Author: Stuart Kerr
So,... you are in the market for some flattering new photographs to show off your new tricks and shiny new talents. That is great!
It takes a lot of devotion and hard work to progress as a pole dancer; you should be excited, proud of yourself. Now that you have decided that you want to step in front of the camera, there are some things that would be helpful for you to know, before contacting a photographer and making some decisions.
Choosing a Photographer
Now that technology has become so easily accessible to so many more people in the past decade, more and more people are deciding to become photographers. This means you will have to perform your due-diligence when looking for one that you will enjoy working with and trust to create images you are excited to show your friends and family. There will be some questions that you will want to ask each photographer, as you contact them. The first question to ask is going to be one you will need to answer for yourself; Are you willing to spend your money on the images you are creating in your head already? It is absolutely okay if you are not interested in spending much on them, if any at all. To be to the point, what this decision will mean for the outcome of your photographs, is this...
If free photos are what you prefer, then you will be expected to give and take in the ideas and creativity department. A photographer will be wanting to benefit from time spent during a shoot. Just as you will too. They will want to utilize images out your photoshoot, that they can use in their portfolio. They will have some ideas that they have been wanting to do, maybe even skills/techniques to practice. This may even be exactly what you need, if you aren't exactly sure what you want for photographs, or how to articulate or express your ideas. If this does not bother you, and you are still excited to work on a project, then it is now time to start your search.
On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want and are unwilling to budge on the details of the photoshoot you keep reenacting in your mind...if you are wanting a skilled eye and experience capturing these images, it is best to expect to be paying your photographer. By paying, you have full control of the outcome of your images. From content, to whether or not they are allowed to share the photos as part of their own portfolio.
Narrowing Your List of Photographers
Now that you have decided which path is best for you, the following details to figure out are going to be the same for both directions. By now you have gone through websites like www.ModelMayhem.com, searched hashtags for local photographers on Instagram and Facebook. Perhaps even talked to friends in
your pole dancing community, about past experience and possible references they may have to share with you. Hopefully your searches and conversations have brought you to a list of 5 - 8 potential people you could see yourself shooting with. The next few small steps should help you narrow it down to a couple of the best options.
You have most likely chosen the group of photographers for the following reason, but it should be looked at, so I will mention it anyway. Do their images reflect the ideas you have of your own for the shoot? All photographers have their own
style. They have a preference of what they chose to shoot. Locations, people, etc. Just because they have a portfolio of really great images that caught your eye, this doesn't mean that they will automatically do well creating images that you are interested in. They will be good at what the specialize in. Just like any tattoo artist, chef or mechanic. This will eliminate many struggles trying to figure out details in lighting, poses, location options, etc. And if you are paying your photographer, time will equal money. So this will potentially save you a good amount of money. Money that you might want to spend on new wardrobe or costume for you upcoming photoshoot.
Does their portfolio showcase consistency? Or does it seem to have a little bit of everything? With photographers, it's not the best idea to be a jack of all trades. Unfortunately, we can not be good at everything. Their portfolio is there to sell their skill set to you, the customer; it is their advertising. So they will obviously only be showing you their best work. When a portfolio shows consistency, and their body of work tells a story, with a very obvious style; almost like they are images from their own world, then you know that they have had a good amount of practice creating such images. And as we all know, practice always builds a much stronger skill set to work with.
Once you have narrowed it down to a couple of photographers that make the cut, now would be a good time to get in touch with them through email, DM's or even a phone call if you are able to. Have a brief conversation with them. Do they answer your questions? Do they seem confident? Truthful? Do they seem like a person you would get along with? Someone you might enjoy spending a few hours with? Being comfortable with your photographer, will allow you to enjoy yourself in front of the camera. Being comfortable in front of the camera will allow fewer distractions, and you can focus on you and what you are doing with your body and the pole. Once you have discussed a few details and ideas are sounding good, you may fee comfortable enough to ask permission to contact some other people/models they have worked with in previous photoshoots.
Getting some references is not a bad thing. It isn't going overboard. It is a good way to find out if they are going to show up on time, if they are going to get you your images in a fair amount of time, or if you are going to have to chase them for the final processed images. And any other questions you might have on your mind.
Lastly, if you are still having troubles deciding, you can simply just look into their availability. Schedules don't always line up. We all have our own lives. A lot of people work nights, weekends, out of town. There are a lot of people not working the normal 9 to 5, Monday to Friday adult jobs that were once the norm. So before getting too excited, this would be a good detail to get worked out. If they are who you really feel you are wanting to work with, then you will make that work. There is always a way.
What to Expect During Your Photoshoot
If you haven't met the person you have chosen to work with yet, may I suggest scheduling a meet and greet with one another, a few days before your scheduled shoot date? I do this myself as a photographer. Meeting someone new can, and most likely will be a few levels of awkward. I always like to eliminate that if at all possible. Photographers get nervous too before working with someone new. Meeting each other first, for a coffee, will keep this from being a potential issue during your photoshoot. As I mentioned already, being comfortable with one another will absolutely allow you both to create the best photographs you possibly can.
When the camera shutter starts clicking; just like when you practice pole, expect to go through the same poses in high repetition. A good photograph doesn't come from only one or two frames being captured. So it would be a good idea to practice key poses you would like to see, prior to the shoot date. Practice with a mirror if possible. It is just as much your responsibility, as it is the photographers, to get these amazing images you are both excited to get. So if you can commit a few tricks to memory, this will allow them to focus on the lighting, composition, exposure settings, etc. By sharing the work with one another, and taking care of the details you each know best; you will be sure to get far more successful images in the amount of time you have together. You my even have some time left over to experiment and try some new ideas that you may have not thought of before. In my experience, this is where the best photos usually come from. The surprises!!