If you are doing a studio shoot find out in advance what backdrops are available. You want to pick a backdrop that will accentuate your costume choice and avoid a backdrop that your costume will blend into. For example, if you are wearing a black costume you will probably want to avoid a black backdrop.
What props do you use most in your dancing? If you are getting photos as a professional dancer I recommend only posing with props you use regularly and are proficient with so they accurately reflect your dancing for clients who may be booking you. If you are a student getting photos for fun use any props you are having fun learning even if you aren't completely proficient with them yet.
Practice your poses and facial expressions
Find the angles and poses that work for you and practice them in the mirror. It is often quite difficult to come up with poses so you will probably want to find a little inspiration. Here are some ideas:
-Look at other dancer's photos, check your favorite dancer's websites to see what kinds of poses look interesting to you. I have created several pinterest boards for photoshoot inspirations which include solo, duet, and group pose ideas.
- Nadira Jamal has some great tips that she uses for finding ending poses for improvised dance and her advice is also very applicable to photoshoots- she suggests looking at record and cd covers.
- Princess Farhana has aDVD which great resource for this as well.
Practice hair and makeup
You are spending a lot of time and money on your photos and you want to look your best so be sure to practice your look for the shoot just as you would practice your dancing for a show.
If you are comfortable with hair and makeup you can definitely do this yourself. I was never particularly comfortable with either of these things so I usually hire a stylist to do my hair and makeup.
Remember, makeup is critical in photoshoots. The bright lights will wash you out if you forgo it. Wear heavier makeup than you would daily and make sure you contour and highlight to really bring out your features under the lights. If you are doing a costume change be sure to wear makeup that goes with both looks so you can use your time on site more effectively.
A few days before the shoot try on the costume(s) that you intend to wear and check to make sure they fit well and are in good shape. This will give you time to do any repairs that are needed. Make sure your hooks are secure and don't need to be moved. Check for loose threads or beading and fix or trim anything needed.
Get your jewelry, accessories, and props together. Don't forget to iron your veils! Nothing can ruin a great photo quicker than a wrinkly veil.
If possible do a few test shots with a friend to see if you like the way the poses and costume work together.
The next post in the series will give tips for the day of, a sample packing list, and a general photoshoot resources list. In the meantime if you have questions, comments, or any photos to share I would love to hear from you!
My adventures in dance, music, costume design...