When is the last time you thought about the pictures on your website? If your answer is more than a year ago, it’s time to check them out. You know how the saying goes right? A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, for many prospective customers, that is TRUE! The pictures on your website, social media, and marketing are SO important. For many of your future customers, they are a glimpse into your dance studio and the story they tell is very revealing. As a studio owner, you have to ask yourself: are the pictures I am putting out into the world a true reflection of my studio and my brand? I am here today to help you sift it all out and of course, get MORE out of your dance studio photos. We have included our photoshoot checklist below so make sure to grab yours!
First things first, does your studio use stock photos? Stock photos are a great resource for building great looking marketing materials. They are high quality, very inexpensive (or free), and there are so many different options to choose from. If you are a studio who is just starting out, this can be the perfect way to get the word out about your new studio. If your dance studio is established, I recommend making an effort to stay away from stock photos.
Now I know what you may be thinking: Hiring a photographer is expensive! I don’t have time to get pictures taken! People don’t know the difference, so who cares! Yes, on some levels you may be right. BUT. In a few moments, I will take you through a couple great budget (and time) friendly ways to get your own photos.
First, the why not. Like I mentioned earlier, your future customers want to see inside your business as they shop around. By using stock photos you are missing a huge opportunity to show off the BEST parts of your dance studio and what makes it unique. When a potential customer does come to see it all in person, they will feel like they already know you and feel confident that what they saw online is a true representation. What a better way to start a long-term relationship, right??
So now that we have taken care of the stock photo issue, the second part of all this is making sure the pictures featured are the right kind of pictures. Below I have listed several qualities to consider:
- Are dancers following the dress code in your photos?
- Is the space clean and clutter free?
- Are the photos sized correctly?
- Are the photos high resolution?
- Does your studio look the same now as in the pictures?
- Are you happy with the lighting in the photos?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it is time for some updates! I know the task can be daunting and sometimes can come with a cost. But I wanted to list out a few ideas so you can be resourceful about this change. Keep in mind all these photo ideas can be used on your website, social media accounts, marketing materials, and more!
- Use your posed recital pictures. This will only work if you select a backdrop that is a good representation of your brand. We love the idea of using a plain white or black backdrop like Prestige Dance Studio (located in Cedar Rapids, IA) has done with the photos in their slider. Both options make her dancers pop and when placed on a white or black background, the photo backdrop seems to just disappear. If you know you are going to be using these photos for more then just parents, get a little more creative with posing ideas. I also recommend having the photographer get a “teachers and staff” shot as well so you can throw it on your faculty page. Have your teachers wear a studio t-shirt or decide on a color/formality theme and you guys will look great!
- Take photos at dress rehearsal. Meg and I would always do this at our studio. We would take turns snapping pictures of the kids on stage and in the audience while the other was working. I recommend assigning this job to someone that does NOT have official recital duties. Definitely do it during dress rehearsal as well because you don’t want to be stuck in the same spot. Try finding someone that has an interest in photography (and has a nice camera) or has a good eye. For a few years we had one of our photographer friends come and take photos. In exchange for their session fee we allowed them to sell their photos to our families. The families LOVED having these action shots. If you don’t have anyone to take photos for you, try calling some local photographers! Make sure to grab our handy shot list below so you can make sure to get all the photos you will need!
- Book a photo session at your studio. This does require an investment however, I think it is so worth it! Invite a few age groups to take pictures for the studio. They should be dressed in dress code (or in whatever you select) and look like dancers (hair clean and off the face). Get some posed shots of students at the barre along with candid moments of them taking class. We love the idea of having this photographer do headshots for your teachers as well. If you are trying to save some money, reach out to parents of your students or alumni dancers who may be pursuing photography! You could also ask for a discount in exchange for selling the photos to your families. As mentioned earlier, you may want to check out our shot list for dance studios before taking on this project. You can get it by filling out the form below!
Get Your Photo Shoot Checklist!
Subscribe to our mailing list to get our photoshoot checklist! Hand this to your photographer and feel confident you will have photos to use all year!
I am not saying you need to do all 3 options this moment but maybe tackle 1 or 2 of them. At our studio, we took the photos at our dress rehearsal and brought in Meagan’s nice camera every once and awhile to get class photos. With that, we were able to have usable photos all year long. It doesn’t take much on your end but will make a HUGE impact on your future customers.
Did you grab your free shot list yet? It will really get your wheels turning thinking about what photos to consider for your website and marketing materials. It is also a wonderful thing to hand to a photographer so they understand your expectations. You can get it by scrolling up just a hair!