May 30 2016 by Janne (@dr_janne)
5 Tips for Your First Pole Photo Shoot
The EDP Asia Retreat 2016 is going on at the moment! And in honour of Brad Vertigo coming to Singapore! Here are some times and tricks for a Photo Shoot.
The first step is always deciding you want to do a photo shoot in the first place! The first time the studio that I was learning in offered a pole photo shoot I am pretty sure I completed ignored the advertisements and half listened to the instructors when they were telling me about the details. I felt at that point that I did not know any “special tricks”, could not really do anything amazing and honestly didn’t think I had the best body to be posing in front of a camera or bother paying the money for a shoot. So I understand people’s hesitation behind signing up for their first shoot. Since I’ve had my first professional photos taken it has always been something I hope to do when I collect a number of new tricks, it’s almost as though you are documenting your journey in pole, what you have achieved and how much you have improved.
In my first photo shoot with Justin Tran all I really wanted was a photo of my Janeiro, that was round about the coolest thing I could do then. After doing the Janeiro, I was so tired and had run out of ideas, I was told to stick to “simple things” and those photos I use just as often as I use the one with the Janeiro in them. I still feel the yield of my first photo shoot was the best so far and there are definitely no regrets, and no turning back since I have done a whole bunch of shoots since then.
Here are my tips for your first photo shoot.
- The Photographer
If this is your first time, you will need someone with experience! (Don’t worry we are still talking about a Photo Shoot). Shooting pole dance tricks and movements is difficult, even someone who may be a good street photographer, wedding photographer, nature photographer etc etc may not be a good dance and pole dance photographer.
Your photographer needs to understand your moves and your angles to know which is the best angle to capture you in the move, and the best angle may be unique to each dancer. It may help if they have pole dance experience, but of course the best is that they are dedicated Pole Dance Photographers. An experienced photographer helps ensures that you get best photo of your move in the fastest time possible and can even gives you tips and pointed on the pole, this is useful so you don’t have to keep doing the trick multiple times and risk fighting fatigue for the rest of your session.
[I talk more about your moves and how to get the best angle in Point 3.]
Each photographer also has their own style in their photo shoots and a variety of techniques or “specialty” shots or editing that they will be able to take! Knowing what the photographer specialises in will also give you an expectation of the outcome of your photos.
Was happy to have Justin Tran for my first photo shoot, actually I’ve been lucky to have all my photographers so far been very lovely to work with; professional, takes shots quickly. Justin gives you 3 different edits and makes my skin look oh so gorgeous.
I’ve also had the opportunity to do a very quick instructor shoot with Millie Robson (rumour has it she might be back too!!) She did some awesome coloured light shots and gives you her “Betty Boop” edit which gives you gorgeous curves. I felt her shots were almost ethereal and had this sense of calm and zen and with those curves!
Heres Kim’s awesome and “simple shot” with Millie with her signature editing on the left.
The most unique Photo Shoot that we did here at Ecole De Pole Singapore was with Irving Neil Kwok, who has an amazing portfolio of dance photos. Our discussion was for extremely artistic photos of pole, perhaps something new and different. It was not really about documenting new pole moves or pole moves at all. It was Irving’s and Chong’s first time shooting Pole Photos, not to mention that we were trying to create something different, I think the photos turned out AWESOME! But that was one long and tiring day!!! Nevertheless, we are planning for a new photo shoot soon! Now loaded with a bit more experience on both our parts we have more exciting things planned!!
So as you can see! The photographer is really important not only in making it an enjoyable experience but also in making sure you know what you are getting out of the shoot!
Talk to you photographer, if you can before the shoot so both of you are on the same page about what your goal is for the day and what kind of shots you want to walk away with
- The Setting
In the studio? Outdoors? With a Backdrop?
If it’s your first photo shoot the best place would be in the comforts of the studio, where the lighting and temperature can be controlled and all you have to do is bust out some of those moves! Don’t get me wrong all sorts of other shoots are possible, even the latest underwater shoots were all the rage! But all those little small things they matter. We know how a cold pole and dry weather makes you slippery, how if you are too sweaty things are impossible as well. These all are exaggerated when you have your pole outdoors and the weather is beyond your control. So maybe start in the studio and venture outside a little later?
When we had Millie in Singapore last year, we ran an outdoor shoot at Fort Canning Park in Singapore, it was hot and sweaty (trust Singapore to be that way) and the ladies really muscled through it. But most many of them were not able to pull out planned tricks as it was just way to slippery no matter how hard they tried. Their photos were still amazing though!! I don’t have any on me but you can look them up at Millie’s Page. Justin has also done one in Singapore with the Flower Domes as a backdrop, those turned out amazing as well!
