Emily Brunner is a Performance dance photographer from Philadelphia PA who says She loves dance photography because of the way it allows us to see the movement, the lines, and the power in a way that we cant with our own eyes. Today she talks about the 1 trait you need to master to be great at dance photography.
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In This Episode You'll Learn:
When Emily got her first camera
How she started shooting dance even though she didn’t dance when she was younger
What goes into creating dance photography
The different types of performance dance photography
How much posing and directing the photographer does
How important focal length is to dance photography
A simple trick that will make the dancer look better immediately
How to choose which lens to use when photographing dance photography
The best way to photograph a dance performance
Signs of an amateur dance photographer
A common misconception people have about dance photography
Premium Members Also Learn:
How Emily booked her first dance client
Who hires the dance photographer
The best way to sell photos online to parents
Emilys advice on how much products to offer when starting out
Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!
Full Interview Transcript:
Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning photography podcast. Today we're talking all about performance and dance photography. So let's get into it.
Intro: 00:08 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now, with you as always, husband, father, Home brewer, La Dodger Fan, and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome
Raymond: 00:37 Back to today's interview of the beginner photography podcast. As always, I'm your host, Raymond Hatfield, and I'm just happy to be here today. Today is going to be an interview, which is a, which is very fun and something that I actually have not done before. So you're going to hear me struggle to find the right questions. But I think, I think that that's important for me to, to tell you right now because that's okay. That's okay. There's, there's so many different types of photography that even as you know, I want you to know that as being a quote unquote professional photographer, that doesn't mean that I know everything about photography. That's why I started this podcast so that I could learn more about photography and become a better photographer. There there's so many genres that there's just no way to know everything about everything.
Raymond: 01:25 So this is why I get to ask the, the professionals, the questions to learn. So I'm really excited for today's interview, but first I want to give a quick shout out to a recent a iTunes review. And this review came from Jair. She says, I have no, her review starts with, I haven't shot in auto sense. She says, I got the notion to search up podcasts while trying to choose from the millions of how to books on Amazon. And I'm so glad that I did. I spend a lot of time in my car for work and this podcast is taken me from shooting an auto to refusing to do so. Every podcast has a great tidbit of information that I didn't understand before and fantastic tips if you're looking to take your camera knowledge and photography skills from what to wow, you have to download this podcast now.
Raymond: 02:20 Jared, thank you so much for that. Five Star iTunes review. It really does mean the world to me, but I want you to know that it wasn't the podcast that did any of that. It is you, you know, you can hear, you know, whatever it is that you hear on the podcast, but that won't make you a better photographer. It's you who went out and you put what you learned into action and then you grew from it. So again, Jared, thank you so much for leaving your review leaving a review for the podcast. It only takes a minute of your time and it really does help the podcast grow. So today's interview is, is kind of like I mentioned earlier, is going to be a good one, and it's one of those episodes that even if you don't photograph you know, this, this types or dance photography, I think that you're still gonna find it incredibly interesting.
Raymond: 03:07 You know, for me, just hearing how Dan, how different dance is to shooting a wedding like, like I'm used to. And also just the amount of attention to detail that has to be paid while shooting is incredible. So, as always, I have saved a portion of our interview that focuses on the business side of photography, just for premium members who want to actually make money from their cameras. So today premium members will hear who it is that hires the performance, a photographer, and then who pays them to different people, how to set up an online gallery to sell your photos and then what products to offer your clients and how to price them. So if you want to learn all of these things and all the business tips from past interview guests, then I want to invite you to become a premium member of the beginner photography podcast.
Raymond: 04:02 And if you want to do so, you can by just heading over to BeginnerPhotographyPodcast.com and clicking the premium membership button at the top of the page. So that's it. All right, let's go ahead and get on into today's interview right now with Emily Bruner. Emily Bruner is a performance dance photographer from Philadelphia Pencil who says that she loves dance photography because of the way that it allows us to see the movement, the lines, and the power of dance in a way that we can't with our own eyes. Emily, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Emily Bruner: 04:35 Thank you so much for having me. Raymond,
Raymond: 04:37 I am super excited to talk to you today for a few reasons. One of them being is that over the past few months we have become closer within a group of photographers where we kind of talk about our goals and getting there. And I've seen, I've seen you already just in the past few months grow your business and it's, it's, it's something that I had no ideas about before getting into photography. I haven't interviewed somebody who does dance photography. So, and just out of happenstance, somebody was asking about dance photography the other day in the beginning, photography podcast, Facebook group. So there is a need for people like you in the world. So again, I'm really excited to talk to you about you and your journey, but before we get there, can you share with me and the listeners how you got your start in photography in the first place?
