How to Capture Energy and Emotion in Dance Audition Photos

Happy Thanksgiving! As we take a break here at our studio this weekend to spend time with our families, we want to wish you all a great day off and to take a moment to be grateful for all of you, our readers, clients, friends. Love to you all.

To those of you who are entering Nut season, we wish you happy dancing and an injury free season, see you on the other side!


NYC dance photographer audition photo tips Rachel Neville

Alexandra Martin, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville NYC

We are heavily into the throws of audition photo season, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that is coming up more and more this year: Energy and Emotion!

In our dance photography studio, we shoot images in a particular order. First we figure out the moment or pose. Next we set the lighting. Then we take some time to fine tune the movement so that the dancer’s lines and technique look their best. Then we start working with the emotional content that is the driving force behind what we do as communicators. Without that, we have a bland shot that never really lifts off the ground.

add emotion and energy to dance audition photos Rachel Neville Photography NYC

Andrew Daly, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville NYC

I find that this order is essential: our brains are actually not hard wired to multitask! We can in any split second only think about one thing. So in order to really accomplish our goals in dance photography, we need the body to develop a little muscle memory as to the best lines possible for a shot (if you have’t had the chance to drop by the studio to watch or participate in a shoot, you’ll just have to take my word for it, what we do in front of the camera is often quite different than how we dance on stage). Once we have that achieved, by shooting a movement several times to get it ‘into’ you, we can tackle the impetus behind the movement successfully.

Rachel Neville dance audition photos with energy

Billie Marder, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville NYC

You would be surprised at how different a shot looks when it includes an emotional component from a dancer. Lines change, tension is added or let go, freedom is allowed and you have a chance to really give your ‘audience’ a moment of your soul. That’s where we grab people, that’s what turns heads and gets attention. The moment you move beyond the physical and into the personal connection… the images become wonderful and we access our viewers’ internal dialogue in a way that movement alone cannot.

Food for thought this lovely weekend.

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