You’ve been working hard for weeks and months in your pole dancing classes, building your repertoire of poses, tricks, transitions and flow. No doubt you’re feeling proud of all that you have achieved (and rightly so!), so you’ve been thinking of making the leap and treating yourself to a pole dance photoshoot so that you can immortalise your favourite movements and capture that rockstar feeling!
Pole dance photoshoots can be scary for many obvious reasons; firstly, holding a pose with the pole for a long period of time to make a photo demands a lot strength, secondly, posing in front of a complete stranger in your pole costumes with crazy lighting everywhere is nerve wracking even for the most confident of us, thirdly, a photoshoot with a photographer who is worth their salt will cost you a lot of money!
For those of you are thinking about investing in a pole dance photoshoot, and to those of you who are already signed up to take part in our upcoming photoshoot with Jass Foley, myself and Jass have put together a few simple tips for getting the most out of your photoshoot! I’ve been fortunate enough to have quite a few pole dance photoshoots in my time (including many with Jass), from high-end studio shoots to photoshoots in my own home to outdoor shoots on freezing cold Irish beaches in the middle of February! Jass has also photographed many pole dancers across various studio locations, in his elaborate outdoor shoots (check out this ‘Pole in Odd Places’ series!) and at live events including the ‘World Pole Dance – Sport & Fitness’ Championship. Not to mention many high-end fashion photoshoots, portraiture and commercial work. Let us impart our wisdom so that you can have the best photoshoot experience possible!
1. Know your poses
In the weeks before your photoshoot, spend a few minutes making a brain-dump of your favourite poses and tricks that you’d like to capture. The number one time-waste I see in pole dance photoshoots is when students don’t know what they want to capture; not only is this frustrating for the photographer, it simply doesn’t make sense to not be prepared for the limited time that is available to you!
Spend some time practicing these moves so that you can get into your pose as quickly and as easily as possible on the day of the shoot! Be aware of your angles when practicing also; I recommend spending some time practicing during ‘Pole Play’ class to make some photos with your own camera and seeing from which angle the pose looks best on your body.
Remember, you can use the floor or bottom-third of the pole to make your poses; it’s not all about the crazy tricks! Don’t be scared to be creative and work with small props if you like: flags, flowers, books etc. can work really well. The most important part of any pole dance photoshoot is showing off your personality!
Jass Foley says: “Remember that simple poses work really well for photoshoots like these. My job is to make you look your absolute best- so don’t fret if you’re not able to do the big show-off moves! Simple and elegant works just as well.”
2. Make your list! (And check it twice!)
Once you’ve spent time deciding on which poses you’d like to capture, organize these in order of preference and difficulty. I find it’s generally easier to start with the easier poses on the day of the shoot, so you can warm your body up as well as making sure you’ve got your favourite moves committed to film! It’s always a good idea to have a few extra poses on your list, just in case you have extra time on your shoot. Print your list and include images of what the moves should look like (or you can bring it on your smartphone!). Before you start your shoot, share your list with your photographer so that they can be clear of the shape you are trying to make and the angle you are trying to achieve!
I will be there at our photoshoot with Jass on the 8th to help you get the best poses and to check your lines and pointed toes!
3. Costumes are everything
This point is pretty self explanatory. It’s important to put some thought into what you will wear during your photoshoot! You wouldn’t rock up to an important social event or job interview in just any old clothes, so the same applies here.
When you are practicing your moves prior to the photoshoot, make sure you practice in your chosen costumes so that you can see what looks best! It’s important to pay attention to the lines of your body and how your clothing either complements or distracts from the shapes you are trying to achieve.
Don’t fret if you don’t have fancy costumes! Simple lingerie can work really well, even ‘normal’ clothes like flowy skirts and dresses can also work great! Don’t be shy to call on your pole community and instructors if you need to borrow costume pieces, most polers have more costumes than they can wear and will be glad to help out!
If you are wearing heels in your shoot, be sure to practice your poses in heels also! Heels can be a great tool to elongate your lines and improve posture if used correctly, and of course the inverse is true! Pay attention to the shapes you create in heels and especially to your ankle extension.
Jass Foley says: “Plan your outfit. Almost every style will work in the two setups we’ll be doing- pole sport, fitness, long dresses, Burlesque, “Bringing Sexy Back” etc. You could also do a quick costume change within your time slot if you’d like. You can have the lighting colour customised for the second setup to compliment the colour of your outfit.”
4. Be prepared!
On the day of your shoot, get up nice and early and treat yourself to a good breakfast. Photoshoots can be hard work given the amount of times you will be up and down the pole and holding poses for long periods of time, so make sure you’ve got fuel in the tank!
Prepare your hair and make-up at home before you leave, so that when you arrive, all you have to do is warm up, get your costume on and apply minor touch-ups to your make-up. Warming up is hugely important, for the obvious reasons of preparing the body for physical exertion and avoiding injury, as well as making sure your joints are warmed up for making the longest lines possible and getting into the ‘headspace’ required for pole dancing.
Jass Foley says: “Arrive in advance of your time slot so you’re ready to begin as soon as it starts. We’ll be running with military timing precision! You’ll be able to get ready in Arlene’s studio. Remember to come with your hair and makeup ready too!”
5. When you’re done, rest and recovery!
Of course, when you finish your shoot, be sure to have a cool-down stretch, especially targeting your shoulders! As mentioned in the previous section, photoshoots are physically demanding and like an intense pole dance class. You will be feeling it the next day, guaranteed! I recommend spending the rest of the day looking after your body with good food and relaxation; an epsom salts bath would be ideal. The next day you may still be feeling tender, so it’s best to avoid making plans to attend a class or engage in other demanding forms of exercise!
Pole dance photoshoots are great fun and the experience of a lifetime! You’ll have amazing images to cherish for years to come and another great way to show off your hard work. Remember, you can book your photoshoot with Jass Foley at IPDA headquarters in Dublin on October 8th by clicking the link here! Jass knows how to help you get the best from your shoot and give you images that you will be proud of!
To your success,
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