Emily Bruner: 05:26 So my start in photography really came about from becoming a parent. I wanted photos of my kids to share with my family who lived far away. And I just immediately loved how capturing my life allowed me to see it in a different way and allowed me to share, share what was going on in my life. I remember being a kid and enjoying photography with my parents cameras. So maybe I could say I've always been a photographer, but I got really, really into it when had kids. So maybe about from about 14 years ago and I just wanted to learn everything I could about it.
Raymond: 06:03 So what was it, obviously you wanted to capture stuff to send to your family, but why weren't just the photos on, say, an iPhone good enough for you?
Emily Bruner: 06:12 I wanted them to be beautiful. I you know, I would see other photos that I would love and I thought, I want my photos to look like that. So I guess I just could, I, from the beginning, I could tell the difference between a snapshot and a photo taken with intention. And I knew that I wanted my photos to be, to have that intention behind them. And I also knew that if I was taking photos, I just, I wanted to learn about it. I wanted it to become something that I could enjoy and improve upon so that it can be something that's fulfilling for myself rather than just a snapshot that I didn't think twice about it.
Raymond: 06:49 Right. Of course, of course. So when that time came to, to get your first camera, did you already have an idea that you wanted a specific DSLR to get into? Or was it just, let's go down to Costco and buy, buy the first camera that we see?
Emily Bruner: 07:03 No, I mean, I was my husband bought my first DSLR for me as a Christmas gift. So before that I had had a little, you know, like Canon powershot digital cameras. Before that I had a film camera that had interchangeable lenses that my parents had bought from me. But my first like real camera in the digital age, my husband picked out for me and it was a canon and I still shoot with Canons today.
Raymond: 07:31 Yeah. So getting the camera, when you first got it out of the box, I want to know if you had to judge yourself on a scale from zero to 10, zero being you had no knowledge of photography whatsoever, this was your first time ever seeing a camera and 10 being world-class. Where would you say that your skill level was?
Emily Bruner: 07:53 I would say my skill level was maybe around a three or four. I had taken photos. You know, I'd use my parents film cameras when I was a kid. I never shot in manual. I remember trying once to shoot in manual when I was at Niagara Falls because I knew that I wanted to get this, you know, the blurred water. Yeah. I didn't have a clue how to do it. This is what the phone camera when I was in college and when I got the photos back, they were terrible. I mean it's blurry and they were like blue and purple. And so that was my only time that I ever really tried to shoot in manual before. Like there was no internet than really, sorry. I had no knowledge whatsoever. Nowhere to research how to do it. So I would say that when I got that first DSL out of the box, I knew just a tiny, tiny bit, but, but really very little. Most of what I knew was more along the lines of composition rather than technical knowledge of how to use the camera.
Raymond: 08:54 So how did you go about learning photography and I'm assuming that you are shooting in manual now, is that correct?
Emily Bruner: 09:01 I do, yeah. Pretty much. I usually shoot manual unless the lighting situation around me is changing super rapidly and I can't keep up with changing my settings.
Raymond: 09:10 You're right, of course. So, so how did you go about learning manual once you got this? This new a digital camera from your husband.
Emily Bruner: 09:18 So when I got the new digital camera for my husband, I actually shot with it for several years just with the kit is not really an automatic. So really focusing on the composition, capturing the moment in my perspective, you know, any, anything that I could do within my own mind and control with my own hands. That's kind of what I was focusing on. But then I wanted to, I wanted to do more and I researched and I realized I needed a better lens. So that was like my first step into really getting super serious into photography. I got a new lens. What Lens was that? It was a sigma 30 millimeter, one point f 1.4. So kind of just went all the way I did. Yeah. And I loved it. It really transformed my photos in a big way.
Raymond: 10:04 Yeah. Coming from the kid lens, I would imagine that it would just be a completely different experience.
