Capturing The Dance - Ryan Kenner

Samantha StoutSeptember 16, 2020Ballroom Chat: Episode #22
ryan kenner ballroom chat

Ryan Kenner discusses his process for capturing the perfect dance moment, tips for ballroom dancers to increase their chance of getting the ideal photo, and how his competitive experience makes him a better photographer.

Ryan Kenner is a professional dancer and the owner of Ryan Kenner Photography, providing high quality dance photography for ballroom dancers.

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Show Notes

Episode Transcript

Samantha: Welcome back to another episode of Ballroom Chat. I'm your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. I'd like to give a big thank you to Ballroom Box for partnering with us for this episode. Our guest for today is Ryan Kenner. He is the owner of Ryan Kenner Photography and is best known for capturing amazing shots on the dance floor at ballroom competitions and showcase performances around the country.

I get to sit down and talk with him about how he got into dancesport photography and his tips and tricks for dancers and photographers looking to capture the perfect shot. Please welcome to the episode, Ryan Kenner.

Ryan: Thank you for having me. It's great to be here.

Samantha: so, I feel like most, competitors, at least in the industry know you as a ballroom dance photographer. We see the Ryan Kenner Photography all over the place at competitions. So, what kind of got you into photography and then ultimately, why ballroom dancing? Why dance photography?

Ryan: Well, I started just by taking pictures, you know? Just for fun. And, then my parents used to dance, and I took it up at the end of college. And at a lot of the collegiate comps, I would take pictures. And just for fun. some of the teachers I had at the time, Kathy and Randy, from there from Rhode Island, Kathy St Jean and Randy Deats, they put me in touch with Ron Cody when his photographer dropped out. Cause they knew I liked taking photos and I was doing it a lot of the comps at the collegiate comps.

And, so I had about two days or three days’ notice, they said, Hey, do you want to shoot this comp? That's it. I have no idea what I am doing, but sure. Yeah. So, I'm kind of scared shitless. I don't know if I can say that on here, but yeah, it was like, what the hell am I going to do? So, I was like, all right, well, I know they need something to, you know, they need a way to view the images.

so, I spent the entire time trying to code a website to get the images up for people to view. And, ended up just scrounged up a lot of old Macs that I had around. So I had to pretty much every single Mac that existed from the, I don't know if, you know, from the little a Mac has the long neck, they had the commercials where it would look around, like it was smiling to, you know, the big blue cube, you know, the big blue ones.

They are colored ones. They had, some of the clamshell laptops, a variety of stuff. There's almost like a Mac history show out at a table. And had, just some basic generic websites that people could view their images. And I think my parents actually came down and were helping out and, I had no idea what I was doing.

So, you know, just try to get, you know, decent exposure and everything. And it was pretty, I mean, in hindsight, the images were just absolutely terrible. And I think that was 2007 ish, sometime around then. and then. Yeah. So, I was doing, I did, I jumped into pro AM's doing a lot of that with Lauren Dimmick Raven. She was my, the pro that I was doing everything with. And, at some point the comps, you know, I got a couple more comps. Ron had two comps at a time. One was Constitution State Challenge, and the other was, now it's called the Golden Star, but it was, I think it was Northeastern, North America. I forget what it was.

but I was going to say North coast, but that's, that's a Cleveland comp. I just shot. But, anyway, so I, started adding more of those and I was, I was doing software consulting at the time and I wanted more time to dance and, you know, traveling, flying out on Sundays, working, you know, all week flying back on a Friday just to have one and a half days at home for lessons and life.

It just wasn't working. So I, I quit my consulting job so I could dance more and, Then comps started, you know, I got a couple more comps here and there, you know, push the pro-am a lot more and just start adding in a little bit of portrait work and other stuff at the time. just to fill in. That and portrait work started growing and comps start growing and I was like, all right, well, let's see where this goes.

obviously since I liked dance and I danced and competed, it kind of, it was a natural fit and I don't even know what year it was, but, You know, I said, you know, I married Laura, my wife, and, you know, she was helping me out as well with us. And at some point, I think we had 18 weddings one year and the comps just started coming in and, it was picking up comps and I'm like, all right, well, I guess weddings are done.

So, it literally just cut, you know, close the door on that. Shot one or two, you know, since then, people kind of really wanted it and, Yeah, just lost my train of thought, but, no it, so yeah, we just switched over to the ballroom stuff and that's grown and we've been consistently, I think, roughly around 50 comps a year, so,

Samantha: wow. That's incredible. So, I want to back up just a little bit, because I don't think I realized that you were a competitor. I didn't, I, for whatever reason in my mind, I was like, no, he's, he's the photo guy. He's the guy that's at all the comps doing all the photos. I didn't realize you were actually a dancer.

So, you competed in collegiate through what a university?

Ryan: I competed in collegiate, with WPI, Harvard, MIT, all the, well it depended on where my partner was from, I was just like whatever. I was WPI to start. And then, that was, you know, that was like two years, or three years. And then, just jumped into Pro-Am. So, 2000, I think 2009 was the last time we did pro-am. so, w you know, I think we're. Well, we're in the final of Ohio for a couple of years and at USDC, for smooth. And then we've just started doing standard and, stopped and turned pro. That was, didn't really, I'm not going to go into that, but, then probably about, I think 20 2014 or 15, I can't recall a year, but, my wife and I started dancing together and we, we danced pro until I think, last year. Eastern to two years ago, Eastern, I think was our last, our last comp. And then now we've got a, got, a seven-month-old. So, we were like, no more dancing we're done, but I think we both missed it. I know I miss it.

Samantha: Yeah. Yeah. And the, and the door is never closed on dancing. You can always walk back through the door at any time. I feel like, but that's awesome. Well, congratulations on the little one.

Ryan: I mean, I'm still. Okay, thank you. Yeah, I miss him right now. He's I'm not at home, so I'm just, I just finished up the comp down in Florida. So I'm quarantining myself for a little while, but, No, it was, what was I going to say, I've been teaching a lot, you know, even since then, just before the pandemic hit, it was just nonstop lessons with a lot of my, collegiate smooth students.

And, I I've taught pro-am people, but, haven't taught anything, haven't danced except for, to not, to rock Nicholas, to sleep since, I guess since March.

Samantha: So, was this weekend, the first competition that you've been involved in since the pandemic hit, or were there other ones that you were able to go to?

