Being photographed in the studio can be intimidating for anyone. Especially young dancers that may have never experienced the setting before. The aim is to ensure they come away with a smile on their face and some memorable photos to keep forever.
Here's some of my top tips to help nervous dancers in a studio setting:
INTRODUCE THEM TO THE SPACE
If the unknown is what may be causing some butterflies, let them have a sneak peek and
see the space without any distractions. You can take a moment to introduce them to your photographer and talk them through exactly how the process works.
LET THEM WATCH FIRST
As an extension of the above, let them watch their friends go first or even get involved yourself in front of the camera. Seeing others do it first not only shows them what to expect, but is reassurance that there's nothing to be worried about. And then more times than not it's the fear of missing out that spurs them on!
LET THEM HELP
Give them a small task that helps the shoot run smoothly and let them be a part of the process. Age dependent, this can be as small as standing by your side, calling the next group in or even offering posing ideas and opinions. Equally, nervous students are always welcome to have a sneak peak at the back of the camera or sit beside me whilst we photograph others.
INVITE A FRIEND
If it's too daunting to do it solo, let them start with a friend by their side. A hand to hold or with someone to guide them through can help build some confidence. This can be a fellow pupil, teacher, sibling or parent. As soon as they feel more confident, we can photograph them solo.
DON'T FORCE IT
If in doubt, take a break and let them come back later in the schedule. Keeping calm and removing any time pressure will help the situation, and no one is ever forced to do something they don't want to do. There's no harm in taking it slow when necessary. Sometimes I even suggest reflecting this in the schedule and allocating a little extra time for younger classes or grades.
The best photos come from pupils that are engaged and comfortable in front of the camera. Creating an exciting and safe atmosphere in the studio is so important to achieve this, and at the end of the day, the priority is always to provide a fun experience for everyone involved!
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