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Using Google to Find a Photographer

How to Use Google to Search for the Right Photographer for You

I hope you want professional dance pictures. I truly hope you get some time with a talented and caring professional photographer who makes you not only look marvelous but feel proud about every bit of talent you possess.

Word of mouth is a great way to find the right photographer for you. If you love the work they did with a friend, and they love the experience they had with the photographer, then perhaps that’s your person! Sometimes, you just want to see what else is out there, or you just weren’t all that wowed by your friend’s photos.

So, how will you get Google to give you some solid recommendations? After all, Google doesn’t evaluate the photos on a website to know that the turnout is great or the hands are sublime.

The results of a Google Search are only as good as the criteria you provide. Here are some suggestions for finding a photographer to make you look and feel your best.

As you search for a dance photographer, I hope Andrew Bowen Studios will rise to the top of your search lists, wherever you are in the world.

Some Info on how Google Search works

Google (and other search engines) are trying to find you the most helpful websites for your search criteria, for the most part. The part that has the best information is what is called the Organic Search Results.

Organic Search Results are websites that Google thinks will be most helpful. Google has a sophisticated algorithm that looks at the text of the pages, information about photos, and links going to and coming from a site to determine how likely it is for the website to be of use to you. You can’t buy placement in the organic search; it is based solely on having content that shows you are serious about a specific topic.

Stuff that gets in the way

There can be several bits of clutter, but these two masquerade as important results. For what we want to find, be aware, and move past these parts of the search results.

  • Paid Ads: businesses can pay to have their website show up at the top or bottom of each page for specific search terms. There are no guarantees about the site utility in this case. In some cases, you will get the ad link because of just the word “photographer” and not because of any other search terms. Ads will be marked with a little “Ad” notation next to the link. It is designed to be subtle since Google gets paid when you click on the link, and they want folks to pay for the ad placement.
  • The Map: The map is great if you want to find someone within a few miles of you. Given you want fantastic dance pictures and an incredible experience, prioritizing distance isn’t the main goal.

Here are a few things to know about what you type in the search bar. Search terms can get complex, but for our purposes, you need to know a couple of things.

  • If you enclose a word or phrase in double quotes like, “Dance Photographer” Google will require that it find that phrase or word somewhere. Unquoted words and phrases are considered “really nice to have”, and priority is given to the first words in your search.
  • You can make your search look for one of two (or more) words by using OR in the search. It must be capitalized. For example, photographer OR photography will match either term.
  • You can require both terms with the AND connector.

We will discuss using these features below to find photographers who will wow you.

Be Specific (but not too specific):

Let’s get started finding the dancer for you!

You aren’t just looking for any photographer, we want one with very specific skills. At a minimum, you want to search for a Dance Photographer.

Sometimes Dance Photography will generate different results from Dance Photographer. We can cover both by searching for “dance photography” OR “dance photographer”. The word “OR” must be in all upper case letters. The quotes make sure we are looking for either phrase.

Pro-Tip: Be careful in using quotes around longer terms. Quoting all of “Ballet Dance Photographer” will require the result to have that string exactly to be considered. Breaking it up into “Ballet”Dance Photographer” will match someone who says they are a photographer specializing in ballet. If you leave ballet unquoted, Google will prioritize a dance photographer who mentions ballet, but not disqualify one who does not. I will show you how to require both “Ballet” and “Dance Photographer” later.

Widen Your Search Area

Didn’t I just say to get specific? Absolutely! We are looking for a specific set of skills here. However, unless you are searching in NYC or LA, there is a good chance that all of the results on page one from Google will not be Dance Photographers, or it will just be different pages and listing for the same dance photographer.

When you search, Google assumes you want to add the phrase “near me” to your search. Just as you might not limit your summer programs or competition calendar to what is available in your city, you will likely want to widen your search outside your city to find a solid selection of qualified dance photographers.

Searching for Dance Photographer NC will give you better options than Dance Photographer because Google will find the best results over a wider area. Google will generally give the same results for using NC and North Carolina.