Ryan: No. So, so the first one that I went or the last one that I went to before the pandemic was, New York dance Fest, which was absolutely insane this year followed by Heritage. So, I just went back to back to them. And then, I was supposed to go to St. Louis the next weekend, but I sent um, I sent just a crew instead, just because I was didn't want to risk anything. So, I'd stay home with Nicholas and Laura of course, but um. I, so they were there and in the middle of the comp is when things just started, you know, started shutting down. So, they kind of, I think that comp kind of got cut short a little bit.

they stopped doing a few events. People were backing out of it. So that was like the first, the last event really before the pandemic, it was St. Louis for RKP. And, then I did North Coast. That was the first one back for us. Everything else was like, yep, it's going to happen. It's going to happen then, Nope, nothing. so North Coast and then, then that was, that was pretty good. I felt pretty safe. During kid's day it's a little interesting. yeah, I won't go into that, not just there, but just in general. and then, but you know, Northwest North Coast is pretty good. I came home and, you know, stayed away again for a little bit, stayed away from Laura and then, use the time to actually bike, which is my, my new hobby during the pandemic.

And then, yeah, so. Boca. It was the next comp out, which just happened. And that was down here. it was actually really; it was really good. both North Coast and here we did photo and video, but it was a, it was actually, I thought it was really well run. Uh, Mark did a really good job. Helle didn't come down the other organizer, Mark Nocera and Helle Rusholt-Yi. And um, I guess she stayed at home to do work there, but they did a really good job with it. The crowd was great, and everyone was pretty good at the masks. so, I felt actually quite, I felt quite safe there. And, just now we're, we're just the, the whole team that I had down there were just quarantining together for a little while, just to. Just to, before the next event, but

Samantha: yeah, just, just, just to be on the safe side and to be responsible adults in this new time. That makes sense. well, it's good to hear that you're feeling safe at the competitions that are currently being run. I know that's a big concern for teachers and students about like, okay, how soon do we jump back into it?

Are we ready to go to events? So, it's good to hear, at least from your perspective that the ones that are being run are being done in a, in a safe way. so I want to jump back, when we were first talking about kind of how you got into this, you mentioned that looking back now at your first couple years of photography, you're like, Oh, that, that wasn't really the quality that I'd like to have now.

what was the biggest, I mean, W what, what do you see as the biggest challenge or the biggest learning curve when it comes to shooting dance photography? Because obviously that's very different when you have moving targets and you have multiple different people dancing on the floor at a time versus like just a stagnant, posed like controlled environment.

Ryan: Well, I mean, dance photography is its own beast. I, I use the analogy if it's accurate or not. I always use that analogy. It's like, If you were trying to shoot a flock of birds, but you only want to one bird and you were trying to shoot it, like when it was turning to the left, but you didn't want any other birds in that shot.

that's the analogy I've been using. I'm not, it's kind of close, but, it's interesting. Cause if you think about, you know, if you just went out to take pictures on dance floor, like when I first started, you know, I wasn't using flashes, I was just shooting ambient light. you know, just trying to make sure it was exposed correctly.

My white balance is way off, you know, you've got a variety of colors, the lights in the room, you know, the lights in the ballroom are usually some sort of tungsten or, fluorescent. And then if they put any light on the floor who knows what color it is, and it may change constantly, depending on, you know, what the organizers are doing or.

What other, you know, other people that are just playing with the light switch, you know, it's constant changing. So, at the time I was just an auto, white balance. No, no idea what it was doing really. in terms of the environment, you know, shooting the events. I said, you know, ambient light, going back to what you were saying about being a dancer myself, I found.

There were a lot of things that were just easier for me. I mean, watching someone that, you know, go down on the floor, I mean, you know, you see hip twists, you see a New Yorker, you see, you know, a fallaway reverse slip pivot and do a double reverse spin or, you know, whatever it is, you know, you can basically just watch the entire pattern progress on the floor and half of it you can predict and, you know, with the music.

It makes it even easier because most of the time stuff's phrased out, even if it's unintentionally phrased, you know, the music gives that energy, and that, you know, the sequencing to what's going to happen. so, I say the hardest thing is just the things that really get through is the quantity of images.

you know, we, when we started, it was, you know, it may be 300, 400 images an hour. You know, you're talking eight to 12-hour days sometimes longer, and it's just going through it all. And you know, I'm, I'm a, I'm OCD. I'm, I'm a perfectionist. My goal is get everything out there instantly, so people can view it. Cause I know that's what they want, you know, they don't want to have to wait. and they want to be able to order it right away. so, I kind of set really high expectations for myself at the beginning anyway, and it was just a matter of how to do this. So. Biggest obstacle for me was how to get all the information out there, even if the images were, you know, at the beginning, if they were okay or not, realistically, I don't think in hindsight, that didn't matter.

It was. How do you present your product to your client? So, I mean, I've spent. Hundreds, if not thousands of hours, coding stuff, trying things that just failed. I've probably purchased, a subscription to every single, you know, online website bought every version of like, you know, some sort of sales software you could, and they're all terrible for the industry.

for what I want, there's just nothing out there. I've hired people to build software for me. And, it's all failed. I mean, it's just like, here you go, here you go. Here you go. So, I ended up going back and trying to code stuff on my own or rework things. So that's, I'd say even harder than the photography side, just getting the product out there so clients can view it.

And now, I mean, it's, it's literally, it's real time, you know, I shoot a photo and you can view it on an iPad to, you know, two seconds later. you know, I put a little bit of a buffer in there so we can control what gets seen and what doesn't, but, you know, sometimes, we, you know, we just, if it's a ton of stuff, we'll just look out, but you know, going back to the, you know, the volume of images. If you've got one person on the floor, it's kind of weird. there are so many different scenarios, but if you've got one person on the floor, and you can go wherever you want the floor. Well, it's great. You can get a perfect angle on them. You can take pictures. And if it's, let's say it's a solo, you know, you may shoot a hundred, a hundred images. I'm not shooting rapid fire, just being able to different actions.

if you, you know, if you're shooting rapid fire, which I would never do, which is, it’s just wrong, they're many reasons why, but, it just wouldn't doesn't work for the industry, but, If you sit there and you just shoot every line you're doing, you still get, you know, 20 or 30 images, which have to, you know, come through. Now you now imagine that they were facing the wrong direction. So, you have to run around to the other side of the floor. So, this is, you know, other challenges. You go to the other side of the floor to get them now, your background's terrible. so now you're trying to, you know, figure out what you do there. Alright, well of course you have to get a couple, so ignore the background and then they turn around and you're like, crap, I can't, you know, so I have to go back to the other side. So, there are all these challenges that you have to overcome, you know, and you really have to understand just to shoot ballroom photography. Now you add two more, two couples on the floor.

