Research photos: Look around at photographs that grab your attention. Check out other photographs of dancers for ideas of poses that work. Look at fliers, CD covers, business cards and Website. There is a huge variety of lighting, poses, colors and expressions. Study other photographs and see why certain ones work and others do not. Look at your past photos and see what works well on your body. Think about what message you would like to put across. Do you want to be smiling and giggly or do you want to be moody and emotional and what kind of photographs bring that “look” out.
Practice: What can help your shoot be more successful is to practice in the mirror different poses and facial expressions that you find flattering on you. Take some of your favorite movements and freeze frame it and see at what moment it looks the best.
Get use to making emotional expressions on cue. When you are on stage, you make a wide variety of faces. Capturing that look of joy on film is truly beautiful, but often it feels strange and funny to do that face in the cold setting of a photo studio. When you perform, be aware of the moves and faces you do and try to think about them isolated in a photo shoot setting. These movements will be a level of life and excitement to your photo.
The more you model the better you get. I recommend doing as many photo shoots as you can. Modeling is an art in and of it self and it is very hard work. The first couple of photoshoots I had of my self I thought I was a really good model. Now, X number of photo sessions later I look back at my first shoots and see just how much I needed to improve and know myself in front of a camera. Still photography is capturing a fleeting moment or expression; it is totally controlled by the inspiration of the model and the split second moment.
You may need to do a particular movement over and over- in hopes to catch it just at the right moment. It takes effort to do that movement over and over – and keeping it fresh and “in the moment”. It is very different than performing.
Beauty prep: Do not try to do a crash diet two days before the shoot. Doing that does not do much to the look of your body, other than make you look sallow. Getting your body and skin ready for a photo shoot days in advance is important. Drink lots of water. It will cleanse and flush your skin. The night before, get plenty of rest. You do not want to walk in tired with bags under your eyes!
Groom well. Shave, file, paint, wax, and pluck every last detail will show in a photograph.
Costume: Every color of costume is great. Photographing white costumes will not show as many details in the costume. Have all your costumes worked out, in a bag with the accessories that you want to go with each costume. You don’t want to waist time primping and figuring out what to wear. Bring some extra accessories for the costume if you have them. Sometimes it helps to have other things incase something doesn’t work well. It is always better to bring more than less!
Adding a veil or other props can add extra movement and drama to your photographs.
Be sure your costumes are in top order. Go over your costume and make sure all the repairs are done. No treads hanging out all over. Make sure that your costume is fitted to you well. That all the pieces are together. Bring safely pins- to pin your costume on, just as you would for a performance. You will be moving and focused on so many things during the shoot. Having your costume perfectly in place will give you one less think to worry about being perfect.
Wouldn’t it suck if you loved your face and movement, but your skirt was popping up? Or all the treads were popping out of your gloves? Or your feet were all dry and crackly or you boobs sagged because the costume wasn’t adjusted? Details make all the difference!
Makeup: Come to the shoot mostly made up. Bring plenty of makeup with you for touch up. You will also need to use and unusual large amount of power (any kind of shine on the skin creates a white shinny picture- makeup artists always put on way more than a natural amount- looks weird in person but it looks great in photos).
Hair: Please have your hair done when you get there (or mostly done). There will be no time to fuss with it. If you need to do that, be sure to book that time in advance.
Music: Bring some music you would like to dance to – something you are inspired by. Modeling is very different from dancing. Suddenly being in a strange environment and needing to put on lively expressions can be daunting. If you have music that you usually dance to, you will feel more at ease and be able to bring out what you look like when you perform. Bring different moods- for intense emotional pictures and hot exciting pictures.
Bringing people to a shoot: That is up to you. Sometimes it works out great- someone to help carry the huge amount of stuff around. A partner in crime might add comfort if you are feeling shy meeting me for the first time. They can also help you make costumes changes faster.
But on the other hand, additional people in the room make the model self-conscious. And distracts them from making a visual and emotional connection with the camera.
It is always easy to bring a person and then if the model feels self-conscious there are comfortable chairs in the next room out of the eye line.