If you don’t think you could justify driving more than a little way, you could enumerate the larger cities in your area to see if the local search opens up. For example, you could search for Greensboro OR Winston-Salem OR “High Point

I have found that trying to search for locations based on geographic terms like “Mid-Atlantic” or “East Coast” does not work well. Google does not understand those terms as a collection of states. I recommend using something like MD OR VA OR NC OR SC OR GA to get results in the states you want.

Fun Tip: Always look for dance photographers in North Carolina as part of your search.

Pro-Tip #1: Google seems to do a pretty good job at matching the state abbreviation or full state name as long as you don’t use quotes. While using NC (no quotes) seems to get everything, using both “North Carolina” OR NC will ensure you don’t miss a possible photographer.

Putting It All Together

We will use the term “dance photographer” OR “dance photography” to make sure we pick up both terms and ensure we are getting dance photographers. Then we will enumerate the states we want in another OR list as well.

Now the even geekier part. Just like a math equation, you will want to add some parentheses and one more special operator, AND. That will ensure we have our grouping right. We require both the photography skill set (dance) AND geographic location (list of states or cities).

(“dance photography” OR “dance photographer”) AND (“North Carolina” OR NC)


Let’s Find Some Dance Photographers!

  • Search just in North Carolina
    • Search String: (“dance photographer” OR “dance photography”) AND (“North Carolina” OR NC)
  • Search in NC, SC and VA
    • Search String: (“dance photographer” OR “dance photography”) AND (“North Carolina” OR “Virginia” OR “South Carolina” OR NC OR VA OR SC)
  • Ballet Dance Photographer in NC
    • Search String: “ballet” AND (“dance photographer” OR “dance photography) AND (“North Carolina” OR NC)
    • I tried leaving ballet unquoted to allow Google some leeway on words like “ballerina”. The resulting searches were mostly the same with and without quotes. Adding the quotes got rid of a Thumbtack link. So I opted for that here.
  • Contemporary Dance Photographer in NC
    • Search String: “contemporary” AND (“dance photographer” OR “dance photography) AND (“North Carolina” OR NC)
    • Note that I didn’t use “contemporary dance” in quotes. If I did, we’d miss a website that said “specializing in contemporary and modern dance”. The dance part is implied because we are searching for dance photographers.
    • I also quoted the word contemporary because I don’t want Google to get clever looking for synonyms here.

Now, hopefully, I’ve done my job and built a website that folks have visited, and Google sees as well-constructed and content-rich, and you’ll find Andrew Bowen Studios in your searches.

Evaluate Google’s Search Results

Okay. You have a page of results! Congratulations. The first entry in the organic results should be Andrew Bowen Studios. Seriously, though, Google has made some good references, and now it is up to you to do the rest. Remember that Google will still use information about your location to sort results, and a solid website closer to you will get listed first.

Skip the Junk

  • Ads are paid placement. Google didn’t decide this was a good result.
    • If you have used my search strings, you may have no ads, because most photographers would not have such a specific set of criteria set for running the ad.
  • The Map is of little help since we are looking for a larger area, and want to look at more than 1-3 results.
  • Get into the organic search results for the best references.
    • If there are no ads, this will be right at the top!!
  • Ignore sites like thumbtack and photobooker. While they say they have references for dance photographers, they do not. There might be times when they have some value-add, but this is not one of them.
  • I tend to skip over Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles. They are harder to vet as being quality photographers because there is so little about the photographer, and often the posts are about a single photo session (in the case of Facebook). Someone running a serious business who plans to be around for you will have a website.
  • Open the sites of interesting results in new tabs to compare them.

Assess what’s left

I want you to find a dance photographer who makes you feel incredible, who makes you look your best, who respects you as an artist, and who can help you create the photographs that make feel great. As long as that happens, I’m happy for you. To that end:

  • How much of their business is dance photography? Is dance important to them?
  • Are they doing individual photoshoots or only on school photo days?
  • You may have landed on a blog post (like this one). Navigate to the home page and see if Dance Photography is part of their core portfolio.
  • Are the photos compelling and pleasing to you? Could you see yourself in some of the images?
  • Are there many different dancers shown?
  • Does it look like the photographer works with dancers about your age? If you are a teen and all photos are of adults, will they know how to work with you?
  • We all put our best work on our website. If you are feeling ‘meh’ about what you see, it isn’t going to get better.
  • Read their bio. Do they seem like someone who respects you as an artist and a person?
  • Are they members of any professional organizations? Professional Photographers of America (PPA), American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), American Society of Photographers (ASP), or their local chamber of commerce? While individually or as an aggregate, these don’t mean the photographer will be the right person for you, it does show that they are involved in their craft and part of a larger professional community.