Sounds easy. I'll get, I can shoot two people. One's here. One's there. Well, they're both facing, you know, let's say you're shooting from the center of the room. And one's on one short wall, one's on the other short wall, you know, and they're facing the short walls. Well, now you've got nothing except both of their backs. So, you go, and you can choose one or the other. You know, you hope they turn around. So, it's your, your heads constantly on the swivel, trying to see what people are doing. Sometimes, you know, I'll be listening to the music and I'll be shooting over here, and I'll realize that they're not going to have a highlight, you know, music's hitting a highlight.

So, can we switch over here to see what they're doing? And sometimes you miss stuff, but you know, you try to plan it and say, so it's really, I'll. Yeah. It's, it's, it's, it's interesting. Lot of challenges. I don't think a lot of people understand, you know, when you go to shoot, you know, now we'll see, you get to final, a couple of six couples, eight couples on the floor, you know, they're all moving around.

they're all blocking each other, hitting each other, avoiding each other, whatever it is. So, you know, now you've got to shoot all of them, but you also can't just be anywhere in the room. So, you've got, got to be where, you know, people aren't sitting. So you have to find a spot, you know, or make your own spot, you know, half the time I'm sitting on the ground or, you know, people have photos of me literally underneath tables, if the room's crowded, you know, sitting prone, like I'm shooting a rifle with the, the curtain, you know, blocking everything and my camera's just sticking through, you know, people have gotten photos of me doing stuff like that.

Cause you just. Sometimes it's just no space to shoot. but you know, it makes, it makes for a fun conversation when you're down there taking pictures. But, yeah, you know, you say you add all that in now. You've got judges that may be standing in your way. so, you know, you got to shoot through the judge's legs or, you know, you've got, you know, a lot of times judges are nice.

They understand you're there, they're going to, you know, go to the side. But sometimes they don't even notice you. So, it's yeah, it's, it's tough. it's very different, especially, cause if you miss the shot, you miss it. Your only chances either there's going to be a call back, or if it's pro you know, if it's pro you usually, you know, it's done one round done or maybe semi-final.

I mean, you may have another shot. if they start in the same side of the floor, you're in the same position, et cetera, et cetera. and they don't get hit. if it's Pro-Am, you know, hopefully they've been a couple more rounds, so you can get that same, you know, you can pull that shot that you missed. but yeah, it's always, it's, it's, it's fun.

It's intense, but it's, Frustrating at the same time.

Samantha: Well, and I was going to ask that thinking about, like Pro-Am competitions, I'd say nine times out of 10, if you've got a Pro-Am student, that's going, they're going to dance the same routine across multiple heats. you know, maybe they're, they're dancing, American smooth 4-dance, but they have 20 entries.

So, they're dancing each of those dances five times and it's probably the same routine or they might have a couple tweaks here and there. So, do you make a mental note? Of what you see the first time a couples on the floor and go, aha. Okay. I want to see if I can get a cleaner shot of this or, Oh, I missed it.

Cause I was anticipating this from this other couple, and I want to make sure that I catch that the second time. Do you kind of have of that mental note of like, I want to make sure, sure that I get this the second time around?

Ryan: Sometimes, you know, there's so much going on that sometimes, like, it, it really depends on the comp.

I mean, there’s comps, or, you know, someone may do a hundred entries or 200 entries, or you may have a pro that does, I think. The record I've seen at a comp I think is 1500 entries for pro-am, just one pro, which is nuts. so yeah, I mean, at that point, you know, they're, they're done, you know, and they hit that point and we're like, well, we've taken a thousand couple thousand photos of you.

I don't want to shoot anymore. You know, but most people, I mean, you say, you know, let's say four sets of dances. Sometimes I'd say that's, that’d be higher than the average, some comps. You know, if it's smaller comp yeah, some people may do that, but you also have a lot of people that may only do three dances for the entire competition.

They may come in and you know, this is their first comp. They do their Cha-cha. They do maybe a Rumba or maybe a Swing and they're done, or they come out, they do a cha-cha and they do another Cha-cha. And then they're done, And if they're on the floor with three to three other people, Is, if you don't know that they're only doing those two dances, there is a high, you know, 99% probability, you're going to miss them.

You know, you may have one photo of them. And that's to me is my worst fear is that you don't get anything of anyone. You know, obviously I want to get everything to be, you know, everything to be a good photo, but I want to at least make sure I have, you know, 10 or 15 photos that are at least decent per couple. So, when someone comes on and we're like, And they, you know, they, they come over to look at their photos and they're like, I don't see any photos we're like, where are you? So, we, you know, we ended up going back and looking at what heats they danced, we'll go back through all the photos and, try to find them. And sometimes we'll find something in the, you know, that we trashed. We thought it was just a bad image. So, we got rid of it. And, sometimes we're, you know, we pull it out and they're like, Oh, this is the most amazing image ever. But, you know, we we've got standards, so we, we literally will have cut off a lot of images that we just don't want to put out there.

but yeah, it's, it's tough. So, I was just to answer what you were saying before, I guess to actually answer the question, I'll try, we'll try to pay attention to people. And sometimes, you know, if we've seen someone again and again, at a comp. you know, a lot of times we'll know what they're doing, but you take a comp like New York Dance Fest or, You know, I was going to say, I'm like Fred Astaire World Championships.

And you know, the couples there, literally, you have the 20 couples on the floor, 27 couples on the floor, depending on how the floor's split. You know, if you've got literally, you know, people, judges in the center or whatever, and you've got two floors with couples on them, they're all uncontested events.

You know, you can have a ton of people out there and if they're all doing like in New York, usually you're going to be doing. One set of single dances, maybe two and a scholarship maybe scholarship and a championship. That's probably it. And if you've got all those other couples on the floor, if we see, you know, if we see you and you know, it clicks. Okay. I, I see, I know who this is, you know, that that's a. That's already winning. Yeah.

Samantha: Well that makes me wonder too. so, there, there are a number of different, photographers that come to different events throughout the year. And I feel like everyone kind of has their own business model. Some, the only way to guarantee that you're going to get professional photos is if you sign up ahead of time and make sure that they have your number and your heat sheet, and they know what dances and what rounds. Do you subscribe to that business model or do you, it kind of sounds like you went into the mindset of no, I want to make sure that everyone has the ability to see themselves on the dance floor at the end of the day.

So, are you taking just blanket photos of trying to capture everybody that's on the floor?

