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Headshots. You know you love them, yet when the time comes around to getting them, it’s the most stressful and time consuming thing to find a photographer and actually do it.

No worries ladies and gents. I’ve got some tips for ya! I’ve been doing friends’ headshots since high school and now that I go to Parsons, I am able to do a whole professional setup with lights and a backdrop. Advice to photographers – the more you practice, the better you get. Try different cameras and different light situations. You’ll figure out your style, and then people will come to you because they like it.

  • The easiest thing to remember as the model is that its okay to relax and have some fun as well as getting the serious looks…gotta have some fun too! And you never know what a casting director will be looking for. However, you do want to look professional and not too goofy. This image could, after all, change your career. No pressure.

  • Wear what you are most comfortable in. Don’t bring a shirt that you think makes you look great but is insanely uncomfortable. Believe me, it will show through your facial expression that you are in pain. Also, the simpler the better. Patterned shirts distract from your face, and you wouldn’t want that!
  • Bring along an iPod because there is usually some way to play it and this will help you relax SO much.

  • Makeup is good, but don’t go overboard. Remember they’re not looking at your headshot to see how well you do your makeup. The cleaner, the better. This goes for hair as well. Make it look as neat as you can without doing something you wouldn’t wear to dance class.
  • Show your personality! Now more than ever, companies want dancers who offer more than just a technically great body and the drive to dance. If there is a way you can make the image more you, work it in! (That doesn’t mean you should bring your favorite stuffed animal from when you were 5…)

  • I have found that the most successful and eye-catching headshots are the ones of the dancer looking back over his or her shoulder. It gives a great three-dimensional quality but is not cheesy.
  • Words of advice from Nicole Cerutti herself during one of our headshot sessions: Look at the photographer through the camera. Pretend the camera is not even there and that you are looking at your friend. It’s really only a silly object that is making lights flash, the real connection happens between you and the photographer.

  • Ladies- it is great to shoot strapless, just make sure it doesn’t seemĀ too scandalous. Wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea…
  • Drink lots of water the week before the shoot, your skin will love you for it. You will also feel a lot healthier. Also, starving yourself before the shoot is not a good idea because (this is true!) it has the opposite affects when your body goes into starvation mode and holds on to every bit of substance it can get.
  • If you ever need ideas of poses, look up dance company websites and check their dancers out! There is usually a big range in what people do, but again I find the best ones to be the simplest, and really show who that dancer is.

  • Practice! If you’re really nervous about getting that perfect shot, take a few before the photo shoot. Get some feedback from friends and chat with teachers. Everyone has gone through getting their picture taken at some point, and will have advice!
  • This is about you. If you ever feel uncomfortable or some pose just isn’t working, don’t be afraid to tell the photographer! They will understand! If you relax and have some fun, you will get the best and most true-to-you images.

You are ALWAYS welcome to email or message me with further questions, I’m here for you guys!


(Photos by Sophie Kuller)

All photographs are property of Sophie Kuller and DIYdancer

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Written by Sophie Kuller

Sophie grew up on the north shore of Massachusetts and began dancing on the beach, at school, in the living room, on the train, and then finally joined the Boston Ballet school. For high school she attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts. An unfortunate ankle surgery forced her to sit out of class but she picked up her camera, began photographing the dancers, and has not put it down since. After graduation she moved to New York City to be a trainee at the Joffrey Ballet School. Another serious injury gave her the opportunity to step back and realize that photography was what she loved most in life and is now studying it at Parsons School of Design. When she’s not creating her own images, she works for the incredible dance photographer, Lois Greenfield, who has inspired her more than she knew possible. Sophie also loves fashion, music, chocolate, New York City, making her own clothes, skiing, and doing spontaneous things. She is excited to share them with you!