Did I Make the Cut?

I hope that after you have looked at what is out there, you would like the chat. I encourage you and your parents (if you are still in school) to talk to the photographers you think might be a match. I mean actually talk. Not pass a couple of emails, but talk to the photographer who will be creating your photos with you. Please, make sure they care about you as an artist, have the skills necessary to do your artistry justice, and will respect your opinions and input.

Finding the Right Dance Photographer

Ballerina in Romantic Tutu from Copellia
UNCSA Ballet Student, Bridget in her YAGP Costume from Coppelia.

Finding the Right Dance Photographer

Things to Consider When Looking for a Dance Photographer

What makes great dance photography? It is the joint effort of the dancer and the right dance photographer. What makes someone the right dance photographer for you?

More than anything, it is TRUST.

There are some very specific skills required by the photographer, but trust makes all the difference in the world. Does the photographer listen to w?

Understand the Photographer’s Goals

A photographer can have all of the best equipment and lighting, but if their style and goals don’t align with yours, you’re less likely to create photos that you’ll be proud to share. Try to meet ahead of time and ask questions!

The right dance photographer for you can support you, encourage you, and correct you when you need it. They help you make adjustments. Find out if you are going to be on a tight schedule or will you have time to make adjustments or try a different line?

A great dance photographer can be trusted to not post photos that you don’t love. They value your portfolio over their own. They allow you to be yourself.

Great dance photography doesn’t just show the beauty of dance; it tells a story about you. When you find the right dance photographer, the photos of your dreams are going to happen.

Not all Photographers Are Dance Photographers

A dance photographer is one part dance coach, one part portrait photographer, one part sports photographer, one part product photographer, and one part your biggest fan. The best dance photographers aren’t just trained to work with dancers; they’re passionate about the art form and respect you as an artist.

My goal is to create an environment of trust that allows you to explore your artistry and express yourself freely.

Check Out Their Website and Instagram Profile

As you’re preparing to book your dance photoshoot, take a few minutes to browse each photographer’s website and Instagram profile. Get a sense of their style. Ask yourself these questions.

  • Does each photograph look like the same person or pose?
  • Are the photos consistently high quality and unique?
  • What do their reviews say?

A little research can go a long way!

Let’s Make Exquisite Dance Photography Together

Choosing a photographer to create your photographs is one of many important decisions. Your pictures say as much about you as an artist as it does about your dance technique. If you want images that showcase all of your talent, artistry, and personality, choosing the right photographer is a must.

If you’re ready for a retreat-like experience with a photographer who treats you like a peer, click below, and let’s create those get-you-noticed photos you’ve dreamed of. I limit my appointments to give each dancer the time and experience they deserve. So, get in touch today to schedule your shoot.

Contemporary dancer in bridge position but only one hand touching. Black jeans and loose blue top exposing his chest.
Commerical dancer in fishnets and LaDuca shoes in a fourth with backward look
Contemporary dancers in folded passe-ish shape in white skirt and victorian collar against blackness
Dancer in deep pressed fourth with strong arm lines and backward gaze.
Bright attitude on pointe with big yellow skirt and purple leotard.

A Work of the Heart

Andrew Bowen (center) poses with the ballet dancers from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Class of 2022.

Moving Photography: Local Photographer Exposes the Elegance and Emotion of Dance

from Shalom Greensboro – Jan/Feb 2022 by Greensboro Jewish Federation


Artistry can be portrayed in a plethora of ways and today, there seems to be more effort than ever to make just about everything an “aesthetic.” From dancing on TikTok to the way one organizes their pantry, to decorating a homemade cake, everyone has some artistic flair in their daily lives. Some artists, however, have been perfecting their technique since they were preschoolers. Those artists are often dancers.

Parents sign their children up for dance at an early age for a number of reasons. This art form can help people of all ages build confidence, improve muscle strength, learn discipline, and understand the connection between the mind and body.