Emily Bruner: 10:09 Yeah. I loved it. It was a, it was a great purchase. And even though I rarely use it now cause it's for sort of like about the crop sensor camera and now I shoot with a full frame camera, I don't want to sell the lens because it's kind of like meaningful to me. But yeah, so that, that was my first, my first like real serious, like dive into it. And then I again, I knew that I wanted to learn, learn more. When I, when I got that first great lens and I saw the difference, I realized, Gosh, if I really learned how to use my camera, I bet I could do even more. And it was at that point that I I purchased an online course to dive in and just learn as much as I could about my camera.
Raymond: 10:49 So you didn't even go like the book route or Youtube tutorials? It was just I'm gonna jump head first into an online course.
Emily Bruner: 10:57 Yeah. yeah, I did. I, they just, if it's my personality, I don't tend to read much. And there's too much of a rabbit hole than youtube videos because you d I needed somebody to like guide me really specifically keep me on track.
Raymond: 11:13 Yeah. Shit, you, this is exactly what you need to do. That makes sense. That makes sense. A, I too love online courses for, for just for that exact reason. They're so hyper focused and you don't have to go hunting around for literally there's like 24 hours of videos uploaded to youtube every minute or something. So trying to find the right ones is insane and it takes a long time. So can you share what course it was that that you signed up for and how did you, how did you like it?
Emily Bruner: 11:39 Yeah, so I signed up for Shultz photo schools, a photo fix class and I really loved it. I just completely loved it. It, it was everything I wanted it to be. It told me it was teaching me all the things that I kind of knew I wanted to learn and it did didn't in a really focused way. It was a great experience doing that.
Raymond: 11:59 [Inaudible]. So at the time you were still focused on just photographing your children. Yes. So at what point did a, I want you to tell me a little bit about the dance photography side. At what point did this come along in your life?
Emily Bruner: 12:13 Well my oldest daughter, who's 14 now, she started dancing ballet when she was four. And so for those first few years I was just taking kind of like snapshots of her. But she really got into it. Quickly. It became obvious that she loved it and she started performing more and more. And I wanted beautiful photos of her performing on stage. And I didn't, if I could have hired someone to do it, I would have to be honest. But there is, I just didn't, there was nobody I could hire to take the photos that I wanted of her. So I said, you know what, I'm gonna learn how to do it. I'm going to do it.
Raymond: 12:50 So when, so, okay. So, cause that's a big jump from, I'm going to photograph my kids to now going into a various like specialized area of photography. So did you go, you photographed your, your daughter, these photos were beautiful. Did other people see them? Like what, what gave you the spark to, to pursue it even further?
Emily Bruner: 13:11 Yeah. it was really just sharing my photos. So it was a gradual progression. It wasn't like snap overnight. My photos or for performing on stage are beautiful. I had to learn a lot of violent, do it like a trial and error and learn that way. And she, she dances so much. I had a lot of opportunities to practice and figure out what I needed to do. But once, once I got some photos that I was proud of, I, I, I shared them on Facebook, the, the photos of my daughter. I shared them on Facebook and then the photos that I took of other dancers in the performances, if, if I knew the parents, I would give them the photos. And then the school I gave them, the photos that I took as well. And really me giving those photos to the school was what prompted dance photography to become a business for me.
Raymond: 13:59 And how so did they ask you
Emily Bruner: 14:01 When you asked me? Yeah. They said, oh, these are wonderful. These are great. We didn't know you were a photographer. Would you be willing to photograph our upcoming recital and sell those photos to the,
Raymond: 14:12 Ah, I love it. I love it. So this just kind of fell in your lap. I mean obviously with, with lots of practice and, and, and passion for that fell into your lap. But so let's talk a little bit about, a little bit more about the dance photography itself, because there's really two different types of dance photography. There's the performance and then there's portraits. So if dance photography is more than just photographing people dancing, can you explain more about what else there is to this?
