Life Isn't Perfect, But Your Outfit Can be...
One of the most popular questions asked before any photo sessions whether it be headshots or a dance session is : What should I wear?
So here is a list of the top 10 pieces of clothing I always suggest, to any performer who is booked in for a photo session, to bring along with them and outfit ideas for your next photo session.
1. Neutral Leotard
Always start with something classic and simplistic. A Black, white or nude leotard works no matter what the backdrop whether it be studio session or out in the busy streets of Glasgow on location, the simple leotard ensures you as the performer stand out. A neutral leotard, with a nice neckline, works great for headshots too as it's not too bold and can really show off you in the headshot.
2. Add Some Funk...
My favourite pieces of clothing for any type of photo session are a leather or denim jacket. I always feel by adding another layer it adds more character. It also helps the performer/ model feel more comfortable and can create different shapes with their body as you now have a prop to hold on to and move around during the session.
3. Floaty Skirt
I love working with floaty skirts, the flow of movement and the unpredictable shapes add so much depth to the photograph. No matter if the skirt is long or short they way they follow the movement of the body especially during an arabesque or a body tilt, I love the way the. material of the skirt hugs the shape of the body. The curves throughout the skirt enhance the curves in the body.
4. Bold Colour Leotard
Now where to start with a coloured leotard. It is a must for every session. The pop of colour against any backdrop ensures you as the dancer stands out against the crowd. Wearing a colour during your portfolio session is key to move forward in the audition process, if you wear a red leotard in your portfolio wear the exact same leotard in the audition and it will stick in the audition panels mind as they have seen it once before. I always tell performers to bring a bright colour along with them to their headshot session too, especially one that will enhance the colour of your eyes. For example, if you have blue eyes wear a blue top so the colour is carried throughout the photograph and draws people to look at your eyes.
5. Sparkle on...
Nothing is better than a good old fashioned costume. Well maybe not old fashioned, as a costume that sparkles is always in fashion. Everyone who has done a photo shoot with me, knows that I love a good costume! Working with a costume is totally different to everyday dance wear, it adds that extra wow factor to the photograph. They maybe aren't photographs that you would include in your portfolio depending on the costume however, it will capture that moment in time and the memories along with the costume whether it be you want to wear something unusual and become a character, your first designer tutu or that it was custom made just for you. Costumes will always have a place in your heart.
There are so many prints in the fashion world from floral to tartan, and I love them all! The prints and patterns on the leotards speak for themselves. Now in the dance wear fashion world, dancers pick the prints that they are drawn to. Bringing them along to your portfolio session is the perfect way to add your own personality into the photograph.
7. Your Favourite Brand
Why not bring along your favourite brand to your session? That would be the perfect opportunity to enhance your dance career and network throughout the community. When posting your photographs on social media tag your favourite brand showing them you are wearing their leotard, write about how wearing that brand makes you feel and why you choose them. Many dance wear brands run ambassador searches which are great opportunities for up and coming dancers, so show your support to your favourite brand and be photographed in them.
8. Everyday Clothes
Try something different. Don't want to wear dance wear? Why not wear everyday clothes. Bring along jeans, a big shirt or even a knitted jumper. These always look great in photographs and also outside the box. I love photographing dancers in ordinary clothes, taking the dancer out of the dance world and into everyday life. Stretchy jeans are perfect as you can still show off your flexibility while keeping it casual. Adding in a big shirt or knitted jumper along with dance wear adds another dimension to the photograph, dancers can dance in anything. I feel by wearing ordinary clothes dancers look even more flawless than they would if they were wearing dance wear.
9. Go Long or Go Home
Long socks or leg warmers are fantastic props to bring along. I always think they make your legs look longer and elongate the lines you want to show off. You can mix it up and bring different colours to contrast with your leotard colour. Wear them with no shoes or with your pointe shoes. They add some fun to your portfolio!
10. If the shoe fits...
Shoes are key to a photo shoot or no shoes which always works great! The main shoes to bring to a session (depending on what look you are going for) are pointe shoes, trainers and heels, you can never go wrong with these 3 types of shoes. Pointe shoes are great, I feel they add elegance and really add to the ballerina vibe in a photograph. If you have coloured pointe shoes bring them along, I love unusual colour pointe shoes! I would only suggest bringing pointe shoes along to a photo session if you are really comfortable on them and they are broken in, you don't want to bring a new pair of pointes to a photo shoot especially if it is outside as you wouldn't want to ruin them. Plus if they are broken in your foot will have a nice arch. Trainers are great as they introduce a more casual look to your portfolio and they are paired well with every day clothes. Lastly, heels. They are great if you are looking to step away from a dance portfolio to a more sophisticated portfolio, that will set you up for auditions and applying for jobs across the globe. They are perfect for elongating your legs and adding sass to your portfolio. Shoes are a key aspect in your photo session.
Just remember when thinking of your outfit for your portfolio or headshots, it's all about you! Don't stray from your style or taste to pleas others, the whole point of a portfolio is to showcase you and your skills and style.
Don't be afraid to be different, be afraid to be the same as everyone else.