Ryan: So, two goals, I guess. One, if you go to a comp, you want your photo taken, you know, you want a photo of yourself. or even if you don't, most people will want, you know, a picture. I know some people don't want any photos and even then, I'll still take pictures of them, but, Yeah.

I mean, if you sign up and we have, we've always had sign-up sheets. So, if you sign up in advance, then we know what heat you're in, there's a much higher, probably that you're that we get you. If you don't sign up, I still want to get you. And I still want to get those 10-20 images, if not more. you know, of you dancing, even if you don't sign up, because afterwards you may come over, not knowing that you had, you know, that you wanted, that you needed to sign up or maybe you didn't think you wanted photos.

And afterwards you're like, Oh, I like these. so, my goal is basically treat everyone as if they want the photos. So, it sets a high, you know, a strong high expectation if I'm shooting or any anyone shooting for me, they better get good photos of everyone on the floor. I want lines, I want dynamics. I want emotions. you know, I want that variety.

You know, co even posing, walking off the floor, going on, getting ready to dance. I want to see all of that in there. so, I mean, our shot count now. I mean, we're almost always eight hundred to a thousand an hour. if it's a really big comp we may shoot 3000 an hour, you know, there are plenty of comps now that I've broken 120,000 images of the comp. and this X may expectation is still the exact same thing. All those images need to get out there. We need to have them sorted by couple. So, you can just come over and look at your number and we have to cull them all. So, we have to review every image and decide to keep or toss. and it’s a, it's a tall order and it's stressful, but, you know, I feel like that's what the industry wants.

That's what they expect. and I don't know how responsible I am for creating that, building that expectation. But you know that as the dancer myself, that's what I would want to see. And I would care what is behind the scenes. I would expect that whatever business comes in, if it's photography, if it's a video that they understand, you know, what the clients want.

So, you know, I've stayed away from doing like off the dance floor poses and stuff. And I mean, you know, we'll just stuff in the ballroom, but going out and taking the time to do a photo shoot, I've stayed away from that because it detracts from time in the ballroom. And I feel like the core business, what people really want, what, in terms of everyone they want the photos, you know, want the souvenir.

They want the shot of them dancing, you know, to the memory they want to know. You know, I was at this comp. That I feel is number one. Number two is they want to have a good photo. So not just a bad photo. I was at this comp look at me, I'm, you know, I've got velociraptor arms. Yeah. You know, they want to see nice clean, nice clean lines.

and you know, sometimes it's, you know, going to, you know, do's, and don'ts, you know, there's so many blinking shots or shots where, you know. I personally like goofy shots, but sometimes you know, that the student is just looking great cause they love how they look and they look at, you know, they look at the pro and the pros like,

Samantha: Yep.

Ryan: You know, so it's like, they're like, I'm not buying that photo. or, you know, it's like, everything is perfect, except for the fingers are like this or the toe isn't turned out enough or, you know, whatever distance, all these minor things that, you know, a month down the line. There's a high chance. You're not going to care about that.

you know, if it's really obvious you may, but you know, I, my primary thought is that you want to see a memory of the comp, second, is it a perfect line? The goal is to always try to get both

Samantha: well and, and kind of jumping into that. So, I want to talk about kind of like the do's and don'ts, the tricks that you would have for dancers to just be aware of when they're on the dance floor.

I feel like. the photos that I always get back of myself, I'm like, Oh, I wish that was taken away a half second earlier or a half second later. Cause I feel like that line would have been more complete, but I know that like, no, you have to make sure every, every facial expression, every shoulder positioning, every elbow, every wrist, every fingertip has to be perfect.

Well, not perfect, but you're striving for perfection, every single frame so that it doesn't matter where in the series you pull that photo from, it's supposed to be a crisp, clean line, no matter what. So, without putting too much anxiety and stress on dancers that are already have a lot on their minds, what, what are one or two things that you just would like dancers to be more aware of or more conscientious when they're practicing their routines before going to a competition,

Ryan: am I limited to one or two?

Samantha: we know that we know the clear things like you should probably be thinking about your turnout. You should probably be looking up and not at the floor. You should probably be, but, but what are some other things that you see frequently happening in photos?

Ryan: So, I'm going to preface it, preface this by saying is, I'm not perfect.

You know, the guys that shoot me, aren't perfect. You know, we can easily miss a shot, but my goal is to shoot, you know, on time all the time. So, we're shooting with the music where it's also my responsibility and my photographer's responsibility to recognize if someone is off time, and to actually adjust and compensate and shoot their actions. So quite often you'll see me, I'm shooting the ballroom and I've got my own music playing, you know, Nikki Minaj or if it's Beethoven or if it's, whatever it is, I'll be putting something in that's the exact opposite of what's on the dance floor. just so that I'm just watching body action.

so, because a lot of times I'll get excited by the music and I'll shoot. I mean, I was, When I dance, I tend to be fast anyway, I have to really work on slowing down. So, you know if I'm seeing an action, I may preemptively shoot. and especially if someone, I can't judge we'll see what they're doing for the timing. And I'd say this is, I see this a lot in actually in pro as well. and see what the unfinished lines are. you know, I was guilty of this too. You know, you pull your partner out of the line before they're finished, or the partners never finishes the line. but whatever it is, you know, we've got to recognize that we've had a wait for the line to finish sometimes, you know, we'll, we'll shoot three shots.

You know, if the girl's reaching for the kick, you know, the camera, it's, you know, one coming in one at that finish point and one, you know, coming back out. And a lot of times that finish line is the one that actually looks the worst. you know, the arms fully extended and just, you know, it just doesn't look as dynamic. you know, I was actually using the muscles to, to create more of a shape and more volume. so, you know, that being said that, you know, we can still screw up, but we're always looking for the timing and to adjust. So even if someone's off time in the new Yorker and they're breaking instead of on, you know, they're breaking on like one or, two or, you know, whatever it is, you know, or on an and beat, you know, That, you know, we're, I'm always, we're always trying to adjust and compensate if, if we can see it.

and with everyone on the floor, and that takes in watching someone says, you were saying before, you know, if someone's got three or four heats, sometimes it may just be that we're looking, you know, at the timing, I'm really mad what they're doing, because I don't care if they do the new Yorker or hip twist or an underarm turn.

As long as I shoot it on time and you can see the faces, you can see the expression, you can see the proper, proper timing of that shot and you can recognize it in the image. so that being said, things that I would like people to realize, well, first of all, if you're going to do a line and the audience is right there, it's much better to engage the audience.

If it's the photographer or if it's the audience. Instead of looking up and you know, like you've got, the Shakespeare character. It's like poor,

Samantha: poor Yorick

Ryan: Alas poor. Was it poor Yorick?

