dance photographer

How to rock your dance photoshoot

Ten tips and tricks to know before your first shoot!

You've booked your first dance photoshoot or are thinking about it, but aren't sure what to expect and whether or not you will be able to pull off some of the crazy and beautiful poses you see on Instagram. Read on for tips on how to rock your very own dance shoot!

1. Research photographers
No matter who you are shooting with, hopefully they have photographed dancers before. Choosing a photographer that knows dancers, their movements, and what good technique looks like, means you can trust them during your shoot to help you look your best. Also, make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer and can tell them if you don't want to do a certain pose. You should never ever feel uncomfortable on a shoot!

ballet dancer in montreal botanical garden

2. Brainstorm poses or things you want to try, but don't get too attached.
Spend some time on instagram or pinterest looking at poses or photos that you are personally drawn to. Practice some of these poses in front of the mirror so you have an idea of how to move into them during the shoot. With any of these though, don't get super attached. Sometimes we see a pose we love but perhaps it's beyond our technical ability as a dancer just yet. Be okay with the idea that you won't get every pose you save. 

3. Know your strengths
Are you an amazing leaper or jumper? Is your extension to die for? Is your back super flexible? Sometimes a good (dance) friend can tell you your strengths if you find yourself having a hard time. By knowing your personal strengths you can tell them to the photographer so they can help you look amazing.

4. Think 2D, not 3D
I tell this to almost every dancer within the first few minutes of a shoot. We're making a 3D art form (dance) and translating it into a 2D art form (photography). So while you are planning and on the day of your shoot, think about where your body and arms and legs are in relation to the camera. Imagine you are a silhouette or that someone is watching you dance from the last row of a theater. Body parts can disappear or be shortened depending on placement. Honestly, this is something the photographer should always be helping you with during the shoot, but it's great to know and think about yourself as well.

ballet dancer in middle of city street with sun setting behind her in montreal

5. Make a playlist
A short one! Choose a handful of songs that you know pumps you up or will really get you in the mood for the shoot you want to create. Even I'll be dancing along sometimes while shooting! (Full disclaimer: I don't always use music on a shoot if we're moving locations super fast, but it's still good to have a few songs ready just in case.)

6. Choose comfortable clothes
The dreaded question... what should I wear?? Wear something you feel comfortable dancing in! I personally tell dancers, street clothes or dance clothes, it's up to you, but you must be able to move well and it shouldn't hide your lines or form. If you are opting to wear something like a leotard and your shoot is outdoors around town, don't pick a leotard that isn't comfortable or that rides up! It will translate in your photos that you are not comfortable as you worry about having a wardrobe malfunction.

7. Drink water & get sleep the night before
This is a general rule the night before ANY photoshoot. (I'm not kidding.) Hydrate and sleep!!!! You want to be feeling your best and the water will help your skin glow the next day.

8. Don't forget...
Make sure you pack water, a snack, and one extra pair of dance shoes. During the shoot your shoes will take a beating if you are shooting outdoors. Many pointe shoes have completely died, never to be worn again, on shoots. So make sure you bring a backup pair in case the first pair die earlier than you expect. (It has happened!)

heels dancer in montreal park

I'll say it again for the people in back, STRETCH! If the photographer doesn't tell you right off the bat to start stretching, tell them you need 5-10 minutes to get warmed up. Take it easy for your first 15-30 mins of shooting. Start with simpler poses/movements and work your way into the big stuff; your body will thank you later.

10. Relax and have fun
Remember to relax during your shoot. Things may not always go as planned, but things may also turn out even better than you could have hoped for. Have fun and be yourself, don't be afraid of showing your personality in your photos as well.


Have you already rocked your own dance photoshoot?

Do you have any other tips for fellow dancers? Leave a comment below to help each other out!

Montreal Dancers: Suf & Aurelia


Dancers Suf and Aurelia have by far had the most difficult shoot to date thus far. It snowed a day or two before their shoot (and during their shoot!) and when asked if they wanted to go ahead anyway they both said YES! These young ladies had so much strength and determination. Very early on we realized once pointe shoes get wet, your feet freeze. So that didn't last too long, since the snow and slush was deep enough to get their feet soaked. We thawed in the lobby of a museum when it was finally decided the pointe shoes would be going away for the rest of the shoot. After that, boots and layer of tights/socks were actually better than the pointe shoes. :) Live and learn! And don't freeze! The winter weather and decorations did make for a stunning backdrop though!


Girl dancing in the snow in Montreal


Dancing outside in the snow

Dancers: Suf & Aurelia

Location: Old Montreal

Want to schedule a shoot? Contact me here.

Montreal Dancers: Chloe

Contemporary dancer/choreographer/teacher Chloe Hart met up with me in late fall of last year. Right before the snow started for the winter, we wandered around town and ended up at McGill Campus. We discovered the beautiful interior architecture of the Dominion Square building and also spent some carefully timed moments shooting in the street. Chloe's fluid movements were beautiful to watch and capture. We had a great time exploring the city and discovered some great places to shoot, even as passersby dodged out of the frame and around us.


Woman dancing in Montreal on the street
Woman dancing in Montreal on the street

Dancer: Chloe

Location: Dominion Square Building, McGill Campus, and surrounding area.

Want to schedule a shoot? Contact me here.

Montreal Dancers: Stephan

It was a rainy, cold, and wet day when Stephan and I met to shoot. We explored a bit of the Place d'Armes area and then went underground to stay dry, then decided to take our chances in the rain and hike over to Old Montreal. Stephan is a contemporary, jazzfunk, ladystyle, and bachata dancer who currently takes classes at A'Motion Dance Studio and performs with TRAWBL, a dance team that specializes in Heels. He was so much fun to work with; I can't wait for another shoot with him!


Man dancing in heels around Montreal
Man dancing in heels around Montreal

Dancer: Stephan

Location: Place d'Armes & Old Montreal

Want to schedule a shoot? Contact me here.

Montreal Dancers: Adele

Energetic, daring, and talented are just a few words to describe Adele. We had so much fun shooting in Old Montreal. We could have kept shooting all day! I knew it was going to be a great shoot when we first met and Adele told me she wanted to climb and jump off things. :)


Dancer leaping in Old Montreal

Dancer: Adele

Location: Old Montreal

Want to schedule a shoot? Contact me here.