If you need easy dance photography poses and ideas for your next photoshoot – then look no further.
Whether you’re starting out as a dance photographer or a student ballerina looking for some photo ideas to post on Instagram, you’ll find something that meets your level.
In this article, I give you some locations, props, and lighting tips you can use on any photoshoot. I also share some posing tips for beginner and advanced dancers.
Plus, you’ll find some poses that any model or couple can do in case you’re just a portrait or lifestyle photographer looking for photoshoot ideas. Let’s not forget that a dancing pose is perfect for a couple’s shoot or makes the cutest picture of two toddlers.
So, any photographer can benefit from dancing pictures. Are you ready to get inspired? Let’s go!
Table of Contents
16 Creative Dance Photoshoot Poses & Ideas
1. Motion Blur
Motion blur is a photographic effect where you register the movement of the subject by using a slow shutter speed. As a result, you make more dynamic images.
This is a great technique you can use on a dance photoshoot because dance is all about movement. To do this, you need to use your camera in manual or shutter speed priority. The longer you keep the shutter open, the more blur you’ll capture.
2. Silhouette images
Silhouette photography is a great way to showcase dance poses. You can do this outdoors during sunrise or sunset because the sun is close to the horizon. This way, you can position the dancer in front of the sun and create a beautiful silhouette.
If you prefer to work indoors, you can ask the dancer to stand in front of a window or a door facing the outside. This way you can expose to the light shining out while keeping the dancer in the dark. Otherwise, you can place a flash or a continuous light source behind them.
3. Use mirrors
Mirrors are great props for a dance photoshoot. Whether they’re fixed on the location or you add them to strategic places, they can be of great help.
The reason why mirrors are so helpful is that incorporating reflections in your pictures is a great way to make interesting compositions.
4. Shoot on the street
Doing a dance photoshoot in the street is more common than you think – and not just hip-hop or urban dance poses.
Instead, having dancers in ballet outfits or pointe shoes in a contrasting setting such as the street or an urban backdrop is very appealing.
It might be challenging to find the right spot or the right time. Some photographers like to work in the middle of the street while there’s a red light holding the traffic. This might be a great photo, just be safe at all times.
5. Change perspective
Changing your point of view may be helpful in dance photography. This allows you to show the different shapes of the dancer’s body or a particular dance pose.
6. Go to a natural location
Many photographers and dancers like to have the photoshoot in a natural setting. You can find a location that suits the mood of the dance. This way, the pictures will have a deeper meaning than just a pretty landscape.
7. Shoot during their training sessions
Photographing dancers while they train is a wonderful way to find ideas that go beyond posing. The same goes for behind the scene pictures during a performance or a recital.
8. Easy dance poses that look hard
If your model isn’t a professional dancer or is just starting out, you can still try some visually interesting dance pose ideas.
Of course, you need to talk with the dancer beforehand and understand their level to agree on some poses. Never try to overreach their capacity as they could get injured.
You can make the photos more impactful with effects such as hair whip, motion blur, or flour. These visual effects take some of the attention from the dance poses and place it on the dynamic motion.
9. Frame within a frame
Frame within a frame is one of the most useful composition rules when photographing dancers. You can use door frames, windows, a hallway with columns, an arch, etc.
The idea is that the attention of the viewer is concentrated on the dancers.
10. Use water
If you’re looking for some dance photography ideas, I have one word for you – water!
There are tons of things you can do to create amazing dance photos with this element. You can use it to create reflections, you can ask your clients to dance on a water surface to make ripples and splashes, etc.
Some photographers and dancers even specialize in underwater photography. Of course, both of you need special training for this.
11. Experiment with powder and smoke
Color powder and smoke bombs are fun props when you’re taking pictures of dancers. The photo can be as simple as a ballerina holding a smoke bomb while she moves or as complicated as a color powder explosion happening when the dancers jump.
