My Bag of Tips & Tricks

Updated 2018

Now, I’d like to stress that we are not advertising for anyone, and we are not getting paid by anyone to push their products. This is a list of remedies and trending products that we have researched for clients, found through the dancers and vendors we’ve worked with, or have sourced as a way to problem solve what we are working through in the studio. Everyone has a unique opinion on what works and what doesn’t. These are just a few to get the ball rolling on my bag of must-haves!


  • Floored


Ever been in a class or rehearsal space where they won’t let you use rosin but you are slipping all over the place? Or, have you experienced a photoshoot with a photographer who wasn’t a dancer and doesn’t understand that the quality of the floor is important?

I spent about a year working on this one: when we use paper backgrounds in the studio, dancers slip. It’s dangerous, and I’m all about dancer’s safety (to the point where we actually put in a sprung floor when we built my photography studio here in Long Island City!).

We tried the usual home remedies: water, soda, traditional rosin, roughing up the platforms of shoes with a scraper. Some solutions were better than others, but most left marks on our paper that cost me a lot of retouching time.Then I had a pole dancer into the studio who introduced me to the wonderful world of Firm Grip by Cramer. It’s an anti slip spray, a ‘natural rosin formula’ that we order from Amazon. Better and cheaper than the spray rosin from Chacotte. Spray it straight on your shoes, NOT on the paper or floor.


  • Control your “do.”


Whether it’s super fine hair, or a stubborn updo, a dancer’s hair needs to be set where we want it for the picture we’re capturing. Two years ago I had a makeup and hair person introduce us to Powder Play from BigSexyHair. It comes in little red bottle, (again, Amazon). Shake it like baby powder on your hair, and you’ve got rosin for your hair!


  • It can get a little hairy!


A handy little trick when you don’t want to wet your hair in a shoot but the flyaways are flying: use a dryer sheet to smooth over those areas gently.  You won’t crush any curls or shift the blowout but you will tame the strays. If you don’t have a dryer sheet, you can use Static Guard. Don’t spray it on your hair (it smells a little toxic), spray it on a paper towel then smooth your hair!


  • Leotards


Keep an eye for our updated leotard guide for 2018, complete with a list of the trending, customizable, high quality leotards professionals and students alike are wearing, including Eleve, Yumiko, Songbird, Lucky Leo, and Lulli.



  • Bright Eyed


For brighter eyes, and to help create more definition that will read well on screen, photo or video, start with an eye cream or facial lotion, then gently dab your eyelids with liquid foundation with an eye shadow brush. Not only does this help any eye shadow you put on not clump or make your eyes look flakey and dry, but it also makes for brighter, dewey skin.


  • Getting Cheeky


Our go-to makeup man of the hour, James, has been using the following technique for contouring cheekbones: start with a neutral toned cheek color, then dip the brush lightly in grey before applying.

Genius right? This is what shadows actually are, an area where there is less light. To a photographer, this makes perfect sense, because shadows are actually grey areas, to increase them we sometimes just decrease the density of the light, which we do by adding darkening down the area, not shifting the color.


  • Tights


There really isn’t a definitive answer here.  Every dancer has their favorite tights for different reasons. Some dancers like a soft waistband, others like hard. Some like mesh, others do not. The list of preferences goes on and on, but here are my guidelines:

*Avoid ballet pink tights.

Most shoot slightly blue or green tinged, particularly the more they are washed, and they give your legs the stuffed white tube look.

*Thickness & Back-ups

Tights that are as close to your skin tone are best, the thinner the better for a photo shoot. The flip side is that they run easily, so make sure to pack two pairs.


Look for a softer waistband that doesn’t pull your skin in at the waist.

*Our recommendations:

  • Gaynor Minden Performance Tights – very thin, soft, and eliminates the slip of the heel or the bulkiness of the toe that many professionals ultimately cut off of their tights anyways

  • American Movement tights – super soft, fairly thin yet durable, and they include a knit waistband that doesn’t dig in.

  • Zarely – I create that shadowing on my dance photography clients with lighting, but the added extra there is just subtle enough not to be noticed by the average eye and to have the desired effect if you don’t have the lighting to work with. These are also especially popular because of their compression technology that helps prevent swelling.

  • Contoursoft Adaptoe Tights by Bloch – knit waistband, inexpensive, and introduces a large variety of colors to more closely match your skintone


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