Emily Bruner: 14:43 Well, with dance photography in particular it's, it's really a collaboration between the photographer and the dancer. Even if the is in a performance and doesn't quite realize they're being photographed, it's still kind of a collaboration. That's their art. The photography is our arts. And in the same way that we as photographers would kind of be horrified. Like, imagine, you know, you're, you're your worst image or a photo you take it's blurry, dark. The white balance is Yucky. Imagine if that photo was shared all over the Internet by your friends and family, you would be embarrassed. So in the same regard, when we're taking a photograph of a dancer, they want to look their best. They want their techniques to look as good as it possibly can. So as photographers, we need to be very, very careful that the photos that we are sharing of them that we're giving to them or selling to them or, or sharing with our friends and family in that, in those pictures, the dancers technique is good, that their toes are pointed, that their feet are nice and straight, but their legs are straight. You know that their shoulders aren't all 10 stuff, that they that they have a nice expression on their face. All these things, all these things that they worked so hard for and they've trained for a, we need to make sure that our photos are showing that showing the dancers to the best of their abilities.
Raymond: 16:06 So that, that's more of that performance side. What about, what about the portrait side, because first of all, is this, is is doing the portrait something that still requires a stage or, or does it require a studio? Where do these portraits typically happen?
Emily Bruner: 16:25 Yeah, so poor, I mean a dance portrait where you were, it's more like you, you know, just you and the dancer and you're taking the time for them to pose and you're working on their pose and trying to take a beautiful photo. You're creating the photos that can happen anywhere. In my experience, we never do that on the stage to rent out a stage or find a stage that's available to us to do that. It's just not really feasible. Right. So in my experience doing dance portraits, we would be doing that either outside. So some of it similar to any other portrait, finding a place that has nice light and a nice backdrop. And then for a dancer in particular and it also needs to have a nice and safe ground for them to work on and stand on and dance on outside is an option on streets in parks.
Emily Bruner: 17:16 Really just anything that you would do with a normal regular just portrait session or you can do it in a studio and by studio, I don't literally mean you need to have like a photography studio, but find a room that's big enough. You need a pretty big space to photograph a dancer. I find a room that's big enough and either bring in your own backdrop or use the walls in the room and a, when you're photographing a dancer inside, you're really gonna need to bring in some light. You're going to need to start using strobes to get enough light to photograph them cause there's so much less light inside.
Raymond: 17:52 Right, right. I want to talk a little bit more about the posing side though. Cause this is something that I feel like so many beginners already have a hard time with enough for just regular people. Right now we have to deal with somebody who is used to doing something in an exact way. Are you, are you manipulating that at all or are you, can you kind of walk me through, through that whole process there, how you get somebody in the pose?
Emily Bruner: 18:19 Yeah, so we are manipulating it in a way with, with dance photography, we're taking something that's like four dimensional, you know, there, there's time and then there, then there's the three dimensions of space. We're taking that and we're compressing it into two dimensions. So I'm taking time out of it as one thing. But then taking the three dimension dimensional pose and transforming into two dimensions makes it a little bit tricky. So when we're posing someone a dancer, I start with a dancer and ask them like, what are your ideas? What sort of poses do you want to do? There's all dancers have different abilities, so we want to make sure that whatever we're trying to photograph for them, that it's something that they're good at, something that they feel strong and safe doing. So we never want to push them into doing something that we think is amazing but might be beyond their comfortability.
Emily Bruner: 19:10 Yeah. So we, I always start with them and ask for some inspiration ideas and they always, they always have ideas. They always know what they want to do. So we start with that and a, and then I have them do it, do the movement or do the post for me a few times and I look at it and I'm looking at it trying to decide what the best angle is going to be for the camera. So if they're doing an Airbus, that's where their, their leg like goes back in the air behind them straight. Their leg is straight. If we do that, so their leg is pointing behind them, like away from the camera, I'm not going to see that back leg at all. It's just going to look like they're standing and they have one leg and that's not what we want. So for we're photographing and Airbus, we want to see that leg.
Emily Bruner: 19:57 We want that leg to look nice and long. So we want that leg parallel to the camera. So those are the kinds of things that we're thinking about at the beginning of a pose. And then once we have them positions, we might turn them ever so slightly to get their leg to look as good as it can possibly look. Then we start shooting. And we might tweak it a little bit as we go. I, when I'm shooting them, I wouldn't have a nice low camera angle that makes them look tall. It makes their legs look nice and long. So in that regard, it's a lot different from, from a portrait of a person, you know, more photographing people. We often went to their eyes to look nice and vague. So we want to be slightly above eye level. But with dancers we want to get lower so that we're not distorting their body in an unflattering way. We want their legs to look nice and long.
