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Archive 2021 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain

  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Congratulations to friscoron for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 9 votes - View Previous Winners



In the spring of 2020, the state of IL shut down non-essential businesses for 7 weeks. This was all going down during my dance recital portrait season, which normally generates more than 40% of my annual revenue in a 6-week period. And it all went away. I was in my second year in a 3250 sq foot studio, so I had some pretty good overhead.

It was really disappointing as I had some new dance schools lined up, and I was set for a very, very good year.

By June, things were bleak. My landlord let me slide for two months of rent. I was barely skating by. My editor took the summer off.

I had to come up with a plan to replace that revenue. I wondered if it was time to get the rain machine going, and then I thought why not add color powder. So I brought some of my senior ambassadors who were dancers into my studio for a practice run. The results were okay, at least by today's standards, a year later. I posted some of those original practice shots in an FM post last Sept.

In Oct/Nov, I ran 10 days of rain machine sessions, and 10 days of color powder. I have a good amount of followers on IG and dancers began coming to me from several states away for these sessions. I decided to do these sessions 3x a year, and the second time was Jan./Feb, and then again this summer.

Everything just blew up. The sessions were selling out, and I was not selling them on the cheap. Almost every session had add-on sales.

With the rain machine, one of the things that really made a difference was throwing water at or around the dancer while he or she was hitting her peak moment. And parents and fellow dancers LOVED throwing the water with our buckets. People were having a blast at these sessions. The shots were immediately displayed as I am tethered to a 55-inch display.

Entire teams were booking me. Last summer, I essentially laid off my one editor, which was okay as she usually cut her hours in the summer to spend more time with her kids. This summer, she had to work way more hours than we anticipated, and I had to hire on two more editors, an office coordinator, and I hired a dancer to cull my dance images as I just didn't have time to do that anymore. I had to buy three new computer work stations to keep up with the demand (or try to), and was able to get everyone BenQ monitors so we were all looking at the same thing.

With color powder, I really learned how to light the dancers, and then I had to break down whatever pose or action they were going to do, and show them how they could kick or throw the powder, while still maintaining proper dance techniques. In a very short time, I really understood how to work the powder, and how to coach the dancers. And I had all sorts of athletes come in as well. I was able to work with dancers as young as 5 years old.

I shoot the rain and powder on the same 16x20 foot spot. My floor is concrete, so I have cheer mats under it in case they slip and fall. I mainly use my three lights: two small gridded strip boxes at 45 degrees behind the dancer, and one behind the dancer but mounted on the ceiling so pointed down close to 45 degrees. I then had two more lights with large gridded strip boxes that would light the dancer from the sides, or from the front whenever they toward the camera.

I'll go ahead and tell you my marketing secret, because as the leader fo Pas de Deux Photo, an international community of dance photographers with a focus on education and community, I've already held several workshops on doing these shoots. I spent $0 on marketing on this. Just basically posted them on social media. But that would only go to my circle of followers. What happened is that when dancers came for these shoots, I encouraged them to take their own pictures, or videos, do TikTok videos, whatever, and all I asked is that they tagged me. So Moms began posting all over Facebook talking about this amazing experience and showing their pictures, and it opened me up to a whole bunch of dance groups.

So now, here are way too many of my rain and color powder shots. Many of them are pretty much real, very little added to it. Some I edited the hello out of them. You can really do a lot with color powder. I learned a lot of new tricks to make the colors vibrant and edgy.

So here you go:

1. Getting headshots at the end of a color powder session is always fun.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393070677_087eae0e7d_b.jpg

2.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394568324_221217c5a3_b.jpg

3. Even the young girls can pull these off with a little guidance. Very little added into the angel wings, if anything.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393070842_4ac1ec3b58_b.jpg

4. In the following sequence of rain shots, this high school dance team came in, fresh off winning the IL state championship in dance, and they LOVED throwing the water. Pretty amazing that all this water is real, and it was thrown by someone who had never done it before.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394840105_fc24a6156f_b.jpg

5. No water thrown here, but insane he could pull off an aerial this good in water.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394562164_1d358be474_b.jpg

6. The throw of this water is real. I told the girl to hold her hand out like that and look at her hand, and I told her friend to try to throw the water into her hand, and this happened. And I timed it perfectly.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393831416_3b965577a9_b.jpg

7. Water thrown in a different style.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394840270_ebb4341c1b_b.jpg

8. I love my rain headshots.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394092028_6c20436208_b.jpg

9.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394562359_7c1a4a9ce0_b.jpg

10. Some of my most popular rain and powder shots were not sophisticated dance poses or moves, like this one.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394092148_69119d039e_b.jpg

11. This dance school booked me for color powder, so I asked the owner to come in later, and we ended the color powder session with this one, our last Feb color powder shot. One of my faves. It's mostly all real, just really enhanced in LR and PS.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394082568_d07e54bbe8_b.jpg