Samantha: Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. you know, it's like, you're looking up here, you're just ignoring everyone around you. so you want to connect with your audience, so connect with the camera and that ultimately is, you know, if you're going to stretch your arm out, I mean, this is it's so often I see something like this, both the cameras here. You know, if I'm sitting down, what, what's the shot of your armpit? you know, even if you've got the best expression, you're reaching up like this, you can't get it. So, it's so quite often, you know, you just get these shots that if, if the student or the pro, whoever it is, you know, had just, instead of just being internal.

Just focusing on what they had to do. If they were just aware of a little bit more of their, you know, who's around them and they can just play with the audience a little more. I feel like it would just be, create a lot more of those opportunities to get good shots and improve their dancing. yeah. So that would be one, I guess, one of the items.

Samantha: Yeah. That's, that's a tough one to do though, too, because. Especially, I mean, from a pro perspective, yes. Pros do better. No, I'm kidding. but, but from a pro-am perspective, I feel like that puts a lot of a responsibility on the part of the student to know your routines, but also give yourself the freedom and the flexibility to play with the audience and play with the music and play in the moment.

And that's, that's a tough, that's a tough jump to make, regardless of your level. But it's an important one, as, as you said. It makes it more engaging for the audience. And from a photography perspective, you're going to get a better, more engaging shot that way.

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Ryan: Yeah. I mean, it's, I mean, yeah, it's stressful enough to go out on the competition floor.

I fully understand that. And then, you know, to, to feel like. The goal is, I guess, you know, when you feel like you have to perform, you get so tense and tight, that things just stop working. So, you know, if it, to heck with photography, just in general for the dancing, you know, it's just. The more relaxed you can be the better it's going to be.

You know, you, you talk about it with, you know, my coaches, I said, how do I put this, you know, there's no point in work, like trying to train or fix things right before you go out in the floor because it's not going to make a difference. you know, whatever you've been practicing. Try to put that out there.

You can't make, you know, if you've been practicing A, you can't showcase B, it won't work. So whatever level it is that you're in the studio, just your expectation should be to put that on the floor, maybe with a little more energy, but don't think it's going to be completely different level. So, you know, you dance to that, you know, dance that same way.

and usually the dancing will end up feeling better and you know, it will look better in pictures or in the video or whatever it is. So, I mean, I, so the other thing, I guess, going back to the question you had asked, those high kicks. I mean, we all love our high kicks, but there are so many amazing lines that we delete, no one will ever see them because they're all crotch shots. And we try to, you know, even if it's a slight crotch shot, we'll try to delete it. So, sometimes it's, you know, it's on the dress designers. Sometimes it's on the, you know, on the dress, sometimes it doesn't matter. But, you know, we, we try to delete all those crotch shots.

So, it's, you know, when the kick is straight to the camera, I quite often I'll put the camera down intentionally, just, you know, I'm not going to shoot it as well. you know, cause I'll have to, we'll come over and ask, you know, can you delete those shots that you, you know, you took, so it will just try not to shoot it, but sometimes, you know, you were hoping that the dress would just fall correctly and cover, you know, cover the crotch or whatever it is.

so, the shots, you know, something that will be, you know, willing to post. Cause again, we don't want crotch shots, especially of youth going out on the internet. You know, even, you know, even the pro-am, you know, we've had people who are teachers and things say that, you know, their students that found their image online and, you know, you know, created scandals and things like this.

So, it's, you know, we understand that dancers, especially the, you know, the pro-am students don't want things that can, are, Inappropriate online.

Samantha: yeah,

Ryan: so, you know, that's why, especially, so, you know, even when we post stuff, we tried never to use a student's name. You know, if we do, it's the first name, the initial or whatever it is, that way there's a little bit in anonymity.

cause, you know, people can go and view images and it's usually its competitors, you know, but

Samantha: right. It's, it's so easy to find everything on the internet these days. So having that little bit of a buffer, because you do have, you do have students that maybe this is their hobby, or this is, this is kind of the thing they do on the side, but they don't want it.

They don't want their coworkers or their boss to know that they're dancing for whatever reason or with the youth, like. Do you really want photos of 10, 11, 12, 13-year old’s, easily searchable, easily find-able online? So, having that little bit of buffers is nice. Along, along with the high kick lines, do you do the same filtering then for some of the Latin, like skirt, like hitch ups where it's very clear that you're supposed to be showing the bloomers or, or the tops that, you know, aren't a hundred percent secured when they go out on the dance floor?

Ryan: Yup, yeah. ladies, please, tan, fully. And, yeah, there there's, you know, sometimes you just, I mean, everyone's heard the stories of, you know, unfortunate circumstances, but yeah, definitely. There are a lot of shots that people don't want out there.

Our goal, you know, that's why we go through everything. And sometimes it takes us a little bit longer to get it just posted, especially if it's a giant comp you know, New York. I think this year, their entries were so much more than anyone ever anticipated. And I, I had planned it for a regular size comp and all of a sudden it just exploded.

the number of competitors that were, it was, it was insane, but that took me. A long, not a long time, probably about a week to, a couple of days, longer than normal to get everything out there. Cause there was just so much data to process, to sort everyone, but also to go through all the images. You know, we're never perfect on it, but just trying to make sure we get rid of all of those bad images that, and what the bad, from our perspective, you know, you know, again, crotch shots, boob shots, some gets just completely not flattering, you know, a spin where someone's someone is out like this, or, you know, the arms are just flying all over cause of centipedal force. You know, those are the things we want to try to, you know, we don't want, no one wants to see that, you know, even if it's really cool that you're spinning that fast, you don't want to see it. So, you know, the goal is get rid of that stuff.

Samantha: So, you brought up, tanning. I am very pale. I am affecting the white balance on my camera all the time. That's why I have to sit right in front of this thing, which is pure white, just so it knows that I am not the white balance. There is, let's say a little bit of a discussion, whether smooth and standard dancers should be expected to tan at the same level as Latin and rhythm dancers from a look on the floor perspective.

even if I do like a medium tan, I'm still very, very, very pale when I go out on the dance floor. So, from a photography perspective, is there a. It, is there a benefit to having a little bit of, a darker tan on a dancer to get a more crisp, clear photo or no? Is it more the, the tanning discussion is really just an aesthetic question from a judging perspective?

