Arangetram Photoshoot

Arrangetram Photography and Pre-Arrangetram Photoshoot (by Dr.Kannan Natarajan)
Performing Arrangetram is one of the most challenging and exciting accomplishments in a dancer's journey. Planning and executing an Arrangetram can be stressful on the dancer, parents and teacher. Having a professional capture the pictures of the journey can be priceless. 
I have been part of several Arrangetrams in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas and have several tips for the parents and dancers. Most Arrangetrams will need a Pre-Arrangetram photoshoot to get pictures for the invitations and program.
1. Using good makeup for Arrangetram and Pre-Arrangetram is key because of the resolution of the current DSLR cameras (acne and sweat will be visible). The use of a waterproof foundation like the one available from MAC cosmetics is helpful in avoiding smearing of makeup when the dancer sweats. Please make sure that any skin imperfections are smoothed out by the makeup, or they'll have to be fixed on photoshop. 
2. For the Pre-Arrangetram shoot, make sure that the Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher have a list of poses and facial expressions in mind. This will make for a more efficient shoot. Have a list of standing poses and sitting poses in mind. With indoor poses, the photographer has to set-up the lighting differently for standing poses versus sitting ones. It saves time to do several standing poses and then several sitting ones instead of mixing them up. 
3. For Pre-Arrangetram photos, indoor photos with a plain background works the best. Outdoor shots can look really nice but it is difficult to use those pictures for invitations and programs. If you want some outdoor photos, make sure that you do those in addition to indoor photos, not instead of indoor photos. Lighting is controlled and predictable indoors.  
4. Make sure that either a friend or a parent keeps a close eye on the dancer, dancers hair, jewelry and outfit to make sure that every thing is straight.  I have noticed several times after the shoot that the jewelry was off center or the outfit was slightly off center
5. Budget about 1 hour per outfit to do the photo shoot.  2  outfits per photoshoot is ideal and time efficient.  Dressing changes can be time consuming.
6. Make sure that there is enough light on the dancer and her face for the Arangetram.  Photography is the art of capturing a moment in time using light.  It is difficult to capture poses that often only last fractions of a second in low light situations. 
7. Assign a friend on the day of the performance to wipe the sweat off of the dancer's face and neck in between dances. Assign another friend to make sure that the stage stays clean throughout the Arrangetram.
8. Make sure that the photographer knows about all the special poses that you want captured.  
9. Giving the photographer access to the dancer during the make up session will yield some amazing unposed/natural pictures.
10. Have some prints and/or photo albums made of the Arengetram/ Prearengetram photos.  Prints and albums make it much easier to enjoy and share your pictures instead of locking them up in your computer’s brain.  There are several online places to use for prints and photo books including Blurb, Mpix, publisher and costco just to mention a few.  I personally like the quality of prints and accuracy of color of the albums from apple/ iPhoto.
11. Make sure that the entire event and some of the preparation gets covered.  It will help you tell a whole story of your Arengetram journey.  Do not just have some one just take pictures of the dance on stage.  Cover some of the rehearsal, decorations on the day of the performance, cover the audience, pictures with the Guru and student and pictures of the dancer with family and friends.  Candid shoots of the audience and the dancer getting ready can be interesting.
12. Remember that you and your teachers are the true experts of the performance.  Audience is there to support and cheer you on not to critique your performance.  Relax and enjoy the ride.  Let your photographer worry about capturing your special moments. Please contact me if you have any questions on arengetram/dance photography.
Kannan Natarajan
Phone number 317 502 5053
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