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Dance Audition Photos: Tips for Success

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Tips to Ensure a Successful Audition Photoshoot

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.

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 photos that get you noticed.

At Andrew Bowen Studios, you’ll find that I’m committed to providing you with the support, respect, attention, and time that you need and deserve. Over the years, I’ve worked with many dancers—from aspiring artists to seasoned professionals. Knowing how to prepare for your dance 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: Make the Most of “Full-Body Images”

You may be asked to submit a few additional full-body images. These images are your golden opportunity to showcase your strengths and stage presence. Keep this in mind when you get to the final tip!

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

It’s a good idea to book your photoshoot well in advance so you get the date you want and you aren’t running up against a deadline. 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 classical ballet audition photos, a clean, tight bun is the best option. For contemporary and commercial dance, you have a lot of room to innovate. Make sure your hair doesn’t demand too much attention and doesn’t become a minus. We have fans to help keep your hair moving in a way that works with your movement.

For makeup, I recommend “Comfortable and Confident.” You won’t be on stage, so less is more. It’s easy to add more makeup if needed, but removing it is challenging. 

Don’t freak out if you have a mild acne breakout the morning of your audition photoshoot. I’d rather fix some zits than a concealer that is getting flakey.

Pro Tips on Makeup: First, some foundations and creams can reflect excess light, which will wash you out. Products with the letters “HD” in the name of often good choices as photo-safe products. My friend, Janis Lozano, recommends Makeup Forever, Nars, Charlotte Tilbury, and Bobbi Brown as her go-to foundations. Janis also recommends periodically having your tone checked at a store like Ulta or Sephora. Over time, our skin tones change, so what was good when you were 14 isn’t necessarily right when you are 17. You can also check out this article for some other advice: Which Foundations are Best for Wearing in Photos?

Tip #5: Keep the Wardrobe Simple

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. Opt for solid colors and clean backgrounds in order to keep the focus on you.

You can also use leotards I have in my costume closet. We have a wide array of colors and styles. I recommend always packing extra wardrobe options, just in case. Have an idea? Let’s chat before your photoshoot.

Tip #6: 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.

Tip #7: Make Sure Your Photographer Can Get the Shot

It isn’t the camera that makes or breaks getting your audition photos. Working with someone who can help you make adjustments to translate your best technique to the camera and can coach you to get your best lines makes all the difference. This is not the place for silly camera tricks like shooting low to make your legs look long. The people looking at your portfolio have seen it all before, and you are only sending negative signals by using photographs from odd angles.

Make sure you have time to get the shot. You aren’t going to knock out the Royal Five in 20 minutes. You need time to warm up, settle in, and get your movement fluid. If you’ve never worked with a photographer before, a little time is needed to get your communication going.

You may want to check out my article, Finding the Right Dance Photographer. Whether you are working on a tendu or Italian pas, make sure your photographer is going to give you the respect, support, time, and dedication you need and deserve.

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

If you’re ready to get the photos that will get you noticed for your next audition or application, let’s chat! We will work together to create audition headshots that will help you stand out.

Many dancers enjoy utilizing a creative dance retreat for their audition photos. That way one trip provides the opportunity for creative work as well as audition photos.

This is a worthwhile clip on going into audition season applicable to so many things from the incredible Sir Patrick Stewart. CLICK HERE