Raymond: 20:46 Yeah, man, that, that's really interesting. I never,
Emily Bruner: 20:48 Never really thought about it like that. And it, it's, so obviously before I interview, I was looking at your website, I was looking at your portfolio and I was looking at your images and there's kind of this very comfortable feeling as if I'm, all the dancers were on stage and even like for your portraits. That's Kinda like why I thought that the camera was so low because we as an audience would be sitting lower. But that makes so much more sense that it just looks better on camera to, to accentuate those legs. Okay. Cool. Tricks of the trade fair. Yeah. I love it. I love it. Yeah.
Raymond: 21:23 So what if what if you were to show up in a situation where okay, let me rephrase the question. Are the poses that you are asking these dancers to get into, are they just holding like a, I was going to say a pose, but like a, like a, like a dance move that they are used to or, or are you trying to get them to do, to do more? Did that, did that question make sense?
Emily Bruner: 21:47 Yes, I think that makes sense. So the, I'm with classical dance with, with ballet, there's really there's really like a lot of sort of standard poses that we would do with modern contemporary dance. There's going to be a lot more improvisation going on, but in a, in a photo session with a dancer we're typically working with, with some sort of oppose something that's kind of established in it that is often in pieces that are going to be choreographed for the dancers. So these are things we're not, we're not usually starting with something that's never been done before. We're calling, we're starting with something that already exists and people are familiar with. And we might tweak it a little bit. You know, we might rotate the body a little bit or do something different with the arms or the direction in which they're looking with their head to change it up a little bit.
Emily Bruner: 22:41 But, but there's, there's standards with dance just like there are with, with music performance, you know, with playing an instrument or photography, there's, there are standards that we, that we need to stick to. And when the dancers are posing, I'm not really asking them to like hold a pose. Because dance dance is his movements and if, if they're stationary and trying to pull hold a pose for a photo, it's going to not look right. It's going to look kind of tense. So I think of the poses that we do as movements and I asked my dancers, I say, you don't need to hold that for me. I need you, you know, to, to get into it and then go out of it the same way that you would in a performance or in a class. And then I'm timing the shot to capture at capture it at the apex of the movement that they're doing.
Raymond: 23:32 Wow. How many times do you think you have to have them Redo a move before? Yeah, before you nail the shot.
Emily Bruner: 23:39 Sometimes it's really like we sometimes same size who get it on the first shot. Sometimes we get it just, you know, two or three other times we work it for 20 minutes. Wow. It really just depends on what we're trying to do and the dancer and how quick my reflexes are that day.
Raymond: 23:59 So okay. That was, that was a good amount about posing there. And I think, I think that it might I think that I was looking at dance photography kind of all wrong possibly because I am just so uneducated in the field completely. That to me it looks so much more difficult, right. In terms of, in terms of the posing where I said that a lot of beginners have a hard time enough posing regular people. Now we have to, now we have to post answers, but if these dancers already have some sort of base where of moves that they already get into, would you say that it that that is helpful to to you as the photographer?
Emily Bruner: 24:39 Very, very helpful. Yeah. And especially for me, I am not a dancer and I was not a dancer. So everything that I've learned about dance I've learned over the last 14 years from watching my daughter and and, and then taking a dance class myself, which was very humbling. But I wanted to learn more about it. So it is, it is not with older, more experienced dancers. Like knowing how to pose them isn't, is not quite as difficult as it seems, but knowing how to recognize in your photo that they're doing the pose correctly or that maybe they're doing it correctly, but that the, your camera angle is flattering and that we have them turned in such a way that it's showing them, showing their lines, literal lines of their legs and their feet and their arms, that it's making all of those look as beautiful as possible. That's the tricky part. And now younger, younger dancers you know, kids who are maybe like eight, nine, 10 years old, that's going to be a lot, a lot harder honestly to, to photographs them. And because I'm, we're as photographer is going to need to give them a lot more guidance.
Raymond: 25:46 Oh, I see. So that's where being more educated in dance in the movement would, would really help. So yeah, we're talking a lot about lines and the importance of, of kind of showing that power and stability. I guess. So how important of a role does focal lengths play in, in your, in, in capturing these images? Because a wide angle lens is really gonna Distort lines. So can you, can you talk a little bit about that?
