High Bronze Member
Registered: 1474080076 Posts: 25
Reply with quote #1
I had a frustrating experience today. So my son's dance company does not do professional posed dance costume pics. You are told you can go do that on your own. They do pics of the performance but not like your standard posed ones with backdrops etc.
So I booked a session at a portrait type studio and they said they do "Hobby/Sports" photos so I assumed that included dance photos. When they called to confirm I mentioned it would be dance photos. So we show up and they have some seasonal backdrop that looks stupid for a dance photo. I tell them to change it. Then they want to do face shots which again I tell them that is not what I want, I want dance photos, him in his costumes doing dance poses. The photographer has zero idea how to pose him for a dance photo. So I go in and try to instruct him how to do some dance poses. Then I just kinda run out of ideas so I said I guess we are done, but they insist on doing 30 more pictures. But its all stuff that has jack all to do with dance. Close ups with his face. Him in a ballet costume posing with a chair? Trying to get him to do a jump that a ballet dancer would never do. I was just beyond frustrated. Then none of the pics looked really good and the only few that looked like what I wanted were the ones I staged. None of the photos of him in his jazz costume looked good. I just ended up picking one shot and getting the special price package. But it was not what I wanted or envisioned at all. What do you do for dance pictures? Where is a good place to go? How do you handle doing them when the photographer knows absolutely zero about dance?
High Platinum Member
Registered: 1298213712 Posts: 4,115
Reply with quote #2
Most photographers will know very little about dance.
There is even a dance photographer in our area who actually knows little about dance. He does not see the difference between his photos and that of a top dance photographer. He only sees the photographic technical qualities, not the posing and the changes needed to convert a 3D action or pose to look good in 2D.
I learned to do my own. Before that, I did sometimes use the mall photography studios, only asking for full body photos. Never did a package with 30 photos though! That's a ton! A few simple poses is more than enough.
Otherwise, look for dance photographers in your area. You may find some former dancers, which are usually the best bet. You will likely pay more than you will at a chain portrait studio. It's often a "you get what you pay for" thing.
Registered: 1482027661 Posts: 52
Reply with quote #3
call around and find one that does another dance studios pics. I do pics twice a year winter and spring and he even does the gymnastic one. Even if we are no longer with the studio that used to use him he has no prob doing pics for us. We usually do 1 to 2 in each outfit and I get a package of just the 5X7s been doing this for years now. If I do 3 outfits with 2 poses each 25X7 of each pose It runs me $70
Double Diamond Member
Registered: 1184694329 Posts: 13,289
Reply with quote #4
Never experienced this since our studios all have picture day with a photographer who knows dance. That said I always made sure that DS went into his pictures with poses in mind because the photographer wouldn't pose them although the DT's would assist if necessary. DS has been picking his own poses since he was about 5 years old and the photographer just has to worry about shooting it correctly.
Registered: 1490819226 Posts: 90
Reply with quote #5
I'm a photographer - and dance mom, and really it's important for the photographer just to know a little about dance - and also maybe for you to control the poses (not sure what age your dancer is). But also feet, hands, head, etc. Also - you need a photographer who is skilled - for example in action shots to set up - and capture leaps, jumps or even arabesques (for little ones).
There are plenty of those skilled photographers around -- perhaps not with a studio but can be reasonably priced. Maybe even you could ask your studio for some time to shoot there. Check out their website and previous dance work first. I *may* know someone in your area that I could refer you to.. but not sure where you are It's a catch 22 with photos. I personally like shots on stage - (when I am allowed to take pics) but then again I know when/how to capture moments there vs posed studio shots. But I always buy the studio shots.. IDK maybe to support the photographer as well. I also do sometimes posed shots for myself..
Registered: 1394137029 Posts: 58
Reply with quote #6
hey said they do "Hobby/Sports" photos so I assumed that included dance photos". Ahhhh... never assume they do dance photos. The the very best football photographer in town still likely knows nothing about lines, turnout, how to catch the apex of the jump.... dance photography is a bit of a disease, now I take soccer photos and it's "Buddy, you are sickling your foot"... "Can we take a moment and work on your lines..." "Shoulders down"... "Strong Core!!!" (code for suck in that tummy!) "Deeper!" Someone with experience may simply not be an option is some markets. Nothing wrong with showing up with a Pintrest board for inspiration if they run out of poses.