Andrew Bowen in his studio

Another art form, photography, captures the beauty and emotion of this type of storytelling.

When Andrew Bowen decided to switch careers from engineering to photography in 2010, he didn’t know how successful he would be or the impact he would have on the dance community and beyond. After a family move to Greensboro to send his daughter to the American Hebrew Academy, the former international Jewish boarding school, Bowen found himself photographing families, high school seniors, and some bar mitzvahs on the weekends. “The Jewish community dances without shame at bar mitzvahs,” he laughed.

Bowen remembers feeling like he had a lot to learn after shooting his first semi-professional dancer around 2015. “When I first began photographing dancers, there were additional aspects of right and wrong,” Bowen explained. Balancing light and darkness is already challenging for photographers, but adding in basic ballet positions and correct body movements is another level.

It wasn’t until 2018 when Bowen approached the Greensboro Ballet for some pro-bono work to hone his skills. The lighting aspect was easy for him to come by, but he knew he’d have to do some extra work to properly serve this population. He embraced the virtual world during the Covid-19 pandemic by joining a two-year dance photography mentorship program out of New York City, signing up for virtual dance classes with a small studio in England, receiving a Master’s in Photography through the Professional Photographers of America and committing to the study of dance kinesiology, all to improve his craft.

In the ballet world, dancers are constantly in front of mirrors, being coached on perfecting each position and moving their bodies with precise goals in mind. In Bowen’s photography studio, comfortability is of the utmost importance. The dancer’s vision on everything, from what they want to wear to all of the moves they want to showcase, is paramount. “Dancers are often subjugating themselves to other people’s visions. This space is a space for them to do something they’ve always wanted for themselves,”  Bowen explained as he walked through the rooms he carefully curated with flexible backdrops and professional lighting equipment.

Equipped with snacks, hair bands and bottles of water, the environment that Andrew has created in his studio connected to “Dance is a rare art form where his home, feels safe, welcoming, the person is the and extremely professional.

“You realize, especially when canvas, the paint, you’re working with women or girls, or males for that matter, and the brush.” that you have an awesome responsibility to not feed into what society puts on them. If I’m going to work with dancers, I need to step up my game so much more than really good lighting.”

Each session, Bowen creates a collaborative experience while in his studio, encouraging dancers to speak up, take the lead, and be assertive throughout their time together. He treats his clients as peers and works alongside them to achieve a look that shows the dancer at their very best.

Company Dancer, Michela Semenza, with Gate City Ballet Theater

“More than anything, you listen to them. Dance is a rare art form where the person is the canvas, the paint, and the brush,” he noted.

Bowen is also known for giving his time and talent to the local community. In addition to this magazine, he volunteers his photography skills to a multitude of nonprofit organizations such as Marva’s Outreach Ministries (M-O-M) which helps survivors of domestic violence. Each year, M-O-M calls on Bowen to shoot their annual calendar at his studio.

“I want to showcase these women for more than their abuse. You have authors, doctors, social workers and entrepreneurs in the room. You get a chance to talk to them and hear their story, not as a victim, but as a human being and how they’ve overcome so much. Of course, I want to help do something,” he says humbly.

Karley Weaver with Dancers Edge

In addition to humble, patient would be the best word to describe Bowen in regards to his art. He wants to capture the entire essence of a dancer and asks for their feedback throughout the entire photography session. Oftentimes, one session takes an entire afternoon. Bowen is constantly showing his camera to his clients as they work together to get the perfect shot.

“Dance is an art form that transcends language. It enables the whole person to express the emotion or feeling or message they are trying to convey. Dance has been a communication form, and a way of passing history that speaks to us at a fundamental level. There’s a second aspect of dance: amazing athleticism. We’re both in awe of the artistry and the emotion but at the same time, in awe of the physical capability.”

The Greensboro community is not the only place where Bowen’s talent is widely known. In the two out of three years he has submitted dance photography, Bowen has been a bronze photographer with the IPC (International Photographic Competition). In 2019 and 2021, all four of his submitted photos were designated merit images at the highest quality of photography and will be on display at the Imaging USA Convention this year.

