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Pole dancer poses on the floor in a chest press for a photo-shoot.

Your First Pole Photoshoot

Okay, so your pole studio has booked a professional photographer to do a photo shoot and immediately you begin to salivate over the IG hashtag possibilities…(#booty). Even if you have never modeled before, much less had some stranger with a huge fancy camera and lights take your photo while you work the pole, fear not! I have some tips that will guide you through it…

If you’ve never done a pole photo shoot, I highly, highly recommend that you book your slot ASAP.  You don’t need to be able to do advanced (or even intermediate) tricks to create some beautiful images on the pole (or chair, or floor, or lyra, etc..)

Most first-timers are understandably nervous to be in front of the camera while on the pole. There is, after all, an element of pressure to fit ALL the poses/tricks into a 30 or 60 minute time slot while in front of a photographer whom you’ve never met before.  Trust me when I say that PREPARATION is your best friend!  There are several elements that go in to preparing for your first pole photo sesh….

  1. Two or three outfits is about all you will want. Don’t spend too much time changing, as this takes away from your camera-time. You may even decide to keep that same pair of bottoms on and just change tops and/or shoes. Always do a practice run at home by doing a little floorwork or chair poses to check for any potential wardrobe malfunctions!
  2. Seek out the poses and/or pole tricks that you definitely want to get shots of. The best resource for this is Pinterest. You can also search through FB photo albums of some well-known pole photographers. You do not necessarily need to duplicate specific photos you find…often those are great for inspiration while you add your own “zazzle” on photoshoot day. Personally, I make a Pinterest board and keep my phone handy during the shoot.
  3. If you want certain music that really gets you “in the zone” played during your photo shoot, be sure to load up your iPod and bring it to the studio!
  4. Prepare your skin accordingly if you plan on doing pole tricks! Be aware that you will most likely need to hold your tricks longer than you typically do in a class setting. Exfoliate and moisturize a few days before the photo shoot so that your skin will be at its peak grippy-ness. (And, it goes without saying, make that wax appointment a few days before the shoot as well..!)
  5. Pack your pole bag with everything you think you might need. Supplies to include in your arsenal are: grip aid, oil-blotting sheets for your face, fashion tape, pasties, your go-to lip color in case you need to re-apply, hair ties, bobby pins, a healthy snack for an energy boost, and plenty of water!
  6. Eat a healthy (but light) breakfast that morning and do your best to avoid salty, fatty, junky food several days before the scheduled shoot. Don’t rely too much on Photoshop magic to eliminate any bloating!
  7. Get plenty of rest the night before. I recommend taking a gentle/restorative yoga class on the eve of the photo shoot to get your muscles feeling nice and pliable, plus it will help you feel balanced and relaxed.
  8. This may sound weird, but practice your “pole face” (or, as I’ve heard it called “porn face”) in the mirror, so you don’t end up with shots where you love the way your bod looks, but are grimacing as if your thigh skin is on fire…

Remember: the ultimate goal is to have FUN and feel beautiful!  If there is a part of your body that you are especially proud of and want to showcase (i.e., curvy booty, poppin’ back muscles, etc.), be sure to communicate this to the photographer before you begin your shoot. They might even have examples of “signature” poses printed out for you to look over prior to getting on the pole. There are certain poses that just about everyone looks good in, so opting for a few of those will almost guarantee that you will get some shots that are IG-worthy (or to frame and hang in your pole room!).  Believe me when I say that you will be so happy that you chose to document some of the incredible things you can do!

The idea is not to capture that one perfect image of the most difficult trick you can do. You will want a variety of shots, both on and off the pole. When you start to feel fatigued, do some sexy poses on the floor to give yourself a little rest time. Don’t rush through your tricks and poses, but be cognizant of the time so that you are able to get in all (or most) of the shots you want.  And when you are up there on the pole, going through your tricks one by one, remember to breathe! We are all guilty of holding our breath while doing tricks in class, but 30 minutes straight of posing requires lots of oxygen!

When you finally get your proofs back, there may be some that shock and horrify you, but no one will see those (unless you want them to) and you can use those as a valuable learning tool for ways you want to improve your lines or soften your facial expressions. Narrow down your choices of edits and perhaps enlist one of your pole pals to look through them with you and pick the ones they think showcase your awesomeness the very best. And know that with each photoshoot you do, you will feel more comfortable and better prepared. So, go pick out a new sexy pole outfit and pop your photoshoot cherry!


Photo by: Marco Mendez (Light & Pole)

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