High Silver Member
Registered: 1432239628 Posts: 112
Reply with quote #7
We are lucky in that we have a dance photographer on staff. He does more than dance photos (concerts, family portraits) but he understands the movements needed for dance photos. If I were you I'd probably check with other studios in your area to get recommendations or even if you have a ballet school in your area. Hopefully you would be able to get a few names that way.
Registered: 1439336249 Posts: 57
Reply with quote #8
We've had this problem too, so I surfed Pinterest for ballet photography ideas before consulting w/the photographer. I made a folder with ideas, showed it to them, and explained that I wanted a neutral background with these sorts of poses. I shared the folder with them through email so they could refer to it prior to the shoot and worked w/my DD on how to walk through the steps of her dance to get the shots she wanted. Once they saw what I had in mind, the shoot went reasonably well and I got 3 good ones out of the afternoon. Good luck!!
High Silver Member
Registered: 1485043982 Posts: 190
Reply with quote #9
Our studio photographer was pathetic. I would have gone to a local photographer of I hadn't alreafy prepaid for the studio photos. We are lucky to have two local photographers who do excellent dance photos. They don't know the technical terms for everything, but do their best to have the DT at the shoot to help pose and correct details, but the photographer knows the angles that will translate best on film.
High Silver Member
Registered: 1493237652 Posts: 101
Reply with quote #10
I am not crazy about our studio photographers either. However there is a girl who graduated from high school last year who used to be on the comp team. She is going to college now to pursue photography. She has done some photos for a few girls from our studio and they are gorgeous! I believe her prices are also extremely reasonable and being a dancer herself she obviously knows what she is doing! Maybe try to seek out students or former students!
Registered: 1491989966 Posts: 23
Reply with quote #11
We are super lucky to have a photographer who does our stage shots and also has a set up at each comp to do studio pics. She has been doing them for years and knows what poses look good. Really well priced too.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Hopefully you find someone local who knows a bit more about dance.
Registered: 1457385957 Posts: 1,326
Reply with quote #12
I'm a dance photographer and do dance portraits for our own studio and a few of the local studios. I agree that it's important that the photographer knows about dance. A regular photographer doesn't know about turnout or pointed feet or correct hand and foot placement or even ideas for poses when the little dancer is shy. Just those simple things can make the difference between an ok picture and a great one.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1399769400 Posts: 660
Reply with quote #13
I'd echo what a lot of folks have already mentioned, particularly tendumom, jinkerbell, & nyklane.
Sometimes the best dance photographers are former dancers. They don't even need to know a ton about photography, because dance photography is first and foremost about DANCE. And frankly, some of the "chain mall studio photographers" don't know much about either dance or photography. They just know some camera settings that will consistently produce a reasonably exposed, sharp image that can be reproduced a million times without thinking. Broad strokes, for sure, but in some cases even if the photographer has knowledge, they might not be allowed to use it. It's more of a "do this" corporate policy. Again, I'm talking about *some* not all. As for what do we do? Like you, we do not have a photo shoot day. I suppose we could do it on our own, but I don't know of anyone who does. Despite some very capable photo hobbyist parents (I include myself in that category), and at least one full time pro. Frankly, I prefer the stage shots, I find them more authentic, especially for really young dancers. Personal preference perhaps. Suggestions? I know that locally there are several photography groups on Facebook maybe there are some in your area as well. If they are open groups, you could look at who is shooting what, maybe find someone who can do what you are looking for. You can always search dance (or ballet etc) photos on Instagram, maybe in conjunction with your geographic area. Full time photo pros might be expensive, but if $$ are a concern hobbyists might be willing to work for much less. You could also look at other local studio's FB pages ... if you like their photos, maybe inquire about the photographer? I see a lot of animosity between studios on this board, but my daughter's teacher recommended me to another SO who was looking for someone to photograph their recital.
High Bronze Member
Registered: 1480089806 Posts: 37
Reply with quote #14
I liked someone else's idea of finding out who does another studio's dance pics and trying them out.
Our pics are done by the mom of one of the younger teachers, who has danced there her entire life. During the pics there are also a couple teachers in the room to help with posing if need be. It's a nice family feel and I enjoy it a lot. I wouldn't be afraid to help with some of the poses and interject if you need to.