Dance photography is a fascinating photo genre that catches every essential movement of the dancer and transforms it into visual art. As a photographer, you should pay attention to the dancers’ moves and always be ready to capture the moment.

Taking pictures of dancers can be a real challenge because you have to move with them at the same time. If we think very clearly, dance and photography are the same. You have to make fast moves and catch the right moments.

Dance shots

“If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment.” — Linda McCartney

A lot of photographers love taking photos of dancers, but it is not that easy as it may seem. You need to start informing yourself before shooting even one scene. Therefore, I will discuss in this article about dance photography tips to follow as a beginner.

So let’s dive right in!

Table of contents

1. Know the dancer and his style
2. Use a DSLR Camera in dance photography
3. Take photos from different angles
4. Use a tripod in dance photography
5. Indoor photography vs. outdoor photography
6. More to know about dance photography
7. Create a video

1. Know the dancer and his style

Dance is a charming art as photography, and talking about with your client about his passion, is one of the best ways to understand him. As a photographer, you have to know your client and his needs. Make conversation with the dancer, find out about his story, and get interested in dance ‘cause you are going to take incredible shots. This thing will be helpful for both of you to get more relaxed.

You can watch a few videos about the type of dance to create a vision of how you will take the pictures. The more you know, the better it gets. You will demonstrate that you are capable of it, and the dancer will be impressed. Also, you will know how to adjust your camera settings correctly.

Ballet dancer sitting and posing

First, start with some simple shots without movements and then show them to your model to see if you are on the same wavelength. After that, you can progress to different techniques and ask for feedback to know what the dancer hopes for you to capture.

In photography, you will always need a helping hand no matter what his purpose is. This time you will need a person who is familiar with the dance to help you observe the essential movements, the lines, and the position of the dancer.


2. Use a DSLR Camera in dance photography

Every camera has its properties as every genre of photography has its style. For taking dance pictures, I advise you to use a DSLR Camera, such as Nikon D3500. You will need to change the lens size for different focal lengths, and this camera will allow it.

Camera

Otherwise, I recommend you find a camera that allows you to change the exposure triangle, meaning to edit aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You need a high shutter speed to get the precise lines around the dancer. Set your camera and lights to freeze the action. In dance photography, the slower shutter speed will take blurry images because of the faster movements.

If it’s possible and allowed, you can use a flash so that your model will freeze and look magnific. Learn how to use your flash properly. Make sure that you increase the ISO for low-light shots and reduce the ISO for bright light shots. Also, edit your aperture ‘till it’s full wide.


3. Take photos from different angles

Owning a DSLR Camera doesn’t guarantee you an exceptional dance photo shooting. You need some dance photography tips about how to improve your style of taking pictures. One of the best things about dance photography is that you don’t have to pose just from an angle. You can get a little crazy, take photos from different levels, from the ground, from waist level, and move around. Practice and take as many shots as you can.

Graceful classic ballerina dancing, posing isolated on pastel brown studio background.

Take some shots from above to create symmetrical compositions. You can experiment this way in a theatre or a hall with a balcony. Maybe you will capture some interesting decorations. In the end, you will see that your work looks impressive.

As I said before, move with the dancer and capture his movements. Get into the dance to snap the right pictures. Explore different backgrounds and foregrounds to get the best results. Don’t be afraid to use diversity and to experiment shots with objects and foregrounds. Get closer to the dancer and let your vision to explore the deepest angles.


4. Use a tripod in dance photography

Dance photography involves many movements with the camera to capture the perfect moments. However, using a tripod will help you to avoid camera shake, and sometimes you can take finesse shots in front of you. You will be able to keep the pictures in good focus. Also, you can move the tripod in different corners of the location if you want to capture photos from other angles. This is also useful in dance photography because it produces better pictures when you use slow shutter speeds.

Digital photo camera on tripod

Set your tripod at a proper angle and take long exposure photos. This technique will fill your gallery with original surrealistic images.

To do all the good work, I advise you to use the rule of thirds. With a tripod, it will be easier for you to practice this technique and also to give the images more charm. I hope these dance photography tips will make your work easier.


5. Indoor photography vs. outdoor photography

It is essential to know that you will set up your camera according to the location. If you take shots on a real stage, you won’t need to focus on special backgrounds or decorations. You will take portraits, and I advise you to pay attention to movements and facial expressions. And don’t use your flash! There will be artificial lighting to create the perfect shots.

Ballerina dancing and posing on rock at beach with sea background

If you are attending a photo shooting with more dancers, you will need to change the camera’s settings. Here it will be a lot to take – many movements, styles, dancers. You will take group photos and individual pictures. I recommend experimenting with angles, aperture, ISO, and so on.

Group of dancer dancing on the stage

Now let’s discuss the freezing action. If you are posing outside, the sun will give you the light you need, and you can set your camera to fast shutter speed. In a studio or a location, things are different. For not getting blurry images, don’t forget to set your camera to short shutter speed. These dance photography tips will add good pictures to your gallery.

