What To Expect: Why the flow of your shoot is crucial

What to expect;

Why the flow of your shoot is a crucial tool in achieving the high performing images you want…


Workflows – we are all familiar with them.  The flow of a class (warm up, barre, center, allegro, cool down), is similar to a workOUT flow… maybe you have encountered a project workflow or have an area of your life where a particular flow helps you achieve a maximum payoff?


Similarly, In a photoshoot, we are looking for a state of high performance flow.  This is when the magic comes together and your images go from good to superb almost effortlessly.


Most dancers struggle to find this flow in a shoot – the translation of what you do in 3D (in a studio or on stage) into 2D (as in a still image, or video) is an awkward one.  We know full well the frustration that can cause, when you’re not fully confident in how to look good on camera (don’t worry, we wrote the book on this). This tends to break your flow cycle.

This is not voodoo.  Countless scientists and neuroscientists have researched, documented, and teach these high performance flow techniques.  We have incorporated them into our systems.


Really excellent photoshoots that have results beyond your expectations require a highly tuned workflow. Over 20 years of shooting 1000’s of dancers, we have developed a (what some say is magic) high performing workflow that, well… just works.  


Over and over again. Repeatedly.


It has the right amount of structure, but leaves space to breathe so that dancer and photographer can collaborate and work together to create images that are truly outstanding. 


Here’s what that looks like:


This is the cycle you will become familiar with when shooting with us.  It is a cycle that every dancer passes through in order to get to the moment of flow, when the magic comes together and we are all doing the “happy dance”.


The Struggle phase.  Also known as the uncomfortable – the “I don’t look good” phase.  We call it the struggle phase because the struggle is real.  There are 3 things happening here:

  • You are used to looking at yourself backwards in a mirror, without the compression of the camera lenses.
  • The perspective of what your brain understands in 3D is not what appears on a 2D screen, and your brain is adjusting.  This happens in EVERY Pose.  We can’t stress this enough.
  • Tiny changes in your physical angles can make or break your line.  In this stage, we are taking the time to adjust each joint to your fullest, most beautiful line, for the camera (NOT the studio). You can’t shortcut this process unless you’ve done enough shoots to have the muscle memory built in (usually 2-3 shoots with us)


The Work phase – Also known as Release.  

  • Here you are accepting of the challenges to a pose and start working with them and release your anxiety over looking good to us because you understand that you will get there by taking the time and doing the work to fine tune these details of every pose that are new to you.  
  • This is the longest phase, where we are building your muscle memory one body area at a time.  Quite literally from the ground up (we begin each pose with finding your strongest supporting leg, and what angle of your supporting leg looks the best for that particular shot)


Go for Flow – The fun part…

  • You’ve passed through the Struggle and Work phases, and now you physically understand the shot, have built up the muscle memory, and have seen an excellent shot come through on the screen.  
  • Now we really start shooting: for variations or similar alternate shots, for different expressions, for adding in more movement quality, thus making the images truly come alive.  This is where the magic lives. Now we go for it until we have an image that we all can’t stop staring at.  Literally.


Reset – We’ve arrived at the euphoria of an amazing shot.  What a high!  Now it’s time to take a minute, recalibrate, and reset for the next shot with leotard/styling changes, hair and makeup tweaks, or music changes to help change the vibe of the shot.

While the flow above is describing an individual shot, it’s also an excellent description of the overall flow of a shoot.  There tends to be more uncomfortable struggle in the beginning of a shoot when we are just starting to get going – where you are learning how to see yourself in a new way, and we are learning your physicality, and best communication/coaching language (whether you are an auditory, kinesthetic or visual learner, we adjust quickly).  Then about a third of the way through the shoot things start picking up and clicking, and by the halfway point, the creativity is flying! 


We know that photoshoots are such an important part of a dancer’s journey, from building up the confidence and knowing that you can do it, to getting your career going (and keeping it going) to landing the auditions and getting contracts.  The more knowledge you have beforehand the better: please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have!  We are here to help you move forward with power, confidence, and the knowledge that you can do it!

Andrew Fassbender

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