As a performer it is essential for me to have pictures that represent myself. Pictures that show my current weight, hairstyle, costumes. The biggest fear of prospective clients is hiring a dancer that looks nothing like her promotion pictures. Ever since I started out as a professional dancer ten yeas ago, I used to schedule a shoot in January, thinking that I might as well cross it off my to-do list as soon as possible.
This year, I was caught up in my maternity leave. There are also far less gigs compared to four or five years ago. Should I go through the trouble of getting professional pictures taken, considering that I rarely have gigs that generate money to pay for said photographs? The more time I put into preparation, the better the result of the photoshoot will be. And time is something I currently don’t have! Planning a professional shoot when I have no time to carefully prepare my costume, make-up and hair is a bit of a waste of time. See the links to more reading at the end of this article that also articulate that preparation is everything.
A solution presented itself last weekend when my dance mom told us she needed pictures of the costumes she was selling. Me and my troupe mates happily volunteered and I offered to bring my camera. We spent a couple of hours playing belly dance dress up and we took both posed and moving pictures. The light was okay, not as good as professional lights but good enough for action shots. We ended up with some nice shots that I can use this year. These were taken with my Nikon DSLR camera that is ten years old but still produces beautiful pictures.
Nice detail is that I took the pictures in the blue costume myself with a remote control, which makes it so much easier to take pictures of yourself. Running to and from the camera while working with the timer is a real energy drain, and the infrared remotes are very affordable. If your camera has the option of taking pictures with a remote control, I highly recommend it.
Being behind the camera and in front of the camera is a lot of work, but it really helps me to get an eye for what I like in a photograph and how to create that image. I look forward to playing around with lighting and camera settings, if I ever find the time 😉 I’ll probably schedule a shoot in the summer as it is really nice to have professional quality pictures of myself, but at least for now I can show prospective clients recent post-pregnancy pictures so they can make their mind up about hiring me.
For those of you wondering what a belly dance shoot looks like behind the scenes, I offer you this view of the dance studio while we were taking pictures. That’s me on the left trying out camera settings. Maysa is the one taking the picture in the mirrors. On the right is our dance mom dressing up Farah and all the different costumes and skirt/veil options are spread out on the floor. Because that’s how creative brains work: we needed to pull everything out and have a visual overview of the options.
If you want to know more about photoshoots for bellydancers, I compiled a list of interesting articles for you to read. Enjoy!
Photoshoot tips for bellydancers– The Bellydance Blog
5 tips for a perfect bellydance photoshoot – Stepngroovedance
Dance photography tips for beginners – Worldbellydance.com, from my friend Valeria 🙂
Preparing for bellydance photoshoots -Tips &tricks! – Melbourne Bellydance
Photoshoot perfection series – Sahina’s blog
Photoshoot tips – Shake my Day, from Sarah Skinner
Photoshoot tips – Amartia
Model Monday: 7 tips to avoid Stiff and Stale Photos – Cheeky bellydancer
And if you are more adventurous, try this!
Photographing fire dancers – Kyle Nishioka
The ultimate guide to stunning dance photography – Cameron Knight
How to photograph a dancer – iheartfaces