Photo shoots – the amount of planning that goes into them can sometimes rival that of a wedding. Spray tans, lashes, costumes, hair, make up, and that’s before you even get to the most important bit, the actual pole moves themselves. Having done so many pole photo shoots now that social media is about ready to kill me, here are my top ten tips to make your big day go with a bang. Or rather, a flash.

1. Make a list
The most obvious point, but it’s surprising how many times people turn up to a shoot with no list of moves, or a list in their heads. If you have that sort of memory, great, but without a list your photographer or assistant can’t see what moves you are talking about and trying to achieve. For most shoots you get an allocated amount of time, and when a photographer is shooting 20 or 30 dancers, that time has to be pretty rigidly stuck to so that the whole two day shoot doesn’t overrun. Don’t waste your precious and expensive time saying “What’s that move where you leg is like this and your arm is like that and you’re sort of splitty but not really…”
If you don’t know the names of moves, just have photos on your phone or printed out, even if they are crappy images. We can see exactly what you are trying to do at the angle you mean in an instant.

Have a list, dress comfortably, keep warm and stretch

2. Turn up naked
OK, don’t actually turn up naked, but think loose and comfortable clothes, that will keep you warm and able to stretch. Don’t wear anything prior to the shoot that will leave marks on your body – tight seams on leggings, ankle socks, bra straps, tight knickers and hairbands round your wrist will all leave marks that last for hours.  Technically your photographer can edit these out, but wouldn’t you rather they were editing your bootilicious bod to flawless perfection instead of those lines round your ankles?

3. Labels suck
Even designer labels suck. Get rid of them. Peel the sticky label off the bottom of your shoes the second you get them out of the box. Cut the labels out of all your outfits – crop tops, bra tops, shorts, knickers – everything. Technically these COULD be photoshopped out by your photographer, but only if photo editing is included in the price, and why make life difficult? You already know your shoe size, and the washing instructions will only say “hand wash only”, which let face it you’ll ignore and shove it in the washing machine anyway, so you don’t need the labels. Snip them off. All labels – begone.

4. It’s all about angles
Pole is all about angles – much like football and sex, as one old friend helpfully told me (yeah, it was that sort of friend). Practice which way to invert so you are facing the right way for your shot. The backdrop is static so the photographer can’t move about too much to get the right angle. On your list of pole poses, next to each move draw an arrow to indicate which way you should face to invert or climb or whatever. The hardest bit of pole moves is getting into them, so minimise that bit as much as you can. Invert only once and save your energy for being as fabulous as possible in your move.

Angles. All the time.

Just because a move look impressive in the studio or on stage, it does’t necessarily mean it will make a good photo. Beware of moves that truncate your limbs and chop you off at the knee or elbow (cross knee release, Q, dangerous bird), poses that shorten your arms, legs or torso (superman front on), or are less than flattering to your stomach (oh so many!). Angles are always key, but some moves just don’t translate that well, especially (creepy word alert!) gusset exposure moves. I’ve never managed to get a nice photo of a teddy or a wrist seat without it looking gynaecological, though I’m sure it’s possible. Work your clothes too – many pole outfits have pretty detailing at the back, so think about moves that look nice from behind – allegra, Q, pole climbs, crucifix hang, genevieve – and show off your costume and back muscles. If you have a nice bum, or arms, or calves, or earlobes (what? It could happen) work your angles and find a way to show them off.

5. Don’t worry about slipping
If you are slipping in a move, just hold it. You can still get a good photo, and it won’t show that you are slipping. If however you start yelling “I’m slipping! Oh my gawd I’m slipping! Argh!” then that shot is ruined. Keep your face serene, don’t talk, just slide gracefully to the ground.

6. Fuel up
Make sure you eat well before your shoot. Everyone wants to look their best but if you crash diet before your shoot you will have no energy and be unable to do your moves. Don’t underestimate how gruelling a shoot can be, and fuel up accordingly. Don’t cut out food groups, ramp up the protein, stay away from sugar and foods that bloat you, bring loads of water, and bury your face in a mountain of chocolate afterwards.

7. Create a playlist
It is sometimes possible to play your own music at a shoot. Load up your iPod with songs that get you in the mood to get your pole on, and bring it along to your shoot. It can make the world of difference, especially if you are feeling nervous. Just don’t forget it afterwards and remember halfway along the motorway like I always do.

8. Work with your photographer
It’s the photographer’s job to make you look fabulous, with flattering lighting and creative input, but it’s your job to be prepared. Turn up ready, warmed up, stretched, and list in hand, and tell the photographer what it is you want. You can keep it super simple, with one uncomplicated outfit, or mix it up with costume changes. You can go for a theme, or a high concept shoot with props and make up and effects. Listen to your photographer and work with him or her to create what you want.

Don Curry brings out the sexy

9. Keep it simple
Remember, often the simple poses are the most beautiful and effective. A pretty pole sit, a pin up pose, a sexy bum shot, a hair flicky climb, a beautifully held gemini. Don’t feel you have a crack out championship poses. It’s much nicer to have a photo where you look happy, relaxed and comfortable in a pose, than one where your veins are popping out on your neck and you are grimacing from exertion. You are already on a pole, and that’s impressive enough – don’t feel like you will be judged for your move.

10. It’s your shoot – enjoy it!
It’s normal to feel nervous and excited before a shoot, especially if it’s with a well-known photographer. But don’t feel intimated – this is YOUR shoot, you have paid your money and you deserve a fantastic shoot as much as everyone else. Never feel pressured to perform for the photographer or compare yourself to anyone else on the shoot – no one is there to judge you. Photo shoots are for everyone, and not just for the super advanced – and that includes YOU, even if you only have 3 moves. Enjoy your moment.

BEXIITA ACKLAND

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