What to Expect at Your Audition Photo Shoot

Audition Photos Series

This is the fourth post in our new series, Everything Dancers Need to Know About Audition Photos. Read the first installment.
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So Young An, freelance dancer in NYC
So Young An, freelance dancer in NYC

Today’s audition tips offer insight into what to expect at your audition photo shoot including how to prepare mentally and physically and what questions you need to ask your photographer to make sure that you are getting everything you need out of your shoot.

  • Expect to arrive with plenty of time to relax and warm up, putting your mind in the right space to bring out the personality traits you most want to show directors.
  • Expect to use 10-25% of what you brought for clothing and costume options as you and your photographer decide together what works and doesn’t work for your shoot.
  • Expect all aspects of your wardrobe choices to show upon the computer screen; make sure that:
    • everything is ironed/steamed and folded nicely to transport to the studio
    • black items have been de-linted
    • everything is in repair… tights with holes and runs will almost always show

  • Take time between headshots and dance photos.  If you are doing headshots before your dance photos you and your photographer will need time to re-group and change everything up in between the two shoots.  You should have a few minutes to warm up physically here, but it’s unrealistic to think that you will be able to get your body from 0-100 in 5-10 minutes, so taking barre or 1/2 a class before you arrive is wise.
  • Manage time for makeup and hair.  If you have makeup booked for your session expect that to take a minimum of 40-60 minutes for the first ‘look.’  If you are having your hair done, expect it to take 90-120 minutes for the two.  Seriously. Fashion shoots book 3 hours for both per model typically.
  • Don’t expect to get the best shots in the first 10-30 minutes.  Just like in dance class you need time to warm up and figure it out.  Don’t even try for your key poses to begin with unless you have only booked an hour with your photographer.
  • The simpler the pose, the more time you need to make it look good.
  • Sometimes it takes 10-20 takes to get a shot to be what you want.
  •  7 times out of 10 a great shot needs to be re-done because of what your face or fingers (or both) look like.
  •  Take a break when you need to rest and have a nibble to eat.
  •  Make sure to take some time toward the end of the shoot to fool around and get some ‘fun’ shots.  These often turn out to be much more contemporary in scope and can often be used to augment a classical portfolio or used for more off the wall projects (at the very least some good facebook shots!)
  • Sum up the ‘What’s Next’ questions with your photographerat the end of the session.  Make sure you know the following:
    • when and how will you be able to see the proofs
    • how to handle the selection process
    • if retouching is offered just what does that mean or include
    • how long does it take to receive the final image files or prints
    • how do you go about printing if you do that yourself
    • address any other questions you might have
  • Expect to be very, very sore that night or the next day.  Very sore.  Take a bath when you get home, eat lots of protein (I had one client tell me this is helpful), shake your muscles out with your hands, avoid alcohol that evening, and get some good sleep.  My husband jokes that I often don’t warn my clients fully that they may not be able to get out of bed.  Think about this: in a shoot you are holding and re-doing movements/poses over and over, using 200% of your thought and muscles and energy. Over and over to be as perfect as you can be.  Yes, sore you should be!

Extra Tips- Keep These in Mind

On Clothes and Retouching:

Not all photographers offer re-touching in their pricing structures.  If you tend to perspire heavily have extra options to work with in the studio. Men, if you are doing white T-Shirts or tanks, bring several without any yellowing.  Shoes should be clean and neat, ribbons/elastics sewn properly (you don’t want to waste shooting time, and thus money, fixing these types of things.)

On Pointe Shoes:

I’m going to interject a personal note here on pointe shoe elastics: it’s a personal pet peeve of mine when elastics are sewn onto shoes in both back and front of ribbons.  I understand some dancers feel it necessary, but ladies, it really breaks up the line of the foot when photographed (or in an audition, or on stage….).  Consider cutting off at least the front elastics for your photoshoot.

Knowing what to expect is a huge part of contributing to the success of your shoot- and to the audition photos you need most.  Keep in mind and share these tips.

To your continued success!

Audition Photos Series

This is the fourth post in our new series, Everything Dancers Need to Know About Audition Photos. Read the first installment.

Get Audition Tips delivered direct to your Inbox.


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