The One Thing You Need for Your Dance Audition Photo Shoot

leotard what to wear dance audition yumiko

The audition photo bookings are coming in and we are moving into high gear for the height of dance audition photo shoot season. Let’s get right to the point, then! I get so many questions about dance auditions and marketing for dance companies and for dancers at all phases of their careers.  You know me, I’m highly … Read more

Rachel Neville Leotard Buying Guide 2013 is Here!

Rachel Neville Leotard Buying Guide 2013

I’m thrilled to announce that the Rachel Neville Leotard Buying Guide 2013 is now available. 14 volunteer dancers and 5 dance wear companies, helpful information, photos, advice and more. The 2013 Leotard Buying Guide is ready for you, just in time for audition photo shoots, auditions and (ahem) the holidays!  The Leotard Buying Guide is … Read more

Find My Leotard! Sneak Peek at My Leotard Buying Guide

grishko black leotards sleeve styles short sleeve spaghetti strap

A couple of Sundays in October I had the opportunity to work with several dancers in NYC and some wonderful dance wear companies to shoot for my leotard guide.  A big thanks goes out to all those who donated their time, I hope a good time was had by all and that you enjoy your pics!

Thank you also must go to the companies who offered their garments: Bodywrappers, Chaccot by Freed of London, Grishko, Gaynor Minden and of course Yumiko!

Here is a little taste of what is to come, to receive the link to the full guide when it’s complete please send us an email.
grishko black leotards sleeve styles short sleeve spaghetti strap
This is Yui Sugawara, a dancer with Ellison Ballet.  With Yui’s longer torso and wider shoulder to hip ratio, we had two things to consider.  In this picture of Grishko  leotards we see that the shoulders look more in balance with the pretty spaghetti strap leo rather than the short sleeve (this is going to hold true with short sleeves, long sleeves or cap sleeves for Yui).

Interview with Dancer Mary Susan Sinclair Kuenning

nyc dance photographer rachel neville mary susan sinclair
Mary Susan Sinclair Kuenning joined me for a photo shoot and we had a great time getting comfortable and creative to give her the shots she needs for auditions and marketing.
nyc dance photographer rachel neville mary susan sinclair
After the photo shoot, Mary Susan and I talked about the difference between preparing for a photo shoot and an audition or performance, what surprised her about the experience and some of the great, new work she is doing on her own and with her dance company, Mosaic Dance Theater.
As a dancer, how do you prepare for a photo shoot?  In what ways is it similar to/different from preparing for an audition?
A photo shoot is a very different process for me than preparing for class or for an audition.  I always make sure I have a healthy breakfast, a green juice with protein added, or a banana with green tea, I love matcha for that extra kick! Then I usually grab everything I can think of in my closet a d drawers.  You never know what will look good in a photograph!  Before I leave I do a full warm up and stretch, so I am ready for the shoot and I don’t have to warm up too long there.  Then I grab a Clif bar, drag many bags to the studio, and off we go!
Before shooting, what were your expectations for the experience?
I had no idea what to expect!  I knew from your photos that you work with amazing dancers, and know how to really show the PERSON in the photo, in the moment you capture.  I was nervous, even though I have I known you a bit through Village Gyrotonic and a mutual friend.  I expected the session to be intense, but really the more relaxed I became, the more enjoyable the shoot was.

Call for Dancers: Leotard Buying Guide Photo Shoot in Brooklyn, NY

nyc dance photographer rachel neville leotard tips for dancers

For the last few weeks I’ve been starting work on a new, much more extensive Leotard Buying Guide. Over the last several years I’ve realized that I spend a significant amount of time with my clients talking about leotard styles, colors and what looks best for their individual body shape/type. We talk about what to … Read more

Audition Tips: How a Dancer Prepares for Audition Photos, Interview with Emma Powers

Rachel Neville Audition Photo Tips Contemporary Dance Photo Emma Powers

Rachel Neville Audition Photo Tips Contemporary Dance Photo Emma PowersI wanted to blog this week about my shoot with Emma Powers, a dancer who came to New York over the holidays from Oregon Ballet Theatre to shoot as well as take classes and see some family members in Philly.

Throughout this post series I’ve talked quite a bit about what you want the company director/viewer of your audition images to know about you in the very few seconds they have to look at your images.  It’s not just enough to give a sense of your line and body shape, what your facilities are, but that you give a sense of who you are as a dancer, what you can offer and bring to their work/company/choreography.

I think Emma really was able to nail it in our shoot.  In particular she was able to make her facial expression and personality shine, through her choices in color/style, and what she brought to the shoot in her manner and being.  The shot in particular of a simple passé is one of my favorites this season: it’s simple, delicate, and while it doesn’t express the traditional tricks and leg height it really speaks to her love of her work and her joy in movement.

Read moreAudition Tips: How a Dancer Prepares for Audition Photos, Interview with Emma Powers

What to Wear: Finding the Right Leotard for Audition Photos

Audition Photo Tips What to Wear Rachel Neville Photography

In past posts we’ve covered what to wear for audition photo shoots.  Ten days ago I did a shoot with two outstanding students who will be graduating from Ellison Ballet School in NYC this year and looking for contracts.  These ladies were perfect examples of different body types needing different leotard styles to complement their shapes, and they graciously agreed to be ‘models’ for me to show you what I’ve been talking about (thanks Lauren and Sara!).

Great Audition Photo Tips What to Wear Rachel Neville Photography
Lauren Archer finds the best look for her body with a Yumiko spaghetti strap leotard.
As you can see, Lauren has a wider shoulder than hip girdle.  We tried many leotards on Lauren, and thought that these four, ranging from least to most favourite, left to right, illustrated my point.  Keep in mind that we are looking to balance out the body shape, shoulders to hips.  As you can see in the first Yumiko (and this is a fave leotard that I see all the time), the cut outs on the sides accentuate Lauren’s shoulders, but we hit a winner with the last spaghetti strap style.  Because the straps are further in on her shoulders they create the balance we are looking for.

Audition Tips: What to Wear Pt. 2 Remember Your Body

Rachel Neville Dance Photography Tips What to Wear

We talked in the last post about choosing your styling options based on two key questions: A) Who is your target audience, and B) What personality and  performing traits you most wish to convey.

Now, we are ready for the next two parts of the What to Wear question: C) What actually looks good on you and shows your body to the best advantage? and D) What type of garments actually shoot well??

Rachel Neville Dance Photography Tips What to Wear

Keep these points in mind when you are gathering your wardrobe for your audition photo shoot:

Show off your best physical attributes.  This seems like a no brainer right?  But do you stop to look in the mirror before every class to see if your legs look as long as they could in the length of tight and the leg cut of the leotard you chose that day?

Do you stop to check to see before you buy that unitard, tank top or funky leotard, that your shoulders look like they balance out the width of your  hip area?

Look in the mirror and scrutinize objectively what you see.  For example, avoid buying (or bringing to your shoot) a halter style leotard or shirt if you have shoulders much wider than your hips; this will only accentuate it.

Read moreAudition Tips: What to Wear Pt. 2 Remember Your Body