How to Nail Your Next Dance Photoshoot
Is there anything better than a killer dance photoshoot? OF COURSE NOT! Whether you're taking headshots, model shots, or simply images that'll slay on Instagram, dance photography makes the world a prettier place.
To make sure your next dance photoshoot is as 🔥 as you are, we asked photographer Kenneth Edwards for his dos and don'ts. Follow his advice and your dance photography future will be as bright as your "golden hour" lighting.
On what to look for when choosing a photographer:
"Be picky about who you shoot with. Be wary of working with photographers who don't have experience shooting dance. Because I work with dancers all the time, I know how to look out for you and your technique. If you choose to shoot with a photographer who doesn't usually shoot dance—and who won't listen to you regarding what looks best—you may be misrepresented. Talk to the photographer about choosing your photos after."
Juliet Doherty (courtesy Edwards)
On creating the most photo-worthy poses:
"In the beginning, I encourage dancers to move around like they're alone in the studio," Edwards says. "Imagine that no one is watching and just move rather than strike poses. This will allow your photographer to catch natural movement. Then at the end of your shoot, ask your photographer if you can play with your greatest hits. Show them your best arabesque, your highest developpe a la seconde, or your most stunning jumps. Ask to shoot what you know you do well so you can come out of it feeling like you got what you needed from the experience and have a variety of great images."
Daphne Fernberger (courtesy Edwards)
On how to vibe with your photographer:
"Don't direct the photoshoot yourself," Edwards says. "You should treat it as a collaboration. Don't walk into it barking orders or telling them to reproduce a photo you saw on Instagram. It's better to work with an open mind and create something together."
Mikaela Kelly (courtesy Kenneth Edwards)
On what to wear to a photoshoot:
"Don't wear clothes you can't move properly in, even if they achieve the aesthetic you're looking for," Edwards says. "Think about how your clothes will look in a photo as you pick them out. Make sure whatever you wear shows your lines. If you're looking to get a shot with a lot of movement, consider wearing a flowing skirt to enhance the look of the photograph. Also, don't wear brand-new pointe shoes. They will absolutely get ruined, and those things are expensive!"
Natalie Varnum (courtesy Edwards)
On dance photoshoot safety:
"Be honest with your photographer about any pain or concerns you have as you're shooting," Edwards says. "Carefully choose the surfaces you're willing to jump on. Don't hurt yourself for a photo, and don't put yourself in situations you're going to regret. You don't have to do dangerous things to get great photos."
Ryan Lee (courtesy Edwards)
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
If you've ever seen a Janelle Ginestra class video, you know how lit her combos are. What you don't see in those clips is how devoted Ginestra is to her students. We went behind the scenes at one of her sold-out IMMA SPACE classes to see Ginestra in her element, mentoring some of L.A.'s most talented dancers. It was an inspiration feedback loop.
All photos by Joe Toreno.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I love ballet, and I've been told that I have a lot of potential. I can see myself dancing professionally one day. But I'm also working toward my black belt in karate—and I'm passionate about that, too. How can I keep up my technique while also making time for the other things I love? Is that even possible?
What do you get when you combine a Beyoncé anthem, fierce girls from all over the world, and choreography by legends like Ellenore Scott and Lamar Lee? You get the epic music video below. The viral video features little girls who live everywhere from Tanzania to Washington D.C. dancing and lip-syncing to Queen Bey's song "Freedom," and the result is electrifying. These littles can dance—and they bring a determination and enthusiasm to their movement that's truly inspiring.