Ryan: Alright. So, this has many parts to it. So, let me start out with the simplest example, regular skin tone in a ballroom without any ambient lighting. You are the exact same color as the wall for most cases. The lighting is completely flat so there's, the cameras cannot differentiate between the colors. so the focus on the camera, it has no idea if it is actually focusing on you or the wall, it just, there's not enough light in the ballroom for it to make that, make that, to figure it out.

So, when you were at the same, even, you know, a similar shade of color as the wall. It's a problem. the camera just like, sorry, I'm not going to shoot. This is just something that, you know, it doesn't really matter where you are. If you're shooting in a wedding, you know, a wedding or whatever it is going to, it's going to happen.

So that's where we're starting from. That's our base situation. Now you add on a, guy's wearing a black suit. So, he's, you know, in most cases or a dark outfit. So, all of a sudden, he's disappeared. There there's no contrast. There's nothing for the camera to pick up on him. So, the camera can't focus on the guy. For the most part unless you've got the focal point right on his head and you can track him. so coming from a technical standpoint, you're starting out and just like the worst, low light situations you can, .the ladies dresses sometimes they're one color or they're, let's say I'm a jet, you know, some colors of Magenta's and reds and oranges just don't white balance well in general.

And when you balance the camera for the room, and for skin tones, the dress is the color of the dress does not look at all like it actually does, in real life. And, you know, people will complain a lot about that. And to a certain extent, there's nothing you can do about it. I'd rather have your skin tone look good, then have, you know, the dress be the correct color, which is my, it's my, my own decision on that. Some people may disagree with it, but I'd rather not have you look like an Oopma Loompa. so, going to tanner, so when you add tanner, obviously you become darker. the benefit of tanner is that you have more, much more even tone if it's done well, you know, your, your skin tone, it's smoother.

when you are in a lighted situation. So, let's say now you add lights in the ballroom they're bright lights, they're reflective. A lighter skin is much more reflective. yeah, with this, nothing, no tanner on it or nothing on it to break up that light skin, especially if it's wet, sweaty at all is going to just bounce, light, back and forth.

So, you now go to take a picture and it's like, you're a beacon. You're reflecting light back with everything else around you is dark. So now you're pasty white. You look even whiter. You're blown out completely. so now, you know, you are basically just this big white ball in the image, and your dress looks fine and the room looks fine.

so, one of the benefits of having tanner or something like, you know, something that cuts down the reflectiveness is that you just, your skin tones look better. You're, you're neutral. You're taking that light that we normally hit you bounce back and hit the camera. and you're just softening it. And it's the same thing. You know, if you know, you, you can usually see, you know, if you're watching someone on the floor, you're like, wow, that person's white. and you know, some, some people can kind of get away with it. That's just their look, you know, they've got like a porcelain look and it looks great on the floor, but sometimes, you know, it's still in the camera is going to look very reflective and sometimes we'll have to notch down the exposure.

you know, skin tone does have a different exposure, if you're shooting portraits or weddings, you know, depending on the skin tone, you may have to go two thirds of a stop different, depending on who you're shooting. And you know, if you've got skin tones that are mixed in the shot now you're like, all right, well, I know if I you've got somebody who's really dark and seems really pasty white.

Well, if I expose for this dark person and this pasty, white person is going to just disappear. And if expose for them, when you're not going to, you know, that the person's darker skin is just going to, you're not going to have any depth or detail on them. So, you have to kind of find that balance. So, taking it to the ballroom, you know, if you can get your skin tone to be much more neutral, which in this case would, you know, under bright lights means a darker tone. then it's going to be better. it's going to, it's just going to look better. So realistically, when you're, when you have all the bright lights, it's way they have stage makeup. When you're have all the bright lights on, you need a makeup, that's going to, tone down your skin. So, it's not as reflective. and also, you know, when you sweat, you just want you to know if you have tanner on a lot of times, it's going to help again with that reflectiveness. So yeah. tanner is a good thing. Now there's two dark. But, that's, you know, that's, that's a personal preference. I mean, even, you know, when I danced, I would, if I w if I could, I would typically go for a spray tan, back in the day.

And then when it was just too much, yeah. I would just do makeup on my face, my neck and everything, and try to, you know, do the back of my hands. but I would never think about going on the dance floor without tanner anymore. It just, I know how reflective I'd be.

Samantha: Well, and I think that's a good point too, to say that even, even you, as a lead would go out and make sure that you at least have some makeup on some makeup on the back of your hands, if not tanner. I'm not throwing anyone under the bus. So, I will not name names, but I've definitely seen both amateur men and professional men that dance, you know, 20, 30, 40 heats in a row and the cheeks are bright red and the forehead's bright red. And it's like, okay, can we, can we at least put some foundation on because you've just gone through four different skins tone changes in, you know, 10 minutes.

so I feel like the ladies are used to the expectation of, we need to even out the skin tone and make sure the eyes are popping and cheeks are bright and lips are bright, but it's important for gentlemen too, to kind of be aware of that.

Ryan: Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, even, I think the most I've done for Pro-Am either I haven't done that as my pro-am with students, but, I think the last decent comp I did where three students, it was like 30 or 40 heats in a row just doing standard. And I put tanner on, but you know, after first couple, I mean, I sweat, like there's no tomorrow. So, my tanner was disappearing and, you know, I knew what my face probably streaky. I wanted to put stuff on. I couldn't.

So, I was like, all right, well, what do I do? Just take it off. I guess, you know, just wipe but you know, it's just, even if you know, it's not looking good at the moment, just to always have that mind you in the moment, you've got a chance, you know, Just cleaned it up. That's I think for Pro-Am instructors, guys or girls sometimes, they don't do it just because they're doing so many heats.

It would be silly. it's going to look bad as it starts to fade off as you, you start to dab yourself and you don't really touch it up. It's not going to look good. I think it's more with the guys, you see the streak lines or whatever, but that's a lot of that's also the product and how it's put on. And I feel like. Quite often, even when professionals sometimes to do the makeup, this is a big one actually. Sometimes the women will get a makeup and I don't know brands, but they'll do something where it has that, SPF in it inside of it. So, it's like it's SPF 10 SPF 15, which has this sheer, this reflective white, underlying tone to it.

so, all of a sudden you get the ballroom. And you look like you're silver, even though right up front, you look fine. Once you've got the lights, you actually look silver. And when you take a picture, it's just w it's it doesn't look good. like that, it really, you know, it. Where I'm, I almost don't want to shoot because I don't want that person to see how it looks. Well, and, and this happens every couple of comps you see them. Yeah.

