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Rachel Neville explains how to Get More Movement In Your Poses

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Rachel Neville

How To Get More Movement In Your Poses

Rachel Neville

I’ve been working with more and more classical and contemporary dancers on ramping up their expressions and giving directors a sense of their style, but I wanted to touch on a related topic: adding a sense of movement to a still photo. I’ve had a few clients mention to us how that’s one of the things that they loved about working with us, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on that with you here on the blog.

1) Add breath

This is such a simple add, but it can really make or break an image. We get so hung up on our technique and placement and everything else going that we often forget to breath!  Once you have the muscle memory of a shot, don’t forget to add the breath!

2) Add something that actually moves

Wind for your hair, props that have movement in them like skirts or fabrics, etc. are just a few things that can add an element of motion to your image without you needing to change how you accomplish a pose.  

3) Actually moving the pose

Poses that are movements themselves are often hard to get just right. Sometimes the timing of different body parts don’t arrive at the same time, or sometimes the act of moving can shift a modification you need to make to have the pose look good for the camera. If you can, finesse a pose in place first, then add the movement (piqué or temp levé into it or pull it off balance for example) it can often turn out much better.

4) Add facial expression

Or,  as we say in the studio “FACE!”  You’d be surprised at how much facial expression can add to a sense of movement, even when you are not going anywhere!

A quick but important note for my contemporary dancers!

If you’re a contemporary dancer, movement is really integral to your shooting experience. We find it best to improv first to find the movements and then go back and finesse the lines from there. It’s basically a reversal of what we do for classical dancers.

To learn even more about our process of getting  the shot here at RNP and for more resources for dancers, check out our video series here.


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