10 Things to do Before Your Dance Shoot

Every time I work with a dancer, I always try to give them the same information, and I thought rather than keeping it in an email, I’d share it out in the world!

This stuff doesn’t just apply to dancers, it works for models too, and in fact, just people in general. Sleep should be prescribed! But that’s a story for another time.

So here’s 10 things to do before your dance shoot!

1. Drink plenty of water.

    This applies for before your shoot, as well as during. Before the shoot, you’ll want to make sure you have nice skin, and to ensure that, I’d suggest drinking lots of water!

    Also, during the shoot, you’ll be moving a LOT, and it’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day.

    2. Get a good night’s sleep the night before.

    I really cannot stress this enough. It is so important to get a good night’s sleep before your shoot – there is nothing worse than showing up on 5 hours sleep with bags under your eyes – you won’t be as sharp, and you won’t perform to your full potential! I’m telling you, this is the sober voice of experience talking!

    Try to get around 8 hours of sleep a night if you can, and especially in the warm up to your shoot.

    3. Plan your journey.

    Being on time is super important, and planning your journey to the studio or location is a big part of that. Make sure you leave your house, or wherever you are, in plenty of time .

    4. Research poses you’d like to do.

    Sometimes it can be helpful to bring some dance images along with you to the shoot. These shots can serve as a good jumping off point, and can remind you of other poses or moves you might have done in a recent show or exam. The reason for this is that sometimes when you walk into a studio, it’s a bit of a strange place, and it can be hard to remember new poses when you have to worry about hitting your mark, what your hair looks like, if your outfit works, and all that stuff!

    5. Remember this isn’t like a normal shoot.

    The reason I say this is because a dance shoot really is a unique thing. At no other time in your dance career are you ever going to be asked to repeat the same jump 20, 30 or even 50 times!

    6. Pick out your outfits.

    Now, I can’t tell you what to wear, but I can give you some helpful questions to ask yourself when you’re picking your outfits.

    • Does it feel comfortable to move in?
    • Does it suit the kind of job I’m going for?
    • Does it feature a large brand name? Do I want it to?
    • Is it the right colour?
    • Will it clash with my makeup?
    • Can I transport it to the venue without it getting damaged, or creased?
    • Do I look good when I wear it?
    • Is it appropriate for the style of dance I’m capturing?

    So have a think!

    I tend to photograph around 5 outfits per shoot, but it does depend!!

    7. Pick a playlist of music you like to dance to.

    Dancers dance to music, and a shoot is no different! Music really sets the tone of a shoot, and if you don’t want to listen to MY music choices (which are great obviously), then it’s usually advisable to make up a playlist before the shoot! You can use Spotify or Google Play Music, or even just your phone – we’ll plug it into the speakers, and then you won’t have to listen to The Rolling Stones for the entire shoot (unless you want to).

    Quick note – we won’t always have WiFi on shoots, so I would STRONGLY suggest downloading your music choices to your device BEFORE the shoot.

    8. Eat.

    Remember to eat before your shoot!

    Sometimes, when you’re having your photographs taken, there’s a temptation to not eat or drink before the shoot – THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Much like a car, you’re gonna need fuel to get you to your destination, and if you don’t eat, you won’t perform as well. Try not to eat too close to the start of the shoot as you won’t want to feel sick, but DO EAT. My goodness.

    9. Hair, Makeup, and Nail Polish.

    If you’ve booked a Hair & Makeup Artist for your shoot, fantastic, you don’t need to worry about your hair or makeup.

    Nude or neutral nail polish please, so it doesn’t distract from your pose, or clash with your outfits.

    If you haven’t booked a Hair & Makeup Artist, read on!

    Please arrive with clean washed and dryed hair. Ideally, if you wear your hair down, we’ll start with that, and then we’ll put it up for the second half of the shoot. It’s easier to start with it down then put it up, vs. the other way round.

    Much like your nails, you’ll need neutral makeup, or just keep it minimal. Remember, these shots are an accurate representation of what you look like for casting directors, so if you show up with a full face, that’s no good!

    10. Iron and clean your clothes.

    Last one, ad fairly obvious, but you’d be amazed about this – wash, clean and iron your clothes before the shoot!

    Creases show up very easily on camera, so try to iron your clothes in advance. Also get anything items that require dry cleaning done well in advance, so you have your items for the shoot.

    Also, bring a lint roller!

    I hope you found this useful!

    Drew