Step Behind-the-Scenes of the Mark Steelman Dance Portrait Experience

November 24, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Join me in this exclusive look into a portrait experience, with local Wilmington dancer, Lydia!

What is the difference between a portrait session and a portrait experience? For me, I desire to create an experience for the talented clients who choose to work with me, from start to finish. See for yourself with this behind-the-scenes look at a recent portrait session with Lydia, a local dancer from The Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts!

Lydia and her mother came to me in order to create her senior portraits for graduation, which featured her love for dance. They needed the final images for not only her graduation announcements but for artwork to hang in the home in celebration of her many achievements.

The Mark Steelman Portrait Experience starts with the first consultation, where we collaborate on the session's creative direction, costume changes, and location. For her session, Lydia and her mother were inspired by their 150-year old home and the timeless nature of dance itself! They wanted a final masterpiece that was classic, timeless, and perfect to adorn the walls of their historical home.

On the day of the session, I wanted Lydia to feel like a soloist, the lead cast member for the day's events. So when she walked in, Lydia was greeted by her own dressing room, refreshments, and fresh bouquet of flowers. We were joined for this Mark Steelman portrait experience by Lydia's mother and her own dance instructor from the Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts, Cory Smith.

Before we begin the session, I always take a few minutes to review the client's vision for the shoot, as well as the various costume and background changes. I always recommend to clients, that they bring a few images on their phone that can give me an idea of what they are looking for in the final product. 

Lydia has been dancing for over ten years, in various styles like jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary. Her favorite style of dance is Classical Ballet, so we decided for that to be the focus for her dance portraits. 

As we progressed through the session, it was clear that this was not only a positive experience for Lydia but her mother as well. Who helped us toss fabrics, make wardrobe adjustments, and decide on which poses to try next. 

Lydia's experience with me didn't come to a close until she and her mother joined me once again in the studio a short time later. It was at this final meeting that we reviewed the images together, checking not only for little errors, but ensuring the final product showcased exemplary execution of skill. 

Post-graduation, Lydia plans to transfer some of the college credits she has already earned from Cape Fear Community College to a four-year university. When I asked her what advice she would give to her younger self at the start of her training, Lydia said this:


"A piece of advice that I would give to my younger self, would be to enjoy every moment that we are given to dance. Naturally, it is easy to be apprehensive of the future. Looking back, I can see now that I was very blessed to have the instructors, dance education, and opportunities that I had, and I wish I could help my younger self to realize this and learn to be more grateful."

Taking the final images Lydia selected, I made my master edits to create this final masterpiece.

If you know a talented, young dancer who would like images like the one above, capturing their own artistry. I am currently accepting applications for my ambassador program, where they will have the opportunity to create art like this on a regular basis. Learn more & Apply Here by November 29th: Ambassador Application


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