Bowen belongs in the dance world, not only because of his talent, but because he is an advocate for women, dancers, and artists. The average person may never know how passionate Bowen is about his photography but, after spending an afternoon with him, each dancer he works with will be stronger, in more than one way.

Dance Audition Photos: Tips for Success

Preparing for Dance Audition Photos? Here Are 7 Tips

Audition season can be nerve-wracking, no matter how experienced a dancer you are. But great dance audition photos and headshots give you a chance to show off your personality—and make the right first impression.

As they say, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” So, whether you’re gearing up for a ballet audition headshot and audition photos, or a contemporary portfolio photoshoot, check out these tips to get the most from your photoshoot. Then, come in confident, relaxed, and prepared, so you can take the photos you need to get noticed during your next audition.

At Andrew Bowen Studios, you’ll find that I’m both committed to collaboration and passionate about your artistry. Over the years, I’ve worked with many dancers—from aspiring artists to seasoned professionals. Knowing how to rock your photoshoot is just part of the recipe. So, whether you need to book a photoshoot for your first ballet summer intensive audition photos, or it’s just time to update your headshots, here are seven tips that will help you make the most of the experience.

Tip #1: Research Audition Requirements

Nothing will bring you down to earth faster than not having the right images for your audition package.  Research where you want to apply, what they want in terms of positions, the vibe of the company, and how they present themselves. Let’s make it easier for them to see you as part of the company.

Tip #2: Get Inspired

Now that you know what you need, let’s tell your story. First, think about a few things to help define the goals for your audition photoshoot. Look at other headshots for inspiration and think through poses and aesthetics that best reflect your passion and skills. Then, reflect on what you want your headshot to say about your career as a dancer. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you prepare for your photoshoot.

  • What words or phrases best describe my journey as a dancer?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What’s my favorite quote about dancing?
  • Who inspires me and why?
  • What excites me?

Jot your answers to these questions and email them to me before your photoshoot. Or you can create a mood board so that I can get a sense of your goals, dreams, and personality.

Tip #3: Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Book Your Photoshoot

When an audition is on the line, planning ahead pays off! It’s a good idea to book your photoshoot well in advance, so there is ample to edit your favorite photos. I strive for a one-week delivery, but that can be up to two weeks during a busy period.

I offer a limited number of photoshoots each week to ensure each dancer gets the time, attention, and experience they deserve. So, be sure to reach out as soon as you’re ready to book.

Tip #4: Keep Your Hair and Makeup Simple

For ballet audition photos, it’s best to let your personality and natural beauty shine. It’s easy to add more makeup if needed, but removing it is challenging. So, as a rule of thumb, less is best. 

P.S. Don’t freak out if you have a mild acne breakout the morning of your audition photoshoot. That’s generally easy to fix.

Tip #5: Dress for Success

Let your dancing and skills speak for themselves. I recommend keeping things simple. In general, it’s better to highlight your artistry rather than your outfit. For classical ballet, this means a black leotard and tights for the ladies and black dance tights with a white shirt for the gentlemen.  For contemporary dancers, we want clothes that fit you well so they can see how your body is moving. Commercial dancers will want your Laduca’s and fishnets, and then something that speaks to your creativity and personality. Opt for solid colors and clean backgrounds in order to keep the focus on you.

And always pack extra wardrobe options, just in case. We can’t photograph you in something that you don’t bring. Have an idea? Let’s chat before your photoshoot.

Tip #6: Collaboration Is Queen (or King)

Open communication is essential to a successful audition photoshoot. You know what you are capable of, and my job is to get your photos to tell that story. I will challenge you to get your best. And once you are thrilled with how you look, we will move on to more options. Transforming your three-dimensional form into the best two-dimensional photo is its own art. I will work with you to find your angles, craft the best lighting, and coach you through the whole process.

Tip #7: Don’t Forget Your Headshot

For the right headshot, you want to think simple too. The focus should be a clean photo that best represents your personality. Start with a hair-down photo to avoid crimped hair before trying a bun. I recommend opting for light, natural makeup. The AD or program director wants to know what you look like and gain a sense of your personality and engagement. We will work your angles and expression to find the look that will grab their attention and make them want to know more about your artistry.

