Please find below a list of frequently asked questions that I receive from portfolio and headshot clients. If you can’t find your question below then please do not hesitate to send it across to me, I will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Where do you shoot?
I have a studio based in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, which can be accessed via car, train and bus. I am just a 5 minute walk from Drumgelloch train station and 15 minute walk from Airdrie train station. Both of these stations are on the line that runs from Helensburgh Ct to Edinburgh, which is the main route that runs through Glasgow Queen St. I am a 25 minute drive from Glasgow city centre and around 45 minutes from Edinburgh. When shooting on location I travel anywhere throughout the central belt of Scotland. I also travel to England for a variety of shoots and plan to have different weekends across major cities in England too.
I have also travelled to Europe and USA for sessions (travel expenses may occur.)
So… I shoot pretty much everywhere and anywhere but my base is Airdrie.
Do you shoot inside or outside?
BOTH! I love to shoot inside and outside. Working on location especially for dance sessions is one of my favourite places to photograph. I guess it’s the unknown which makes it all so exciting. Shooting on location is spontaneous as you can work with your surroundings the light is always changing. However, in the studio you have more control everything is thought out and can be really creative in the studio too. I do both and love both!
What do you do if the weather isn’t great?
Being in Scotland, all year round the weather can be unpredictable. I am always happy to re-schedule until we have a dry day and leave it to the clients discretion if they wish to go ahead. I always say for younger dancers it is best to re-schedule as they do not have the same endurance or stamina to power through as an older dancer would. Most of the year I am constantly watching the weather, upto 2 weeks before, when I have shoots booked and always check in with clients if they wish to re-schedule then or I’m happy to wait until the night before a session before we make any decisions as I previously said the weather in the UK is unpredictable one day it can be pouring from the heavens and then the next the sunshine is out.
What is the best time of day to shoot?
I love to shoot in the morning or late afternoon, I always feel the light is at it’s best then but it really depends on the clients schedule or the weather too. Sometimes I have had to change timings due to the weather or a certain time will suit the client. In Scotland most days are overcast anyways, which I always find is great for shooting in as there isn’t many harsh shadows. However, an overcast day with a little bit of sunshine peaking out behind the clouds created the best lighting as you can achieve subtle shadows but keep the light soft so it still compliments the client. Clouds are basically one big softbox and you just have to work around them to achieve the perfect shot!
What’s your policy for rescheduling?
I am happy to re-schedule if more than 24 hours notice is given by email, message or phone call. Re-scheduling is allowed twice (unless we have discussed and it is out with our control, eg, the weather.) as I do have a busy schedule and so do you as the performer, sometimes the next session available might not be for another month or two.
Will it be distracting if people watch me?
You are a performer, people watch you all the time so you must be used to it by now!
On location, especially in a city centre environment you always get people stopping to see what we are doing and to some people dancing is magical. Passers by may even photograph you, however I do discourage by stopping what we are doing and moving us along as I feel that it is sometimes uncomfortable for you as the dancer to be photographed by strangers (this happens few and far between though so don’t stress over it!)
What’s a shoot like?
Fun, energetic, encouraging! Need I say more?
In my session I always encourage my clients to their maximum potential so you, as the client, receive the best possible photographs. They are spontaneous yet structured as I always have new ideas I would like to try but first we do the basics.
What should colour leotard should I wear for my audition photographs?
Any colour that compliments your skin tone, hair colour or eyes. I always say start with a classic black leotard as they are great to photograph and great for silhouette photographs. Red is always a favourite of mine but it will depend on your complexion. I always say bring a variety of colours and we can see what works best with the backdrop whether it be location or studio. If you plan to wear tights or socks please make sure they are clean with no ladders and shoes are sewn and pointe shoes are broken in, as you want your feet to be comfortable and shown at their best. Other shoes to think about for your session character shoes, converse/ trainers, high heels (they always elongate your legs) and your very own bare feet (please make sure chipped nail polish is off or fully painted, keep the colour neutral so it isn’t distracting.) For dance genres other than ballet please bring crop and pants, unitards/unishorts, oversized shirts, stretchy jeans (this can be discussed over email to see what style you are looking for.) Please also bring some warm up clothes, a dressing gown or onesie is great for location sessions to just pop on over your outift.
What should I do with my hair?
A classic ballet bun or low ponytail works great for your audition photographs. I always love when dancers where their hair down either straight or curly whichever you personally prefer. Hair down is great for creative shots as you can flip it around to help emphasise your movement.
I mean who doesn’t love a hair flip! Sometimes when having your hair down it is better to do some up some down so it is away from your face and it doesn’t distract you too much.
How much make up should I wear?
Only basic, every day, make up is a great starting point.
I always suggest bringing different shades of lipstick and your favourite eye shadow palette so we can add make up if we need to. Also, bring make up wipes incase you aren’t feeling the colour or lip or eye that we have tried.
To fake tan or not?
Fake tan is always a hard one as it can sometimes be patchy which makes it harder to edit your skin tone. I would say if you are a fake tan pro or getting a spray tan then go for it but if you are panic tanning as you think you look pale I would say don’t as you will only regret it when you see your photographs. Keep it natural!
How many dance poses/movements should I prepare?
A minimum of 10. This will help the photo shoot to run smoother. Once I see you performing the movement a couple of times I will be able to see if it will work for you or if we need to adjust it slightly. If auditioning for schools please bring with you a list of the required positions they would like to see i.e. arabesque, tendu a la seconde etc
I will also have poses and movements that I think would look great but it’s good to see the poses you have thought of and most confident with so then I can see what you are capable of and your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you review the photos during the shoot?
I will always show a few sneak peaks unedited from the back of my camera throughout the session to boost morale and sometimes I just get so excited when creating something new I can’t help but show you there and then.
Why is variety so important?
Variety is so important to show every aspect of your reportoire. During dance sessions I always advise to bring a variety of outfits that match with the styles that interest you most but also to bring a leotard, crop and pants too as these are great to show your lines. Headshots on the other hand you want to really express your personality and facial features to the max so having a variation of hair styles and outfit changes is great to show that you can work a variety of looks. Remember these photographs are the first impression an agent, judge or employer will see so you want to show them you at your best, so without shooting a variation of looks you won’t know what works best for you.
Do you enjoy what you do?
I love it! It isn’t really work to me as I enjoy it so much. I love working with a variety of performers and helping them show the best version of them in their photographs. I always want my sessions to be a fun experience and by doing what I love I feel the energy during a session creates a fun experience.
What makes a great headshot?
I always say sparkle from your eyes, try to show your personality through your eyes.
Do I need professional headshots? Can’t I have my friend take my headshots for free?
That’s a big nope from me! Professional headshots are key to ensuring you show yourself to your full potential. Having your friend take your headshots or even portfolio photographs might be fine for your personal social media pages but for auditions or job interviews its a big NO!
Having a professional photograph your headshots or portfolio is an investment in yourself and will give you a better opportunity in standing out against the crowd. A professional photograph doesn’t just take the photograph and that’s the job done. They advise and guide you during the session for angles, outfits and knowledge from previous dancers when it comes to standing out in auditions. Don’t get your friend to photograph your headshots or portfolio.
Invest in you!