Samantha: Yeah. Well, and I think you made a good, a good distinction that we're talking about stage makeup, right? If you, if you went to a ballet and watched the full performance, you'd go oh my gosh, those dancers are so gorgeous. Those actors are so brilliant.

And then if you met them before they took their stage makeup off, you'd go, Whoa. Right because it's just so blown out and it's so overdone and it's so heavy when we're talking face to face, the expectation is, okay, you want, you know, this style of makeup, right? That might be more natural. That might be more glam. That might be whatever it might be, nothing, but as soon as you put stage lights and sweat and movement and distance, you have to think about the makeup and the skin tone and the hair in a completely different sense, because what works up close is not going to work at a distance.

Ryan: Yeah. It's very much the case.

Oh yeah. Then you've got the, the tanner that comes off in seconds. So, you know, two seconds into a cha-cha the, the male’s white shirt is now a beautiful orange tone. That doesn't look good in photos. So, from my perspective, I mean, yeah, it doesn't look good on the floor either. You know, the judges see it and they go, okay, they use the wrong product.

So, from a judging standpoint, you know, you look at that and you thought, you want it, you turn away. It doesn't matter what level the dancer is. You know, like there, you know, if that's not a good, it's not a good night for them. you know, that's, I would say probably the initial thought, that's what I would think, and, you know, having judge some of the collegiate comps.

Yeah. In the moment you see something like that, you're like, Oh, okay. And it's collegiate, it's different, but it's still a, you know, it it's a turnoff. you don't want to necessarily watch that cause you keep seeing the tanner come off and you see it getting on the shirt. so I think sometimes, you know, Even for the guys, you know, if it's the tanner or they're wearing the tanner of the girls wearing, you know, that can affect the performance as well.

Cause they know it's, cause they may know it's coming off and it might affect them, but from my perspective that no one's going to want to buy it or the chance that they're going to want to buy that photo now, you know, even if it's a perfect photo, you get, you know, orange marks all over the shirt. No one's going to want to get that.

So, you know, now I've got a choice. If I'm, you know, from a shooting perspective, do I want to. Still shoot it, get the regular shot, you know, hope they buy it. do I want to crop it in and see if I can get some sort of artsy abstract shot that avoids as much as the shirt as possible? or do I not shoot them? and I want to shoot him, you know, so I'll kind of play back and forth with, you know, what we do. So, and all that, you know, those are all split-second decisions,

Samantha: right? Yeah. I mean, the other thing to keep in mind as we're having this discussion is, you know, the rounds are a minute 15, maybe two minutes if it's a pro final,

Ryan: I mean, a minute. For Pro-Am minute five. Yeah. Usually good minute, 15 for scholarships. if you've got a big event and then rush for time, sometimes you'll see it down to even 55 seconds. I've been at comps which are, you know, not run to par where they had to cut it down, you know, 50 seconds, even 45 seconds sometimes.

Samantha: Yeah.

Ryan: And you know, it's not fair to the dancers, but, you know, from a comp organizer's perspective, they just have to get everything in.

Samantha: Right.

Ryan: And I've seen comps where, you know, DJs have forgotten that the music was playing. You know, I was on the floor. I think it was a minute 55 for tango once. And, you know, we hit the end of our routine, which we've never hit before.

And I'm like, well, now what, you know, we've got to start repeating it. And I, we had never been, I've never, I'd never practiced it and being an idiot, we never practiced going through that far. So, yeah, everyone just knows that. Repeat your routines, make sure you know how to repeat them just in case the music keeps playing.

But at some point, you know, you. Just stop you. Go ahead.

Samantha: I was just saying I was at a competition once small one day, local, just kind of fun mess around comp. but I think they were stalling for time. So suddenly our rounds were two minutes, 15 seconds. So, we've repeated our Foxtrot three and a half times before they cut the music. I was like, well, this, this is what it is now.

Ryan: That may be a record. I I've never heard of things going above, like about a minute 50, except for, in one situation where there were some pro events where the music just happened to continue on and on for about two and a half minutes. I'll just end there, for multiple events.

So, but I think that's rare, you know, usually, especially if you're Pro-Am. Planning out to have a minute 15, minute 30 max is more than enough. And, you know, but that, you know, that's tough. Cause if you've got, let's say it's a semi you've got 12 couples on the floor. From my perspective, that gives me seven and a half seconds for a couple to shoor=t.

you know, just 90 seconds, 12 couples, it's just it's on and to get. You know that that's per dance. So, you've got, you know, times five dance event, that's 37 seconds for a couple of, you know, over, over the five dances that you can shoot without having time between. So that's watching what they're doing, that's actually shooting.

So, it's yeah, it's when you break down the numbers, it's challenging.

Samantha: Well and that makes, that makes it all that more impressive when you do get the perfect shot for the couple. Right? Because that means that in those seven seconds, everything came together. They were at the right spot on the floor.

They hit the right line. You were ready. It was on time. It was there. It was perfect. Like that's, that's incredible that you can get crisp, clean, perfect shots in seven seconds. what are some tips or some suggestions for photographers that are thinking maybe they want to try this, this dancesport thing?

Ryan: I'd say the biggest thing is don't worry about screwing up and play, learn your, your, the most important things, you know, learn, learn how to use your camera. So, know your ISO, know your aperture, know your, you know, your, wow blank and your shutter speed. You know, just know what they do, know the relationship between those three items and, you know, learn about color a little bit.

Flash who cares. You know, to start out. It doesn't care. You know, you don't, you don't really care what it's perfect image. You should just care about, you know, timing, you know, shooting a line. So, watching what's happening on the floor and, you know, just try to get the image exposed properly. So, you know, if we're going into technical details, I would say this to any, you know, anyone.

the way I break down photography, I try to keep it simple ignoring numbers. you know, the primary thing to look at is your depth of field, which means, you know, the background behind you blurry, or, you know, is it sharp? Are, you know, how much detail do you see in the image? So, it's, you know, the iPhone is portrait mode, right?

If you use portrait mode, everything's blurry except for you. and if you don't use it, you know, you see the entire depth of the image. So, the question is, you know, how important is that to you? so, you know, usually the lower depth fields. So, you know, the more blurry you have, the more light, the camera lets in to, the lets into the image.

So, there's a little extra consideration there, but, your first item is how much, you know, blur do I want, do I want to make sure that everything's sharp? Okay. So, let me just use. I'll just give, give her a number an F four, so four as your, as your, as your aperture. So, based on that now I have to think, okay, what's next important.