Emily Bruner: 26:15 Yes. Yeah. I prefer to use the, the longest focal length that I can. So somewhere in the range of 70 to 200. I really if at all possible, I don't want to shoot any wider than 70 millimeters. This is one on my full frame camera. Because you're right, wider angles are going to completely distort their shape. And for a dancer where their body shape and movement is their art, if we stored that it's really not flattering to them and it's not a very honest way to show what they're doing. It doesn't really show what they're doing very well. So when I'm inside, I usually am using 70 millimeters because that I'm inside the spaces that I have access to inside are just not big enough to allow me to go all the way to 200 millimeters. Right. If I'm shooting a performance, however, where we're in a big auditorium, I am often shooting at 200 millimeters
Raymond: 27:15 Just because you have that extra space. Yeah, yeah, sure. So I'd imagine obviously being that far back, needing that telephoto Lens do you have any recommendations for anybody just getting into a photography who wants to start dance, who maybe maybe the 70 to 200 to eight is a little bit of a stretch. Do you have any recommendations for, for what else they could use?
Emily Bruner: 27:36 So if we're talking about photography of performances, so in inside the theater really you really are going to need the wide open aperture of like a 70 to 200 lens or a 24 to 70 lens year to, to have enough light to capture them. The movement, yes. But with dance there's also a lot of moments where people are not moving, you know, where they are. Just taking a second in between poses to not even transitioned, but at the end of the pose, or at the beginning of a movement at the beginning of a piece that they're starting at the end of a piece there, there are times where people are not moving or they're not moving very fast. So even if you don't have a super fancy Lens, you could, you could use your, you could use your Kit Lens, you know, and zoom in all the way to 55 millimeters. Or if you have a kit lens that goes all the way to 300 millimeters, you could, you could use that and you're just gonna need to compensate for the, the, the more stopped down, closed down appetizer and increase your ISO to make up for that. So when we hit lines, your shutter speeds going to be a little slower. It's going to be, it's going to be slow enough that if a dancer jumps across the stage, then there'll be a little blurry,
Raymond: 28:51 A blur. Sure. So would you say to prioritize a faster aperture, say over longer reach of the focal length?
Emily Bruner: 29:01 That's a good question. It depends on what you're doing. If you have a young, you know, a dancer, if one of your kids is dancing and they're doing a lot of performances I would say in a performing inside, I would say maybe prioritizing aperture might might be a good thing. You know, 50 millimeters will be okay. Like if you have like a 24 millimeter lens or even 35, you might end up with a little distortion, but you can scoot further back if you're not right on top of them. Taking a picture with a wide angle lens. If you're a little further back, they're not in there in the center of the photo, they're not going to be as distorted as if you're, you know, right there taking a picture of them. Yeah. Photos of your dancer outside before or after her recital or his recital for example. And then, then you don't really need the [inaudible] quite as much because if you're outside and you have lots of light you don't necessarily need that big wide open aperture. So in that case, for the, a portrait outside of your dancer to celebrate the recital, I would say prioritize the longer focal length, use a longer focal length and get yourself download. Don't take the picture from up above kind of looking down at them so their heads big and their legs are tight.
Raymond: 30:12 Right. That's funny. Yeah, exactly. So obviously you wouldn't be able to do that in a, a in a performance setting. But during a performance setting, are you, are you running around from side to side during the actual performance? Like while parents are, are, are in the audience to capture these photos?
Emily Bruner: 30:33 No, no one should ever do that. I go to dress rehearsals. That's my secret. I you know, if I'm doing, if I'm a, a dance school asks me to do a job for them and to photograph their performance, I strongly suggest that I go to their drugs rehearsal rather than the performance. Because at the dress rehearsal I can move around and I can try different can't, you know, I can try some, some photos where I'm close to this stage. I can try somewhere in far back and capturing the whole stage and in the Lens. I do not, I'm not in favor of photographing during performances, both as a photographer cause that's just no fun. And as a audience member that's distracting. If you're a parent trying to take photos during the performance, you're missing the performance, taking photos and then for the dancers on stage it can be distracting. It can be very distracting if they see somebody moving around or walking around. They might, might think somebody's leaving their performance. If you, one big thing about performance photography, if you are taking a photo during the performance and even if you're taking the photos during a dress rehearsal, turn your flash off. Don't no flash, no flash.