12. Sometimes we just have an explosion of powder, and it looks insane.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394828800_025a872eed_b.jpg

13.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393052947_7feb6d2dfd_b.jpg

14.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393812436_043e6dff2a_b.jpg

15. This one is from my Feb powder session, and I look at it and laugh at how differently I'm already editing these.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394073453_7de1a4aebc_b.jpg

16. Sometimes, I just love how vibrant I can make these colors become. I'm not bragging. I've been editing in LR and PS probably 4-6 hours daily every day the last 8 years or so and a lot daily even before that dating back to 2008, and yet I don't consider myself to be very good in PS.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394060373_94c6f1a8df_b.jpg

17. The floor is very colorful, but the original look was pretty boring. Pushing the colors and various blending modes works wonders on these images.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394051503_0a9817dd01_b.jpg

18. Note the background compared to the Feb powder shot, and you can see how differently I'm handling the backdrop.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394521784_ea978967ba_b.jpg

19. Another fun headshot.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393024852_bc2b53fdcc_b.jpg

20. I often have them do the same movement with the same colors two or three times, and then I pull the powder from all the shots into one shot.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51394522059_238f63d74f_b.jpg

21. The water throw is real. Her mom, a fellow photographer in my area, captured it on video.
http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51393833281_8b5731549c_b.jpg



Aug 21, 2021 at 11:16 PM
gheller
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


These are all off the charts great, but (3) and (21) are truly special.

Thanks for sharing.

g



Aug 22, 2021 at 12:01 AM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Glad to see you doing so well, Ron. Love the pics. And the story.

Agree that 3 & 21 stand out, but all are high quality.



Aug 22, 2021 at 04:44 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Wonderful to read about your success story in these trying times.


Aug 22, 2021 at 05:19 AM
cocodrillo
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Wonderful work and a great mini-tutorial on the process. Thanks for sharing!


Aug 22, 2021 at 06:21 AM
AndrewNYC
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


It makes me really happy to hear stories like this, thanks for sharing


Aug 22, 2021 at 07:26 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Great story and yes Ron it has been a very challenging year and a half or so. The work looks terrific. Great use of talent, persistence and ingenuity to overcome. Well done my friend.
voted...

Edited on Aug 22, 2021 at 09:27 AM · View previous versions



Aug 22, 2021 at 08:45 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Just great unique and creative compositions Ron! Extremely well done and so imaginative!!!
Kudos to you!
Stay well and safe!
Dan



Aug 22, 2021 at 09:11 AM
keepclicking
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Great story and lovely images 👍🏻 UGMV


Aug 22, 2021 at 09:50 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Ron, you're in your own league.

Much goodness ... all the way around.




Aug 22, 2021 at 10:11 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


gheller wrote:
These are all off the charts great, but (3) and (21) are truly special.

Thanks for sharing.

g


THanks, Greg! 3 was a real surprise. To get the angel wings, you have to let go of the powder as soon as your arms start moving, and somehow release the same amount as your arms go up, and then you have to have the wherewithal to stop your arms parallel to the ground. This little girl did all that on the first try!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:37 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Jim Rickards wrote:
Glad to see you doing so well, Ron. Love the pics. And the story.

Agree that 3 & 21 stand out, but all are high quality.


Thanks, Jim!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:38 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Rajan Parrikar wrote:
Wonderful to read about your success story in these trying times.


Thanks! It's important to hear good news in these trying times.



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:39 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


cocodrillo wrote:
Wonderful work and a great mini-tutorial on the process. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks! I'm actually working on a video tutorial on the color powder now. Just need to put it all together.



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:40 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


AndrewNYC wrote:
It makes me really happy to hear stories like this, thanks for sharing


So welcome!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:40 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


airfrogusmc wrote:
Great story and yes Ron it has been a very challenging year and a half or so. The work looks terrific. Great use of talent, persistence and ingenuity to overcome. Well done my friend.
voted...


Thanks so much, Allen!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:43 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Danpbphoto wrote:
Just great unique and creative compositions Ron! Extremely well done and so imaginative!!!
Kudos to you!
Stay well and safe!
Dan



Thanks, Dan! Especially with the color powder, I really feel like an artist, much more so than how I feel as a photographer. The dancer shows me what she wants to do, and then I stand there and imagine how the color powder can play out, and then I direct her what to do. And then sometimes we have happy accidents. It's all good fun and a creative collaboration.



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:45 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


keepclicking wrote:
Great story and lovely images 👍🏻 UGMV


Thanks so much!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:45 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


RustyBug wrote:
Ron, you're in your own league.

Much goodness ... all the way around.



Thanks so much, Rusty!



Aug 22, 2021 at 10:45 AM
rntbot
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · My Covid Success Story -- In full Color and Rain


Nothing but praise from me. Your photos are off the charts! You have such good creativity in your work! Thanks for sharing.


Aug 22, 2021 at 10:52 AM
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