1. Hire a professional photographer who specializes in Dance Photography. The industry agrees with me on this... dance photography is the combination of two very distinct disciplines. It's important to find a photographer experienced in working with dancers. The dancers that I have worked with will tell you that I help them translate what they do in a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional photograph. Dancing on stage, at the barre or in center is much different than hitting a dance pose for photographs. We build our poses from the ground up starting with the feet and going all the way to the tips of your fingertips making sure that all of the angles look good in two dimensions. Dance photo sessions take such a long time, because every single pose is very detailed. A photographer that specializes in any other genre simply will not have the skills to effectively pose you for photos or the knowledge to look for details that showcase your technique. I know that you want to look your best and it's my job to help you get the shots that you will love!
2. Carefully consider your wardrobe. What type of look are you going for? Are you more classical or contemporary? Do you want something edgy or romantic? Will you be using the photos for your personal enjoyment or for auditions? If the photos are for auditions, what are the requirements for the school or company that you're auditioning for? These are all important questions to answer before deciding on outfits for your photo shoot. A long flowing skirt will enhance movement beautifully. A strong, edgy outfit will give you that sharp modern look. Don't choose anything that you cannot comfortably move in. The last thing that we will want is to restrict your movement. Taking time to put a lot of thought into your session will go a long way to produce the results you want!
3. Collaborate for posing. Dance photo sessions are a collaboration between the photographer and the dancer. Come ready with some poses in mind that play on your unique strengths. It's very important for you to communicate to me what you would like to do with your dance session. Some dancers are dramatic, others are looking for a bright and vibrant look. I will make lighting and background choices based on what you tell me about yourself. Some dancers are very flexible and others are extremely strong. Poses that reflect your strengths and dance personality help to make your photo shoot unique to you. I will have dance poses on hand, but I always recommend coming to the session with poses in mind. I will often ask you to show me the pose before I even pick up my camera. I will tell you what works and what doesn't. If something is not quite right in the pose, I can help you to tweak it so that it looks great in a photograph.
4. A word about safety. I am a stickler for safety. Before we even begin a session I will ask you to warm up your body for at least 15 minutes with dynamic stretching. It is simply not safe to go into poses without preparing your body first. Throughout the session we will begin with two supporting legs, progress to one and then finish with more advanced poses, much like what you might do in class. If you have any concerns or pain issues, I need to know about it before we start. Also, there is a lot out there on social media these days and dancers often come to me with crazy, contortionist poses. I know that you want amazing photos, but doing anything that risks injury to your body is just not worth it. Getting great photos is not about shocking stunts. It's more about beautiful, clean lines. In fact, I believe this is important to consider not just for your photographs, but in dance in general.
5. Take your time and have fun. Dance sessions take a lot of time to get the shot. Expect to work on the same pose several times until you are happy with the results. Don't get discouraged if something isn't working. If a pose isn't working, we will just move on to the next one. This is totally normal and part of the process. My dancers tell me that my photo sessions are the most fun that they have had dancing in a while. It is a completely different dance experience and we literally often laugh to the point of tears. I love collaborating with dancers...combining the art of photography and the art of dance results in some truly beautiful and powerful images.
My dance sessions typically book at least one month in advance. This gives us a lot of time to plan to make your dance session a success.
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