- Choosing your Moves
Top Tip: Come prepared. Have a list of poses you want to try and you want to capture, not all of them work as well still in a photos as they do in motion. Take videos of yourself doing the poses and try and use the video to find the best angles and lines for YOUR BODY for THAT POSE
Do this in advance!! And practice your moves or at least have it in your mind which moves you want to do! You want to optimise your time and take AS MANY SHOTS AS POSSIBLE during that time. You know when you watch America’s Next Top Model and they keep wanting MORE SHOTS to work with. Yes it’s like that!! So don’t spend your time thinking on the day.
As a general rule, if I were aiming for 5 shots or doing a time slot where 5 shots were going to be given to me, I would prepare at least 25% more moves, So around 8-9 moves or tricks to perform, have your top choices planned. Pick around 60%-70% of “difficult tricks” maybe tricks that you have to get out of after around 10-15seconds but can’t hold it forever but can do it at least 3 times in a row, the remainder should be “easy tricks” e.g. climbs, sit variations, lay back variations things you can hold for a minute without breaking a sweat and use these as your “rest tricks”.
Here’s a photos of me just doing simple. We’ve used it quite a lot for me, It’s got an interesting shape to it and it’s not a move that’s to intimidating to use all over. And the lighting my Millie here is just great.
You will be surprised by how much you like the simple ones as much as the difficult ones, you can think more about your facial expression, your hair, your smile.
Have a video of your moves on the day just in case the photographer isn’t sure of what move you are talking about that way you can show the move and they can determine the angles and set up the lighting to make sure you don’t waste your energy demonstrating it on the day.
Know if the pole will be on spin on static!! And Plan!!
If you are efficient you might event come out of it with more moves and photos than you expected!
- Choosing your Outfit
THE FUN PART! I usually plan about 2-3 outfits per photo shoot depending on the length of the shoot. If it’s just 5 photos I might want to save time and do the same outfit the whole time, if I have a little bit more, I might want at least 2 different ones to have with me.
Consider what moves you will be doing and which outfit will be the best in which move, as you can see from my Janeiro, the awesome back of my Mika Yogawear outfit went along quite well with the back view of the Janeiro, but if I had an outfit that was “front heavy” in terms of the design, it would have been completely unseen!!
You can’t see any of the front of my WINK asymmetrical body suit here as you can tell you just get the little strap.
This is also an example of getting 2 shot with “ONE MOVE” just a variation of the reverse rainbow. It’s a good idea as well if you can perform a trick that is difficult but have variations of it to try and move about in the trick and get as many angles as possible.
Wardrobe malfunctions are an issue but less so that in a performance, you can always have a buddy on hand to tuck those extra bits in!
Make up, it’s a photo shoot with crazy lighting!! If you want a face shot, make sure you have some make up on!! Or at least some falsies to carry you through, you don’t want to be washed out by the flash. But if you are going to stick just to moves and not have your face as prominent as in most of my pole photos so far, this may be much less important of an issue!
- Tips for the Day
After my first photo shoot, Justin looked over at me and went “okay now you can go and have dinner”, my reaction was oh that already happened!! Trying to look a little bit more “cut” or “lean” and not having a meal before the photo shoot did not occur to me, so I had a nice dinner was half asleep and not warm at all. Well until the shoot started. The photos turned out okay in the end and I didn’t really feel I had to “lean up” for the photo shoot, I had also just come back from a trip to Japan with lots of delicious food.
If you want, there are many tips on how to “cut before a photo shoot or event” online which generally involve very little carbohydrates that weak and a lot of water in the initial days and subsequently reducing water on the day of the shoot.
I have a photo shoot with Brad this week and both Grace and I are going to try and do a mild version of this, have out shoot early in the morning and be “fasted” and slightly dehydrated for the shoot! I’ll let you know how it goes.
But bring a banana or a snack during the shoot, the food you have then is not going to get into your body in time to affect all that leaning up you needed to do!
PACK YOUR GRIP AIDS! And a little towel to help you keep dry!
If you are booked into a longer session, keeping warm and staying active is important so keep your warm up gear nearby to make sure you don’t get injured, lots of water for the day and some snacks to keep you going. Because a HANGRY poler is not a good poler!!
Enjoy your first shoot!! Remember it’s about remembering the moment and cherishing what you have accomplished.