Raymond: 31:44 That's why you got to get that faster lens. Yeah. I it's, it's funny cause once, once we had a Charlie and we started going to these, you know, like little school performances that they put on, they're not dances or anything but just, you know, like little kindergarten songs that they sing for all the parents and you know, you watch all the parents not watch their kids but just watch their phones, watching them watch. They just watched their kids through their phones, you know what I mean? And a while I like to, you know, pull out the phone to take one photo just to kind of remember the moment and use it as my one second a day. It's, I can imagine that it's very, it as a dance in the dance setting that you would really want these photos of your child being in a situation doing something that, that, that not only are they a lot of time working on, but also you don't get time to go see it very often unless it's a performance. So having a photographer run around during the performance would a would, would just be very distracting. It would be very distracting. So
Emily Bruner: 32:55 It's going to be to get ingredients, I would assume so. And then if you're sitting in a seat, tried to take photos from your seat, you're not going to be that great. You know, there's going to be like heads in front of you. You're probably like not at the angle or the perspective that you want. So just go to the dress rehearsal and ask, ask permission, ask the school, Hey, can I, can I go to the dress rehearsal and, and take, take some photos. Then if the school, if the school has an open dress rehearsal where they allow parents to come in, they would so much. Rather you take photos in then during the performance, a lot of performances we'll, we'll say the beginning, you know, please put away all recording devices. Okay. Yeah. Whether it's photos or videos. So yeah, dress rehearsals. It's the perfect time to take your photos.
Raymond: 33:44 Yeah. More weddings need signs that say please put away your recording devices. I shared a, I shot a photo on the, in the Facebook group in the beginning, photography podcast, Facebook group of of a guest at a wedding that I was just at who I couldn't believe it, like, just got right in front of the eye as like the bride was coming down and you know, you, you missed the shot. It's like, what, what do you do? You know, you always got to prepare for these things and get out of the way. But I mean it was just so blatantly right in the middle of everything and it was just like the brightest yellow neon dress that you've ever seen in your life. It was, it was atrocious. But I totally went off on a tangent there, so I apologize. I want to talk, I want to go back to your first client. I want to know how, when you decided to start charging for this, when you decided, oh, maybe, maybe I could do this. How did they find you? Were you nervous? How did the session turn out?
Speaker 4: 34:48 Hey Raymond here, and if you're listening to this, you are listening to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages, and so much more that will help you your growing photography business thrive. This is the next logical step to join head over to begin on photography podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page.
Emily Bruner: 35:17 Yeah, and I think, I think most people who are buying things from you understand that you are not Walmart. You know, they, yeah, I really do. At least in my experience, people, people understand there's a difference.
Raymond: 35:29 Yeah, that's a hard thing. But I'm, I'm glad that you shared that. I'm glad that you shared that. Again, that's another huge for beginners to get over. Whenever I hear any sort of question about pricing, I know that's going to help a lot of people. Can you kind of share, now that you've been shooting dance for a while? I'm sure that you've seen a lot of dance photos. I know personally that you've taken dance photography workshops. What are some things, what are some signs of an amateur dance photographer?
Emily Bruner: 35:59 Okay, so some signs of an amateur dance photographer are having the camera perspective where the camera is high and looking kind of like, like maybe the camera is at face level or maybe like chest level or maybe even higher. Especially for the little kids even like above them. Using, using a wide angle lens, especially if you're, if you're close up taking a photo of somebody. And then probably the, the, the really big thing is if the dancers not doing the pose correctly, you know, if their, if their fluid is, is like sickle, the, which means it's sort of like, like turned in like this. If they're, if they're doing a jump in their toes or not pointed, but their, their toes are kind of like straight out up or just kinda like halfway pointed. If a knee is been twin, it shouldn't be been. So if the dancers technique is not correct in the photo even if it's a beautiful photo with the most beautiful light, you know, and the, it was gorgeous background ever. It's not a good photo. So I would say those three things are what would tell me that it's an amateur or somebody who hasn't yet studied and learned how to, to take some really great dance photos.
