Instagram has made the interest in professional photo sessions skyrocket! Many more dancers are scheduling new sessions with new photographers, and many photographers are beginning to dabble in dance photography to fit this niche & interest. But, do you know how to best get ready for your first session? Or maybe your 15th! I have realized some quick tips & tricks that have helped me in preparing for my own personal sessions when I was dancing as well as advice I now give to my future clients.
Below are my 5 tips to prepare for your next dance photography session!
1. Find the right photographer
Research until you have found a photographer that you not only like their work but also feel you will be comfortable spending time with, exploring locations, and you can get on a ‘friend’ level with opposed to just photographer-client name basis. Not every photographer is the “right” one and that is okay! Before you hire someone understand their process, research their work, and know that you will be 110% comfortable spending a couple hours with them. Various personalities blend best with certain individuals, so keep that in mind!
Also, knowledge of the dance world can largely impact the results of a dance session! There are many photographers out there & there are many dance specialized photographers out there, but truthfully there are only a few with adequate knowledge of dance, technique, and the importance of finished lines. Glancing at a photographer’s work will give you a good idea of their abilities in producing both quality images and quality dance images. Pay attention to those details so you will feel confident with the end results but also have a good time throughout!
2. Carefully choose what you want to wear
Feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing will 100% show through to the final product of your dance session (or any photo session for that matter). If you prefer to wear an old costume because of the way it makes you feel, definitely go for it! If you’d prefer to stick to simple shorts & a shirt, then do it. Don’t feel pressure to wear certain articles of clothing because ‘everyone else is’, but instead wear what you are comfortable & confident in.
If you’re wondering what would look best in front of the camera, reach out to your photographer. They will be able to give you ideas & input and may even have a client closet (look out for AshD_Photography’s client closet coming SOON!) that you can choose articles from to borrow.
3. Practice your ideal poses & lines
The best way to prepare for anything is practice, practice, practice. As dancers we know this to be true when it comes to the Nutcracker, your spring show, or when preparing for your YAGP competition. This also holds true for photos! If you have found inspiration through a Pinterest board (check out mine here), or have saved photos on Instagram that you’re drawing inspiration from, practice them before. you. show. up. to. the. session! See what does or doesn’t work best for you & your personal best lines. Just because a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet can do something seemingly perfect in front of the camera doesn’t mean yours will look exactly like hers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice & adapt the pose to fit your beautiful self! This adaptation comes through practicing in front of the mirror, in the studio, or for your friends & family.
Don’t know for sure what accentuates your abilities, technique, & strengths the best? Reach out to a teacher! Your teachers watch you day in and day out and know exactly what will look best on you in front of a camera. They want to see you succeed, so would love for you to ask!
4. Feel confident & don’t criticize every little detail
I know it’s difficult, trust me! But understand that not every picture is going to turn out: and that is okay! Some days your balance is on, sometimes it is off. Sometimes your feet are sore. Sometimes you won’t like your finger here, or your expression there, but I promise that more images will turn out amazing compared to those that don’t! It is so hard not to criticize ourselves when we see our pictures but look for the good instead of focusing on what you perceive to be the ‘bad.’ Understand that in years to come these pictures will be a moment in time captured that you won’t be able to ever get back. Being on the other side of the dance world, I know this to be true. Even if every picture doesn’t seem ‘perfect’ does not mean that it isn’t a moment that you'll want to hold on to!
5. Understand that you’re beautiful & talented
Keep in mind that you are beautiful & talented & an all-around wonderful human being! Photoshoots can be stressful, but they don’t need to be. They should be a way to build yourself up & realize what you are truly capable of. Find a photographer who will motivate you throughout the session & even consider doing a friends’ session. Having someone there who can be ‘backstage’ cheering you on, and ‘sharing the stage with you’ supporting you is always a perk of doing a session with a good friend!
I’ve probably rambled on long enough, but this is my #1 requested topic to blog about, so figured I’d start off as strong as possible! Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to tune in to future blog posts.
Talk to you soon friends! ~Ashley ❤️
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