Answer Recap: Ask a NYC Dance Photographer

You want to know when and how to email dance companies.  You’re worried about how to look good in dance audition photos.  You’re thinking about body language and the physical factors that make for the successful audition that gets you the dance job you want to launch your dance career.

I have been so impressed by the many great questions about photos, dance photography, marketing and dance career advice that I have received from dancers here on the blog and directly to my email after the first Ask a NYC Dance Photographer post.

In this first answer recap, I am sharing some of the questions we received from dancers online, along with my answers and advice.

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Angeli Mamon, Rachel Neville Dance Photography

Keep asking questions!  If you have more questions about audition photos and how to use dance photography to advance your career, please post in the comment section below, share on facebook or contact me.

This first question comes from a young dancer launching her career who wants to know more about summer intensives…

Do you find that students under eighteen auditioning for summer intensives need professionally taken audition photos in order to succeed?

While I don’t think it’s as important for summer intensives that the quality of the images being used be what you would want for company auditions, there is definitely a difference in the confidence and tone of a dancer when she/he feels really confident that their pictures are the very best they can be.

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Jordan Miller, Rachel Neville Dance Photography

There is a learning curve to knowing how to take really great dance images, it’s not actually quite the same as what you do in the dance studio or on stage, and most dancers find the process of learning how to shoot not only empowering but helpful in their training all around (well, I’m not sure that’s true for all photographers, let’s be honest, but I know that is very important to me not only as a shooter but as a former teacher).

My big question is, when you send out prospective emails to companies, should you attach all your materials immediately in the first email, or should one shoot a “feeler email” then after and based on the response from X company, send your stuff?

Yes 100%. You might not want to send in a large number of images but one or two that gives them a feel for you is never a bad idea. Remember what we talked about: 10% through your eyes.

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Hayley Tavonatti, Rachel Neville Dance Photography

How often do you suggest a dancer update their head shots and dance shots for auditions? I’ve had some professionally done within this past year, but will be auditioning again this year and was curious what your advice might be, as I know it’s important to keep thins up to date. 

Yes, being up to date is important, but I’m also conscious that there’s money, time and energy invested in getting photographs taken so I like to look at the whole picture before answering individually.

If you feel that your current shots are really good, that they represent you to the best of your abilities, personality and style, then you are probably going to be fine staying with what you have for a bit. If, however, you did something drastic (dye your hair blue, cut it off, figure out how to gain another foot in your extensions or jumps, fine tuned your artistic abilities) you will want the artistic and casting directors to be able to see you for what you have to offer now.

Think of it not in terms of ‘I have to do this every year or every 2 years’ but more like ‘am I fully confident and well represented by the images that I have to use’.

Good luck to you all – and keep your questions coming!


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