Freeze action

Posing on a stage can be a little bit easier. You will have the lights, which will create the effects you need. Also, the dancer will be more comfortable, and it will be easier for you to take pictures. Or create a home studio. This way will be more simple for you to make the perfect settings.

Freezing action – ballet dancer

Another little advice – do not use zoom lenses! Take close-ups of the dancers instead of using zoom lenses. With these dance photography tips, your portfolio will inspire everyone.


6. More to know about dance photography

If you are taking dance photography outside, it will be very difficult for you to capture good shots because of people, cars, buildings, and other backgrounds that can make your work harder. Though, you can separate the dancer from the background by using a large aperture.

Dancer on a gray background

Don’t limit your pictures to the dancers. Pay attention to the little details and try to snap any kind of action during the movements like hair fluttering or facial expressions. More, try to capture some artistic photos of the dancer’s clothes.

Close-up of legs

In dark conditions or at night, you can use portable flashes to help you with the lighting. Still, many photographers take lenses with a wide aperture and don’t use the flash.

For taking bright portraits, use the back button focus and continuous mode. Using the back button focus will help you to capture the perfect shots when the dancer is turning or jumping. This button has the function to pre-focus when needed. Thereby, your gallery will have the ideal movements’ images.

To add more surrealistic pictures to your online portfolio, I advise you to shoot photos of dancers with flour. Adding flour to dance photography will make the pictures to catch vibes. And it is quite simple.

Flour dance photography

Every beginner needs someone to inspire him, and that’s why I’m going to present to you one of my favorites dance photographers. All I can say is that Rachel Neville is full of passion, and she makes the dance look like the most graceful art. These are magnific pictures!


7. Create a video

Passion for photography should not be limited just at pictures. As a photographer, you develop a lot of skills, and I advise you to use them in videography as well. Why is that? People are consuming more films, videos, clips, and so on. In fact, the popularity of video is spreading across all the platforms and industries. Don’t limit yourself to pictures. Make a video and capture some movements of the dance, facial expressions, and all this from different angles. Besides, you can create an aftermovie and publish it in your portfolio. No doubt, it will improve your portfolio.

Group of people creating video

After you experiment with the dance photography tips, you are ready to create your website. As a beginner, you may wonder which the best site for creating a portfolio is. WordPress is the most flexible website builder where you can share your images. Also, there are a lot of available plugins with multiple functionalities. You need a plugin that makes your work easier and helps you to create a gallery.

Modula

Modula is the fastest and the most user-friendly WordPress Gallery Pugin, and it has a large number of customization options for a photo gallery. You can easily create catchy photo and video galleries and make them look professional.


Install Modula plugin

For installing Modula, you have to go to Plugins > Add New and search Modula Image Gallery in the WordPress repository.

The WP Modula plugin

After installing Modula, it’s the time to activate it. Click on the blue button highlighted below, and now you can create your first image gallery.

Create your first gallery

Go to Modula item and click Add New to start creating your first gallery image.

Now you can upload your images to the WordPress gallery, name it, and modify the settings of your gallery as you wish.

Name your gallery

Don’t forget to click Add to gallery after you upload your images. It may surprise you, but this is the fun part, and you can forget to click the button after you choose the photos.

Upload your images

Well, Modula is the most straightforward plugin to use, and it has a lot of functionalities. You can drag and drop your files and arrange them according to your preferences.

Customize your gallery

What’s next? Click Save gallery. After saving your gallery, you can find the shortcode in the gallery edit area. You can also copy the gallery link if you want to insert a link to the Modula Image Gallery.

The gallery shortcode and link

Once you have done all these steps, all you have to do is to insert your image gallery into the WordPress posts and pages. You can copy and paste the shortcode wherever you want to publish your gallery.

You can also use Modula’s Gutenberg block to insert your galleries.


Modula’s Gutenberg Block

Gutenberg Block

All you have to do is type /modula and then pick your gallery from the dropdown. Or you can click on the Modula icon and insert the gallery. Easy-peasy!

Customize your galleries!

WP Modula Customisation options

With the Modula Gallery Image plugin, you can create your most professional galleries. You can count on this plugin to see results coming in time. Also, it has a free version and a premium one. Now you will be able to take your galleries to another level.

Conclusion

The art of dance conveys emotions and thrills through every movement performed. And this is what you should capture in your pictures. What your eyes to the world see is what your images to your galleries will be.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” – Don McCullin

Dance photography transforms the grace of the dance into art. With all these dance photography tips, you are ready to improve your skills and take your first dance pictures. Make them look excellent and install Modula for stunning photo and video image galleries. Be confident and practice ‘till your work reaches the level you set for yourself. And be ready to rock your first dance photoshoot! Stop searching and start experimenting. Call a dancer and start the adventure!