Raymond: 37:12 Yeah. What I'm learning is that this form of photography is very, very, very detail oriented and requires a very a trained eye from the photographer. And it is, I think it's great to hear that you didn't even start off dancing like as a child that you got into this much later after just watching your own daughter which is kinda like goes to show that even if you didn't grow up in dance, you can still pursue something like this and be successful. So
Emily Bruner: 37:42 Yes, we can hope we can always learn. I mean, you know, until our last day, we're always learning. And this is if, you know, if you were like me and you, you didn't learn about dance earlier in your life, you can, you can learn now I took a dance class. I, I asked dancers around me, I would show them photos and I would say, what's good about this photo? What's bad about it? I'll go to workshops, watch youtube videos of dance classes where you, you see the instructor teaching the class, observe any dance classes that you have the opportunity to observe. Cause when you're observing a class, you hear the teacher correcting the students. So you learn what's proper and what is not. There's, there's a lot of fun ways to learn about it.
Raymond: 38:28 I never would have thought about that. I never, I never would have thought about that is so smart. I would have just googled photography tips on Youtube. But the fact that just like, well, let's just see what a class entails is your, that's so smart. I'm not, I'm not a very smart person. This is why I like having these conversations with others because now I get these other perspectives. But it's awesome. What do you think would be something that somebody would be surprised to find out about being a dance photographer?
Emily Bruner: 39:03 Hmm. Oh Gosh, I don't know. Something people would be surprised to find out about being a dance photographer. Maybe, maybe that you need to have like wardrobe supplies on hand. You need scissors to trim away like loose strings. You need safety pins. Because the, the costuming like what they're wearing. The wardrobe is also an important part of the photos. So you kind of need to have just some backup supplies. You know, and there's, there's also a lot of retouching that often needs to happen because a lot of dams, photos, there's a lot of skin showing arms, legs, spaces. You know, when people have bruises on their legs, maybe they have a line around their ankle from where they were wearing socks earlier in the day. And it, it's me and they, they take the sock off before the photo session and it takes several hours for that. That like, I don't know, you call that line around the ankle to go away. Yeah, it's still there. You know, you have to edit that out later. So editing dance photos because of all the skin retouching and, and the wardrobe is pretty intense.
Raymond: 40:18 That just all goes back to paying, you know, having that, that strong attention to detail. I love that. Well Emily I wanna thank you for your time. You've been very gracious and you have answered every question that I have thrown your way and then sound my ass way more questions than I even had written down and you answered them all wonderfully. I know that the listeners gonna get a lot out of this interview with you, so, so thank you. Before I let you go, can you share with the listeners where they can find some of your work online?
Emily Bruner: 40:48 Yeah, so my website is www dot Emily Bruner, photography.com and Bruner is with two Ns, B, r. U. N. N. E. R. That's my website. And then I also have an Instagram and it's Emily Bruno photography and the Facebook page for my business, Emily, Bruna photography. So they all found the same name. So you can find me in any of those places. It's fine. The brand. Yeah. The local theater. Taking photos of dancers.
Raymond: 41:19 Yeah. [inaudible] Well, again, Emily, I want to thank you so much for coming on and I always love keeping up with you and your stories and even on Instagram. I love you a little weekly stories that you share on there as well. So I forward to keeping up with you and and everything that you're doing.
Emily Bruner: 41:36 Thanks so much Raymond.
Raymond: 41:38 You know, like I said earlier, it really is amazing how much truly goes into proper dance photography. My biggest takeaway hands down was just the amount of collaboration and teamwork required to pull off incredible dance images. Because oftentimes, you know, on a wedding day when I shoot weddings, I pretty much tell the bride that just leave me alone. I mean, this is her day, you know, I want to capture what her day looked like. I don't want her to pay attention to me, to, you know, take time away from her friends and family because I'm, I'm the stranger at the wedding, you know? But in this setting, in this setting for Emily in dance photography, it was so great to hear you know, the other side and truly how much goes into a a working together. Just to pull off a great image. So Emily is actually in the beginning of photography podcast, Facebook group.
Raymond: 42:35 So feel free to share your biggest takeaway with her and I'm sure that you would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about dance. So if you're not already a part of the beginning photography podcast Facebook group, you can do so by just searching Facebook for beginner photography podcast and it'll, it'll show right up. You got to answer a few questions to be approved into the group, make sure that you're not trying to sell sunglasses or anything weird like that. And then you're in. So that is it for today's episode. Until next week, I want you to get out, keep shooting, focus on yourself and be safe. Alright, I love you all.
Outtro: 43:12 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.