Hands, Hands, Hands..

How to make your hands look good in photographs… let’s talk.

I recently had the chance to work with Erica Cornejo of Boston Ballet and this came up.  Within the first couple of shots, her delicious, expressive hands were something I immediately noticed.


You know how people who are into football excitedly shout at the TV for the Super Bowl?  Yah, that’s me, swooning over beautiful hands.  Erica and I had a moment as we talked about the importance of hands and how much she had worked on hers to make them so expressive.  In a single gesture she had me breathless.  The exacting placement of her fingers and how they generated the energy that she wanted to express… just priceless.  I could go on and on, but you’ll just have to go watch her dance, or find some videos (check her out on IG!).


Erica Cornejo, dancer Photo Rachel Neville


As a dance photographer in NYC, I deal with all kinds of hands, beautiful, not so beautiful, stiff, long fingered, short, round, octagonal (joking, haven’t seen any octagons yet)… so I have a few tricks to make hands look the way we want them to in dance audition photos.


First, energy runs through warmer hands more easily.  This means that warm hands are a must.  If you are the type of body that naturally runs on the colder side, do what you can to warm up your hands.



Erica Cornejo, dancer Photo Rachel Neville


Second, here’s the biggest trick: hands shoot best from the sides.  What ever movement or pose you are working on, pay attention to how your hands naturally line up with the camera.  You may need to rotate them in a slightly different direction than what comes naturally to you for the optimal photo.


Third: Fingers.  Take a moment to work through any finger issues you might have right before you move into the pose.  You don’t want to clench the shape into them, it’s more like you want to breathe the shape into them so the energy extends past the fingertips.
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1 thought on “Hands, Hands, Hands..”

  1. That is so beautiful. I am a dancer and an aspiring young photographer, and I am fascinated by what photos I have seen on this site. My mom doesn’t have enough money for a good camera, and I can’t practice without it. I feel creatively blocked because I have not means of expression. But thank you for the inspiration from this beautiful website. Awe-inspiring artwork.


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