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Auditions: Photos 101


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I know the subject of pictures for SI auditons has come up many times and the concensus has always been that professional photos were not necessary for SI auditions. We are getting ready to take the next step and start the college auditions and many programs require dance photos. Just wondered what advice I could get from those of you who have been through this process. Professional photos or are "moms" photos acceptable with approval from ballet coach? :pinch:

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If the student will be auditioning for a college dance dept. in person, which I think most will require, then I don't think the photos need to be professional. I would be a bit more careful to be sure they are good photos, and carefully posed and selected by a teacher.

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Guest FRA0408

Thank you, Pattec1, for asking this question! We too, are in the middle of the college application process...and I do recall several requests for pictures, but I hadn't made the mental leap yet to get myself organized to actually get them done! I appreciate the reminder and advice of this thread!

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  • 1 year later...

I know that to audition for companies you need some photos. Headshots i assume, then most say full body shot. Does it matter as to what pose? I have had several full body shots done in attitude back and a few in attitude front. Are these appropriate? Also, we hired a photographer last time round and the shots came out OK. He was not experienced in dance photography and there is really no one in the area that is. How should i go about finding a good photographer as well as what quality photos should i expect? How important are photos to the AD? I know that the AD needs a reminder, but if i find an ok photographer for $200.00 and one for $500.00 is it going to make that much of a difference which one i choose?


Rachel :)

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Rachel, you really need a photographer experienced in dance photos for professional shots. Photos for SI's are not that crucial, but for a company audition they are. You need someone who understands line and timing, not just lighting and setting and how pretty you look. It would be worth it to travel to the nearest city where there is a company and use their photographer. Most professional schools also have someone who does their photos. As to poses, you should do several different ones and select the ones where you look the best. It usually does not need to be a specific pose.

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That is what i figured. The photos that were taken before were for IBC and for pro-auditions. Of course the auditions were basically a feeler, but turned out better than expected. I don't want to risk having bad photos, and somehow the thought about finding a company photographer never occured to me :blink: Now i will ask your guidence. I live 5 hours from atlanta, 8 from houston and 5 from memphis. Any suggestions on a city? Also how would i go about contacting a company to find out their photographer? Thank you so much for your help. Sometimes i think i would be lost without this site. You have no idea how much your adivce is appreciated. B)



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Rachel, surely there must be a company closer than 5 hours away??? Where ARE you? If you don't want to put it here, send me a PM. Maybe we can figure out a "Plan B" B)

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  • 3 months later...
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My daughter will be auditioning for a University Dance program here in Canada in a few weeks. VERY late, I know, compared to what I've read about for the US! Thankfully she is applying for other things as well - the news about the dance program will come quite late indeed I imagine.


The material she has received to date states that a "photograph" is required. No other particulars are mentioned about said photo, so I would like some advice as to whether it should be a head shot, dance pose, or what. As there are a number of audition dates, I'm assuming that the photo is primarily a frame of reference for the audition panel - yet never having been through this before, I/we can't be sure.


The school also suggests, but doesn't require, letters of reference. As my daughter changed her dance school for this year, would it be best to include her new teachers or should she also have one letter from a previous teacher? In addition - over the years she has studied with several of the teachers who are likely to be on the audition panel...would it be in poor form to ask one of these teachers for a letter?


Thanks in advance,



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A safe bet for a photo is first arabesque en pointe, but I would call or email someone and ask, just to be sure.


As for letters, my first choice would be the teacher who knows me and my abilities best. I don't think I, personally, would ask someone for a letter if I knew that person woudl be judging me. But it never hurts to ask. They may decline because they will be on the panel. Or they may agree to write it regardless. Maybe you should leave that ball in their court.

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If you don't know if the letter of recommendation will be a positive one or not, you can always ask the person if they can write a strong letter of recommendation. If they can't, you know not to ask them to write one! I would ask for a letter from a current teacher as well as a past teacher with whom she studied longer. I'm not an expert, though; maybe Major Mel or Ms. Leigh could give you more information.

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  • 8 months later...

As we approach the audition season for companies, I am thinking that now is the time to line up a photographer and get the required photos for my dd, who needs to start auditioning. I have absolutely no idea what to expect as far as cost. I know that it is recommended that a company ballet photographer be contacted for these shots, but where to start the search? I am afraid that using such a well known photographer would cost way more than we can afford. How about head shots? Is it really necessary to use a ballet photographer for these? And, of course, am I correct that the process should be done about now? I would appreciate any input into the process based on experience.

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support system, I think that you will just need to call around, because prices will vary. The photographer who did my daughter's senior portraits also did some publicity head shots for her, later, for $20 - with full rights so that Kait could reproduce them. She said that since they were for auditions, she charged less than she would for a regular portrait. However, we recently had some family portraits done by another photographer (the other one is no longer in business); she also did head shots, and charged her full price of $60 each (she took two). However, she did also give us a signed release so that Kait can reproduce them, again for auditions only. The two photographers were in the same town, so it's not a difference in areas.


I think that you will find that publicity photos are, in general, much cheaper than regular portraits. I don't think that you would need a photographer who specializes in ballet for head shots, but you might find that it would be cheaper to have both taken all at once, as a package. Kait also did ballet photos during her senior portrait session; the photos themselves were lovely, but she didn't like the way that they turned out from a technical standpoint, so she didn't end up using any of them.

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Hi Support System, I see you are in CT. Thomas Giroir is a ballet photographer in the Hartford area. He took audition photos of my daughter and many other dancers at Nutmeg Ballet when they first started auditioning, both for SI's and for companies.


Giroir used to be the photographer for the Hartford Ballet as well. He is not any more expensive than any other regular photographer. I think it's really worth it to get them done by a professional. Giroir will make sure your daughter's poses are correct. He is himself a former dancer. He will take a LOT of photos and then you can look over the proofs and choose what you like.


I strongly advise getting a head shot with hair down as well as with hair in a bun. Also, get a full body "street shot". My daughter just got over rueing the fact that she hadn't thought to do that the last time she had audition photos made. You'd be surprised at how many times dancers are asked to send in a photo for this or that modeling job.


BTW, you are right that if your daughter will be auditioning this winter, now's the time to do it.


Here's Giroir's website: Ballet photographer

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  • 6 months later...

In the previous posts of this topic, the fall was recommended as a good time to do photos for company auditions held the following spring. I have two questions. The first is, if your dancer is home during the summer from his or her pre-pro program, is it too early to do these photos then? It would be easier for us to do them when my daughter is home on a break this summer from both her year-round program and summer intensive. My second question is, is it a good idea to have a composite made up of a headshot, dance photo in practice clothes, a headshot with hair down and maybe a performance photo, along with separate headshots and dance poses? I realize that all companies have different photo requirements, but was wondering if it is worth it to invest in the composite since all these photos could be included on one sheet. Thanks for any input.

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