Are You Ready to Create Your Audition Photos with Andrew Bowen Studios?

If you’re ready to put your best face and foot forward for your next audition or application, let’s chat! Follow these tips, and we’ll work together to create audition headshots that will help you stand out.

How to Rock Your Creative Dance Photoshoot

Jazz style on Pointe from a Studio Dance Photoshoot

5 Tips for a Fabulous Dance Photoshoot

Your dance photoshoot should be a highlight of your year. Creating your dance photographs with a professional photographer is incredibly exciting. However, if you’ve never done it before, it can also feel a little overwhelming. At Andrew Bowen Studios, my goal is to always create a fun, memorable experience. A little bit of preparation can make your day at the photography studio absolutely amazing!

Whether you want contemporary dance photos or a classical ballet photoshoot, here are five tips that will help you rock your dance photoshoot, enjoy the experience, and leave with photos of your best artistry.

1. Meet Your Dance Photographer

You’ve probably looked at the photos on Instagram, but you don’t really know much about the photographer. I always start our first photoshoot with an in-person or virtual tour of the studio. I want you to feel like you are coming back to a familiar place and familiar face when you arrive.

Share Your Dance Photoshoot Inspiration

Which poses make you feel most creative? Which ones would you rather avoid? Do you have inspiration images for poses, lighting you love, or just general vibes that inspire you?

Send me an email with your ideas, preferences, and inspiration images before your photoshoot. I’ll have the images printed so we can easily reference them and have ideas on how to achieve the looks that move you.

2. Pack More Than You Think You’ll Need

Pack anything and everything—as many outfits and props as you’d like! We don’t have to use everything you bring, but we definitely can’t use what you don’t bring. Having many options can keep your creativity flowing. Plus, I have more props at the studio, like angel wings and a huge array of skirts and fabrics for some amazing, flowing shots.

As you’re packing, don’t forget to bring extra makeup for touch-ups. Plan your hairstyle changes (usually down first, and then up later) and keep makeup minimal. Don’t overdo it. Less is more! (Plus, removing makeup can make for irritated skin.) Pack your favorite brush and hair accessories too.

3. Get Plenty of Rest & Fuel Up

While a dance photoshoot is a ton of fun, it’s also hard work. You can expect to get a workout and spend time working through different poses. So, make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and eat a meal that will give you energy.

For the record, I always keep the studio fully stocked with snacks and drinks (some healthier than others). And if you’d like to bring your own, feel free! I have a refrigerator with plenty of room to store your favorites. Tell me what you like, and I’ll try to add it to my next shopping trip before your photoshoot.

4. Bring a Friend or Family Member

At Andrew Bowen Studios, I always encourage dancers to bring a friend or family member. Not only is it nice to have someone there for support. And it’s also fun to have behind-the-scenes images of your day, an extra set of eyes for selecting favorites, or help to toss some cloth. It never hurts to have someone on hand for hair or makeup touches, either. One note—if you’re under 18, I do require that a parent comes with you.

And bring some music too! Your dance photoshoot should be memorable and fun. So, go ahead and queue up your favorite playlist, take a couple of BTS selfies, and make the day an experience you won’t forget. For the record, at Andrew Bowen Studios, you’ll get all images the next day and the rest typically within a week—and I’ll also post on social media and tag you too.

5. Speak Up!

No one understands your vision, dreams, talents, or strengths better than you do. So, during your photoshoot, I’d love your feedback! If you want to try a new pose, have an idea for a prop or background, or aren’t crazy about the lighting, it’s okay to say so. The best images come from empowered dancers working in collaboration.

Now You’re Ready to Rock Your Dance Photoshoot

With a bit of prep, the right mindset, and a truly collaborative partner that sees you as their peer, a dance photoshoot can be an experience you’ll never forget.

My Mission: Empowering dancers through collaboration that expresses individual stories and artistry through museum-quality photography.


Having a Ball(et)

Teen Ballet Photo Shoot (then and now)

Back in 2019, I welcomed Annabeth, Ashlynn, and Sarah Mackenzie from the School at Greensboro Ballet for a photo shoot. We did a mix of creative dance photography for their portfolios, for Greensboro Ballet, and more than anything, to have some fun.  We were both in a bit of new territory. They were some of my first dancers and it was their first photo shoot. When I told them how fast the time would go, they didn’t really believe me.  Some things never change.

