A few weekends ago I had a pole dance photo shoot with a few of my pole sisters for Push + Pole’s new collection! I am a not a photographer, but as a #girlboss and the only employee of my polewear business sometimes I have to be. Thanks to my sister’s photography hobby, I have been gifted with hand me down DSLRs that I have yet to fully master. At least I have the essentials down to be able to take a somewhat decent/non-blurry photo.
Although I am far from a professional, here are my tips those who also want to try out their own DIY pole photoshoot!
Your Tools Needed:
- A camera
- Your pole peeps
- Photo editing software
You don’t have to have a fancy camera to take great photos. Any up to date point and shoot would even work. Some of the images I ended up using in the lookbook were taken by my friend who was using a point and shoot. It really helps to have some sort of photo editing software because sometimes the photos taken will need some adjustments especially when it comes to getting the right lighting in. I used Adobe Photoshop, but there are probably some free programs available.
The most important thing in my opinion is to find a location and/or time where there’s a lot of light coming in.
Be Creative and do a lil’ Research
The first thing I did before even starting the shoot was to create a moodboard of what I wanted to do. This included both poses I thought would best show off the products (front design t-shirts) as well as being just a beautiful pose. I also looked for ideas on outfits, lighting, angles to shoot from. Because I wanted to incorporate lifestyle along with pole, I went outside of the box and looked for fashion editorials to pin down the vibe I was going for. The internet is flowing with pole dance photo inspiration!
You can get creative very easily with just mixing up the outfits. One of my favorite things was to incorporate other things with the pole – like ballet! I found these beautiful shots of women in tutus and ballet shoes and wanted to bring those ideas into my shoot. I just bought a bunch of tulle and made the tutus and the girls brought their own ballet shoes.
Go with the Flow
Try not to be too strict with your shot ideas and just have fun! One of the easiest ways is to make sure someone has an awesome playlist for whatever mood you are going for. When you freestyle, you’re able to get more beautiful candid shots since you’re not thinking so darn hard. Even simple little dance-y things with the pole look super beautiful. Just remember to move super slow so that the photographer can capture it without that blur.
Unless your background is part of your concept, generally you’ll be seeking a clean or simple background so the pole dancer can really shine. For our shoot, we incorporated the beautiful studio into the background since this was part our concept. An easy way to get a clean background is to just get a giant solid colored sheet and pin it to the wall!
All About the Little Things
When you perform you have to focus on the little things, but for a photoshoot you really have to think about the little things. Of course you have your pointed toes and straightened legs, but also think about facial expressions and what your hands are doing (you won’t realize how hard it is to figure out what to do with your hands!). Maybe you bring your hands towards your body or extend them out. Are you smiling or have a more sexy face?
Play with Angles
Another fun thing I found while shooting was how interesting different angles can be! This includes putting the pole on spin and snapping your model’s pose from different/unconventional angles, but also where you as the photographer stand. One of the things I loved during my inspiration search were shots looking down (like the image on the right). I did at one point climb up the pole and try to shoot from above.
Keep it Simple Stupid
The biggest thing I learned from doing a pole photoshoots (both as a photographer and wannabe model) is that simple is sometimes better. Some of my favorite shots captured were pretty pole sits, beautiful moments just dancing around the pole. Even more basic tricks like superwoman’s and leg hangs look fantastic! For example you can take a pole sit and change up the leg shapes, hand shapes and how you gel with the pole. Simple poses are also easier to hold longer too! Saves your model the energy and pain.
So these are my tips as a not-a-photographer to all of you who want to have some fun and put together your own lil DIY pole photoshoot!
Pole dance is a difficult hobby to maintain. We won’t always be at the top of our game. We can’t always think of new ways to transition into familiar tricks. We don’t always feel strong or sexy or bendy. Sometimes we hit a wall. And when that happens, it’s frustrating.