One of my most favourite things to do when I was a full time dance mum, was to go to competitions!!
I remember the first freestyle comp I went to, only one of my girls, Beth, was competing at that point. She was twelve, so dancing in Under 14 beginners section. We had no idea what to expect. As we walked in, I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights because one of the other Mums from our dance school came over and completely took charge! I was so thankful…. she got Beth registered and explained what was going on. Between us we got Beth’s hair and make-up done (I still cringe at how bad I was at comp make-up) and she was ready when her section was called.
As she started dancing, I suddenly heard a huge racket from behind me. All of the older girls from the school were clapping, shouting her name and cheering her on!! It was at that moment that I fell in love with the whole crazy world of the freestyle disco competition scene. Shortly after, my younger daughter, Angel, starting competing, and that was our life for the next 6 or 7 years!
When my girls retired, I was gutted. I missed the competition atmosphere and watching my girls perform, but now I get to enjoy the competitions and shows by photographing them!! I like to find out a little about the dancers who come to be photographed, what section they dance in etc. and I keep an eye on how they get on. I tend to have clips, pins and bobbles to hand too, so I still get to do dance Mum duties every now and then.
The mobile studio and print station take two people to run so my other half (insanely talented photographer and lighting god, Michael) is my glamorous assistant, light test model and printing guy. He’s very tolerant and I made him an honorary dance Dad, so he’s happy. When we are shooting at the bigger comps, such as the Europeans, I shoot at the mobile studio and Michael will go and shoot the podiums. It doesn’t cost the organisers anything for us to be there, as we make our profit from the print sales. And if it is a charity event we are at, a percentage of the takings are donated to the charity.
We tend to arrive at the venue about an hour before the dancers, to set up. So the early comp mornings have gotten even earlier! We don’t mind because it means we are first in line for the coffee, and I like to have time to say hello to all the dancers/schools we know!
When I am shooting at the mobile studio I will get a couple of static shots but then I like to get the dancers moving. Dance costumes are designed to show off the shapes dancers can create so I make the most of it. The dancers like to get images of the jumps and tricks they can do and its great to see the costumes in motion.
I favour a black background. The colours of the costumes show up really well against the dark and its what I would usually use in the studio. At competitions and events, we offer on site printing, the dancers go away with mounted 9×6 images. The prints are done on an event printer, dye sub, which means the printer offers excellent colour rendition, extremely fast printing speeds and exceptional image permanence. The prints are also resistant to splashes. Obviously if anyone wants the digital file instead, we can accommodate that too.
Competitions are always such fun, the dancers come up with all sorts of ideas for images. My favourite ones are where a group of friends come up to us with a whole range of poses and jumps that they have spent the last hour devising.
We take bookings for events and competitions all through the year, we also cover proms, shows, charity balls and a whole host of other events. We travel up and down the country so, if you would like us to attend your event or if you just want a chat about what we can offer, get in touch!!