It’s so exciting to get the results of a photo shoot–especially when you’re happy with the pics! I had the pleasure of working with Rebecca Waldron of RAW Art Photography when I was at Bellydance Masters in Orlando, FL in August. Not only is she a skilled photographer–she is also fantastic at directing dancers and putting us at ease. She KNOWS belly dance and that is a huge plus!
While it’s awesome to work with someone like Rebecca, you can take some steps to prepare for your shoot to make the most of it–no matter who your photographer is!
- POSES. Prepare a few different poses BEFORE you come in. Look through photographs of other dancers to get some ideas. Go through your videos and take screenshots of specific moments you like. Then, PRACTICE these photos in the mirror! If possible, have a friend take cell phone pictures of your poses. The lighting won’t be fancy but you’ll be able to see your lines… chin up or down, shoulders hunched or open, hip up or down, etc. Also practice MOVING into the poses. Static shots are so much less fun than a moment of movement caught by the camera!
- COSTUME. Practice in costume so you are comfortable with the skirt slit or what angles are caused by different straps. Be sure to iron or steam your skirt and veil before the shoot! You’ll be glad you did.
- SLEEP. The best thing you can do for your overall look is to get enough sleep. For me, this means at least TWO nights of 8 hours to banish the dark circles.
- SKIN CARE. Follow your favorite beauty routine. I don’t recommend trying any NEW products prior to your shoot. If you happen to have an allergic reaction, that will be super disappointing! Do drink LOTS OF WATER so you are well hydrated. It’s best to start doing that a few days before your photo shoot.
MAKE-UP. Do some trial runs, keeping your costume in mind, a few days prior to your shoot. Take notes so your remember what products you like! While face powder is great for stage, I don’t recommend using it for a photo shoot as it tends to enhance any lines in your face. Lip gloss is also not recommended as you don’t want your lips to look wet. Instead, pat a bit of concealer on the center of your bottom lip and blend to get a plumped look. DEFINITELY fill in your brows and wear false eyelashes for the most finished look! If you’re not comfortable doing your own make-up, go to your local Sephora or MAC store. They will do your face in exchange for a minimum product purchase (usually $50ish). Check out Princess Farhana’s blog for more excellent make-up and photo shoot tips! She even has a post about contouring your BODY with make-up!
- ARRIVAL. On the day of your shoot, wear something loose, like a maxi dress, that does not mark your skin with elastic waistbands or shoulder straps. Yes, those marks can be Photoshopped out, but it’s much easier when that’s not necessary!
NERVES. What puts you at ease? No matter how comfortable you are on stage (or not) being in a photo shoot can stir up some anxiety. It’s a great idea to bring some MUSIC that you enjoy to play in the background. If you have a FRIEND who makes you laugh or makes you feel especially confident, bring her or him along! Sometimes a glass of WINE can do the trick. While I don’t condone drinking during a performances, sometimes this can be helpful during a photo shoot as long as you don’t overdo it. 🙂
- BREATHE. Really, truly. Deep breaths will help your nerves as well as helping your poses come alive. Delicious Pauses techniques come in hand here!
- EMBRACE THE MISTAKES. Sometimes the shots you like best are the ones that were never meant to happen. For instance, the veil got caught on my head but because I was laughing, the photo above turned out to be my favorite one of the bunch!