I met Ola @afreakano through prior dance clients who are in hiphop and African dance. Ola is a dancer trained in a variety of different techniques and styles, including classical training, but takes heart to dances like Afrobeat and Bata, from his origins in Nigeria, West Africa. Ola is joining @rejoicediasporadance, a Portland-based contemporary African dance ensemble, for the 2022-2023 season.
It’s a very stimulating experience working with dancers from different ethnic background. We discussed the feels we want to get across, the costumes, and the color choices to support our goal. During the shoot, whenever I proposed a small variation that I felt would look good on camera, I kept asking Ola, “Do you do this in your style of African dance?“ as I want to make sure the movement doesn’t become something else. Ola helped me understand more about Afrobeat and what they share in common with the broader contemporary dance world. Dance photography is such an intentional and evolved process, especially for what we do in studio: it is not a capture. We evolve the movement to make it look good in a still photograph, convey emotions, and also hopefully maintain the authenticity of the dance and the personality of the dancer. It’s a tall order that we strive for in every shoot.
Here are some shots from our shoot. More to come!
We work in a commercial photography studio with a waiting room, a changing room, makeup area and a restroom. The photo area is heated to keep muscles warm.
Here are some recommendations to help you prepare for your session in order to create your best dance photos!
Plan your pose/movement in advance
- Know your strengths and areas for improvement. Choose a pose or movement that you believe you can execute well to highlight your strength. You can look at social media for inspiration but understand that every body is different and achieving an identical pose should not be the goal. Please plan at least five poses/movements in advance. Start with the basics and then build up. During your dance photo session, we will help you to make adjustments and offer suggestions for alternatives.
- If you are doing dance audition photos for dance companies, summer intensives, and college dance programs, you should research and follow the audition guidelines of the companies/programs to which you are applying. We have a list of poses for ballet auditions for your reference.
Choose the right dance outfit and costume.
- Follow the audition requirement.
- When there is no specific requirement, we recommend you consider the style and color that best complement your skin tone and body type, and show off your personality!
- We recommend variety: 2-3 outfits for a full session and 1-2 outfits for a light session. For example, if you are a female ballet dancer, you can bring leotards of different colors and cuts, a tutu, or a light flowing skirt that coordinates with your leotard. You can also bring leggings or pants for a contemporary vibe.
Costumes are a big component of a photoshoot. Be creative and daring! Think about colors, volume, and shape. When in doubt, bring more so we have options to choose from.
- We have a variety of fabrics you can use to complement your movement.
- Bring the props that you want to dance or play with during your photo session. It could be some accessories like a hat or a rain jacket, or an object: people brought poker cards, tree branches, and baking pans in the past and we made creative use of them all. 😀
Hair and Makeup
- When there is no specific requirement, we recommend you start with your hair up and then let it down later in the shoot.
- Light makeup, tone it down a bit from the stage makeup.
On the day of your dance photo session
- Do a warm-up or attend a class before your session.
- Plan to arrive 10-15 mins early. That would give you a cushion for traffic delays. You can use the extra time to change or do a little warm-up.
- If possible, come dressed in the first outfit you’ll be photographed in.
What else to bring:
- A bottle of water to stay hydrated. We have water for refills.
- Hair and make-up products for touch up.
- Any specific footwear for photos
These are the general guidelines. We encourage you to contact us with your specific questions.