Hi guys, Tracy here. I thought I’d put together a few of my favourite hints and tips for shooting your own dance photos. I feel like I’m *kind of* putting myself out of a job here, so let me start by saying: OBVIOUSLY… you can’t go wrong with a professional photographer ;)… you are always going to get the best possible photographs that way. But for those of you who are just starting out, or who can’t afford a professional photo shoot at the moment here are a few pointers to help you get some great shots.
- The first thing I do when I’m planning a photo shoot is put together an inspiration board. It can be anything that inspires you – mine usually includes a random mix of dance photos, stills from favourite movies, tear outs from fashion magazines, cute illustrations and, well… just about anything that I come across that inspires me. You don’t have to put them up on a board, just have the print-outs/cut-outs on hand for the photo shoot when you need to draw upon some inspiration :)
- The next thing to think about is the time of day for the shoot. It’s generally best to shoot in the morning or in the afternoon. Anytime between 11am and 2pm the sun is very high in the sky, and you’ll end up with some creepy looking shadows on your face (especially on headshots!!). So it’s best to avoid a midday shoot if possible - however if you absolutely can’t shoot at another time of day other than the middle of the day, try to find a shaded area where the sun does not cast deep, dark shadows.
- One more important thing to think about while you’re planning the shoot is your outfit(s). Think about the look and feel you are trying to achieve – if you are doing a hiphop shoot pick a spunky outfit that really shows your attitude; if you’re doing a ballet shoot choose something fitted and elegant that shows off your lovely lines. The biggest mistake you could make is to do a beautiful ballet pose, and it can’t be seen because it’s hidden under your baggy clothes… WHOOOPS! Remember, always give yourself a few options to play with on the shoot day in case something about the outfit is not working, and of course don’t forget your hair and makeup to complete your look.
- Now some tips for the actual shoot. Try to find a location with a variety of backdrops to choose from. Busy backgrounds are fun and can work well, but just be careful that the dancer does not get lost amongst a “too busy” background. I like to try shooting the same pose in different locations to see what suits it best, but generally if you’re trying to show off your technique and skill you can’t go wrong with a nice plain background (sky, a wall etc…). Keep an eye out for trees or poles in the background that can sometimes unfortunately make it appear like the dancer has sprouted something out of the top of their head (funny, but not the greatest example of your awesome dance technique)
- A few rules I LIVE by when it comes to posing:
- Play to your strengths – do what you are best at, what you can do well and what you enjoy doing. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but if you know you can’t do a certain pose to perfection, maybe give it a miss for this photo shoot, until you perfect it (and you WILL one day :) ). Choose poses that show off your best dance qualities.
- That being said: try new things! Don’t afraid to jump around, shoot from different angles, face different directions. If it’s not working, you can always move on, but don’t be afraid to try!
- Lastly, I want to talk about Photoshop. It can be a great tool to enhance your photos (I know I couldn’t live without it!!), but if used in excess the results can be disastrous! The best way to look at it is “a little goes a long way”... if in doubt NO Photoshop is always going to be better than a heavy handed, dodgy application of colour saturation, contrast, skin smoothing etc…
Generally, if you can tell an image has been photoshopped, it’s been photoshopped too much. Photoshop should be used to subtly enhance, not dramatically alter an image.
OK, well I hope this has been helpful to you guys. Remember to enjoy yourself and just have fun with it! If you are enjoying yourself, it will show through in your pictures, and you will always get a great photo as a result (trust me!). Make sure you post your photos on our Facebook wall, I’m looking forward to seeing your amazing work!
HAPPY SHOOTING! :)