The team at Z Fit Studios are some of my favourite people to work with because we can really let our creativity out of the box.
A nice clean team photo to get things started this group shot is lit with 2 off-camera speedlights space evenly on each side. The bouncing off the ceiling and filling out the room.
Where things get hard is when we start shooting the silk and hoop aerial performances. The finished photos may look dark, but in actuality, the room is reasonably well lit. In post-editing, I separate the background from the foreground subject and darken the photo for a dramatic look.
I have two wireless flashes that I use to fill the foreground subject. The first flash is fill, which stands on a seperate tripod by my side facing almost directly at the subject. Softbox diffusion. Mormally i want to have my fill light angled but because the performers move around so much this would not be ideal for time limited shoot.
My second wireless flash lives in the background as a key light, providing a slight halo around the performers making it easier for me to separate them from the background.
Shooting with mirrors raises the difficulty level and the best way to deal with this is to not worry about where I stand but instead to worry about how the light falls on and off the subject. If I can be seen in the background I just have to remove myself in post-editing.
When it comes to busy or messy backgrounds the best approach is to use a dark high contrast style of shooting, which really helps highlight the performers and their abilities.