire performers move at a fast pace and you should never try to get them to slow down their performance, just for you.
Learn about “safety third” and “consent”
You owe safety to the audience and performer first, the venue second, and yourself third. Get consent from the perfomer(s) as soon as possible. Some don’t like flash. Some are okay with it.
Basic Rifle Marksmanship
Your camera is not a rifle but BRM techniques certainly help. Steady your position, use proper aim, control your breathing, gently squeeze the shutter release. It really works!
Shoot. Move. Communicate.
No, you are not a soldier, but without movement and communication with everyone around you there’s a good chance that you’ll end up more disruptive to the performance than anything else. Don’t be that guy!
Learn to overcome boredom
Believe it or not, once you get over the novelty of trying to capture siiiiiiiick trails with super sharp textures in the flames or yet another narcissistic performer trying to demonstrate their latest tech moves (flow is always better), you can use that boredom to your creative advantage.
Practice your technique until it’s second nature
Muscle memory makes a difference! We’re talking about knowing where the buttons and controls are, how many clicks it takes to dial the control wheel, anticipating a performer’s next move, using back-button auto-focus, the center focus point only, the limitations of your lens (they all have limitations), how far your flash can reach, and so on — all with your head on a swivel and your eyes fixed on the performer.
Want to see more of my photography?
My portfolio features the best of my headshot, portrait, event, and boudoir photography.
Are you looking for an experienced fire-performer and flow artist photographer near Boston, MA to help you refresh your social media, EPK, or performance website with some seriously good photography?
I can confidently assure you that my photography will always focus on the person behind the siiiiiiiick fire trails and pretty lights first.