I had the privilege of continuing to work with two of them during their high school years and creating more memories and artwork as they finished high school. Sometimes, looking back helps one to appreciate where you are.

Some things have changed at my studio over the past couple of years. The studio is larger and we have more clothing and props. We have wonderful relationships with Tutu.com who loans us a variety of tutus for use during the year, and Oodelooo Ballet Wear who has created many of our favorite skirts. My skills have evolved significantly as well in terms of lighting for dancers, coaching, and a better general overall understanding of dance. Additionally, I earned my Master of Photography from Professional Photographers of America.  In all, what was a photoshoot has become a creative retreat for dancers.

We also have a relationship with Kool Cakes Bakery in Rockingham for Ballet Cookies that we give out at the end of sessions. Yum!

Other things have not changed. Just as it was with these three ballet dancers, my dancers still work hard to get the shot they want. The goals of each dancer are still my top priority, and each dancer really nails the shot (no composite work or reshaping their bodies). One size will never fit all, and my goal is to create an experience that not only yields outstanding photography but also provides a lasting positive impression on each dancer who shares their artistry.

The original photoshoot…

A year or two later…

Ballerina pulling against fabric in wide fourth looking back
Ballerina doing a flick passe in black leo on dark background
Ballerina in big attitude on pointe with flowing fabric.
Ballerina all in white on white background in pensive fifth
Ballerina in Passe on pointe. Orange and yellow background.
Dance in floor position on pointe. One knee brought towards the face in a bridge position
ballerina in fifth looking into mirror with blue and red reflections in background

Moving into the future…

I can’t say what will come next, but even as I look at images here that are only a year old, I can see changes in how I went about creating them. Not good or bad, just different, which is a hallmark of any artist’s journey. A photoshoot, whether ballet or contemporary, is a partnership of artists, and I’m grateful for the artists who have challenged me and shared their vision with me over these past years. I’ll always remember this photoshoot fondly as one of my first creative sessions.

Why Make Prints

I humbly suggest that print is not dead.

I speak from experience both as a producer of images (dance photographer, and one-time portrait photographer, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Photographer and Sports Photographer) and consumer of images (in all of these same areas). I have tens of thousands of images of my family’s life. I even have those images winnowed down to about 1000 images I really love that sample our lives over the years; but in the end, no one generally looks at them. They even live on an online gallery so family far and wide can look whenever they want to. Not much (any) traffic there. What does get regular traffic are the real physical albums and books. Either digital or homemade scrapbook pages, press printed books and albums from milestone events, they are all perused regularly. Wall-hangings of single images or collages are regularly interacted with and elicit memories. The print enables the viewer to view them on their own terms and at their own pace. Print is constant; the image is exactly how it is meant to be seen. The print simply is. It is always there, waiting for us, waiting to remind us.

We hired someone to be the photographer at our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. We got a disk of nicely processed images. They sat of months and months, and then over a year. No one looked at them past the initial oohs and aahs. Then, as the two-year anniversary neared, I turned our favorites into a beautiful press-printed book. It lives on a coffee table. It is picked up; it is interacted with; it lives. I still have all the images from that wonderful weekend years ago, but the only ones we look at are the prints.

We hired someone to do a family portrait. Once again, I really wanted those digital files. Once again, a total of two have been used for avatars on Facebook. The two images we loved most are on the walls in our home. The 4×6 prints sit in a box, and the digital files, well, we know where they are.

Don’t we all (or at least all of us over the age of 30) have shoeboxes of 4×6 prints from Ritz or Costco that we never look at? I did, and I still do. I had some of the good ones scanned to archive them, but they just changed shoeboxes from a physical one in my closet to a digital one in the cloud. They exist in that same stasis they did when they were in the shoebox. When I talk about prints, I’m talking about something that doesn’t go in a shoebox, digital or physical. The “My Pictures” folder quickly becomes as unwieldy as the dozen photo boxes in the closet.

In the end, we can archive our happy memories or we can live amongst them. Choose life!