The flash sync and coordination of the powder release, while you shoot, are key. It’s also important that you set your camera to burst mode and you use a fast shutter speed.
12. Find an Urbex location
Urbex locations make a great backdrop for any type of dancing photos from contemporary dance to ballet. Whether you’re complementing the style or creating juxtaposition, these pictures just work.
Use the architectural elements to make an interesting composition. Whenever you do this type of photoshoot, you need to be careful about injuries.
In abandoned spaces, there’s often the risk of finding grabble or slippery floors. Having a dancer jump and posing in difficult dance steps can cause an injury if they slip or trip. So, remember to bring a first aid kit and clean the floor before you start taking photos.
13. Lyrical dance poses
When you’re organizing a lyrical dance photoshoot, you should consider posing which allows the dancers to express the fluid motion characteristic of this type of dance.
Lyrical dance is a combination of ballet and jazz where the dancers get inspired by the lyrics of the music. This is why facial and body expression is so important. You need to show the genuine emotion of the dancer in your pictures.
You should also highlight the costumes as they often involve long and light fabrics which are flowing as they move. Some of the steps that work well for lyrical dance photography are the star jump, the saute front, and the leg hold, amongst others.
14. Hip-hop dance poses
Hip-hop is a type of dance that’s characterized by its high energy and fast-paced movements. So, you need to communicate this through your images and be very dynamic as a photographer.
The outfits are very characteristic too. Another important characteristic is the dancer’s attitude. So, even if you’re making a portrait with a static pose – take this into consideration.
Posing a hip-hop dancer often involves squatting extending one leg towards the camera and putting all the weight in the back leg. If standing, they often pose with crossed arms and a defiant look.
Also, consider there are different styles from break dancing to krumping. Talk to the dancers beforehand so you can get an idea of what you need to highlight and how to shoot.
15. Group dance poses for photoshoot
Posing a group of dancers on a photoshoot largely depends on the type of music they dance to and the number of dancers involved.
The best idea is to get inspired by their own choreographies. However, here are some images to give you some photo ideas.
16. Cute dance poses for pictures
Dance pictures aren’t restricted to professional dancers. If you’re doing a couples, friends, or group photoshoot, you might want to capture them dancing. Obviously, you can’t expect them to perform professional dancing poses. So, here are some cute dance poses that are easy to do for anyone.
Dance Photography Poses FAQs
What are some popular poses for dance photography?
Popular dance poses often involve movements and can include leaps, jumps, or intricate footwork. In ballet photography, poses might include an arabesque, a développé, or a grand jeté.
How can I capture movement in dance photography?
To capture movement in dance photography, you can use a slower shutter speed to create motion blur or a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. Continuous shooting mode can also help capture the perfect moment in a series of movements.
What should I focus on when posing a dancer for a photo?
When posing a dancer for a photo, focus on their form and emotion. It’s important to consider the lines created by their body, their facial expressions, and the story they are trying to tell through their pose.
How can I make a dance pose look natural and fluid in a photo?
To make a dance pose look natural and fluid in a photo, try to capture the dancer in motion rather than having them hold a static pose. Also, ensure the dancer is comfortable and confident in their pose, as this will shine through in the photo.
What are some tips for photographing dancers in a studio vs. an outdoor environment?
When photographing dancers in a studio, you have control over lighting and can therefore emphasize the shapes and movements of the dancer. When photographing outdoors, try to use the natural environment to complement the dancer and their movements.
How can I use lighting to enhance a dance pose?
Lighting can be used to highlight the form of the dancer and emphasize their movements. Side lighting can cast dramatic shadows and highlights, while backlighting can create a silhouette effect. Experimenting with different lighting setups can yield a range of effects.
Should I take full-body shots or close-ups when photographing dance poses?
Both full-body shots and close-ups can be effective in dance photography. Full-body photos can capture the entire form of the dancer and their pose, while close-ups can capture details like facial expressions or intricate hand movements. It can be beneficial to include a variety of shots in your dance photography.