Well, that's going to be my shutter speed. Do I need to stop the action? You know, do I need to get her, you know, is okay if things are blurry and that's an artistic choice in some way. So, some people will want to get a motion blur and everything and they, you know, they can go down to a different, you know, a lower shutter speed. So something like one 60th or something like that or even lower, but for most people that just want to get a nice clean shot, you're looking at something like, you know, if the room is well lit, you may be at one, 500th of a second and maybe, you know, you have to really be something over one 200th, one 300th to get a, you know, something sharp though.

So, once you get those, so you just kind of set those numbers and there's always a relationship between them. So you get your, you know, to back up a little bit, you've got your aperture here, but say you got your ISO here and you've got your, your shutter speed here. So, you set your, aperture, you basically take, you can take a picture on automatic.

Did you just look at what the settings are, and you say, okay, well I want, my aperture should be this. This is fine. My shutter speed. I need that a little bit higher. So, you know, let's go from, you know, one, one, 100 to one. You know, 250th. So, you roll the dial and let's say it's three notches, five notches. Doesn't matter. Just pay attention to how many notches you did it, you moved it. And then you say, okay, well, my ISO, the third item I haven't talked about is how much light for just two, this is not exactly it, but just assume that it means how much light your camera can allow in. how much additional lights. So, you're going to adjust the amount of light that comes to camera. So, you say, alright, if I bring my shutter speed up, I'm darkening the image. So, I'm going to roll. If I rolled my shutter five notches to the left, I'm going to take my ISO and I'm going to move it notches to the right. So that the exposure is still the same.

So, it's basically, you know, you move one of the buttons. It doesn't matter. Or any of the three, you move one of them one way, you have to move another one, the other way to keep the same exposure. and exposure of course is just the, you know, Expose the image of, you know, the lighting of the, of the image. So, you know, right now we're, we're decently exposed. I don't know. I've got a nice white background, so it makes it easy, I guess, but you know, it's not blown out. It's not dark, it looks good. So those three items just playing with those. And just playing with that relationship. You don't need to know what the numbers are.

Just know if I move one, one click one way I have to move another one another the other way. And you'd be order, you know, your order of preference, your order of operations. It's like, you know, your basic math exhibit order of operations here, your aperture, do your shutter speed, do your ISO. And then once you get that down, then you can play with their color and say, well, let's keep it on auto white balance, let's try tungsten, let's try, you know, all these settings and see what works.

Samantha: Awesome. Awesome. And then, I mean, I, I certainly would make an assumption how you're going to answer this, but, do you think there's a benefit if you are a photographer that is going into dance sport photography of actually knowing how to dance?

Or spending some time just watching and learning how dancers move so that you can start to recognize, okay, they're doing a hip twist here where they're doing an open fan or what it means when, the beginning, you know, what, what the phrases are in a traditional Paso Doble so that you can anticipate when that hit or the crash is going to happen?

Ryan: So, over the years I've had different people work for me. you know, some been photographers, some have been videographers, you know, some didn't have any knowledge of either of them, you know, and some were dancers. so, you know, maybe a little photography background or not, didn't really matter. What I found in it.

It varies per person, but if you're coming in with a technical knowledge, quite often, you also have your set way of doing things, which may work for you. If you're working for me, for instance, I have a specific goal of what I expect every image to look like, and I want them to be, you know, people might call it boring, but I expect every image to have the same feel.

so, the product is consistent. so. So, a photographer may, you know, can get that right off the bat. You know, someone who's a photographer, but they're going to look at the dance floor and they're going to just have no idea what's going on. They're not going to know how a competition's run. So, their entire day they're staring.

They're like, I don't know what's going on. You know, the fact that, you know, we're going to go through different styles, though, if it's, you know, one day comp and to start with, let's say with, you know, Rhythm or smooth. You're going to switch over to Latin or standard, you know, and you're going to jump through to the different styles.

And at the end, you know, you may have a section of youth that does the same thing. You've got your single dances, you've got multi dances. Sometimes you brought all of your single dances, then do your scholarships. Sometimes you'll do you know bronze go to this multi dances thing. We'll do silver then multi-dances, so there's no understanding just of how the event runs Nevermind the fact that now it's not just looking at one person taking picture of them. They're dancing, but now you've got 10 people on the floor. You don't know when they're coming back on again, you know, again, going back to how the event runs. You don't know if this is your only chance to shoot the couple.

You don't know if they're going to be on the floor 50 times. If you've got five couples on the floor, you don't know which one. It's going to be on again versus which one's not going to be on again. So, they have a, an actual photographer that has doesn't or someone isn't a dance ballroom is going to have a big disadvantage versus someone who doesn't even know how to use a camera but knows the industry. So I found, personally, I found, you know, you take someone who knows the industry, or you teach them about the industry first, and then you say, okay, the camera's all set to go. All you need to do is keep them in frame and wait for, you know, some dynamic action and shoot. and you know, you start them off with training wheels and they're not going to use their images.

I, you know, cat or whatever, and you let them shoot and look at the experience. So, I feel like. At least from my perspective, how run the business, you don't need the photography stuff to start. there are one, you know, one of my guys is there to help you through that and you train you what you need to know, understand is the dancing, how, you know, what the comps like.

So, you know, quite a few of my people when they first come to work for me, they're not going to take a picture. Even if they want to take the pictures, they got to sit at the table, learning how the comp runs. Seeing examples of all the images first before they even go out there.

Samantha: Makes sense again,

Ryan: that may be just me, you know, being a stickler for having everything, you know, I don't, I don't want anything bad out there and I want, you know, I know what the expectation is, but, that's really what it takes to do it.

You need to understand your environment, you know, you wouldn't go into a portrait shoot without understanding what your client wants or the location you're at. You would just say, Oh, that's here we go. Let's do it. You know, you you'd want to research your location, say, okay, I love this, but I like this location, like the background, or like, you know, the, you know, you've got the ocean or the trees or the mountains behind you, and you got this one tree that we pose you at, you know, you you'd set up in advance.

It's the same thing here. I go into a ballroom. I know if I want to get something that client wants, ideally, you're going to have the background in there. You know, you're going to have, you're going to know what comp it is. And, you know, it's going to look nice. ideally there'll be people in the audience, but they're going to be blurred out enough that you can just see the couple and the primary focus the image is going to be that couple. Not just the candid of the entire floor. not like they can always happen, but that's the goal. So.

Samantha: Awesome. Awesome

Ryan: I think I over answered that question again,

Samantha: but that was good. That was good. If folks are listening and they've ever thought about becoming a photographer or they kind of want to know the ins and outs, I think that was a great, great answer.

well, thank you, Ryan so much for being a guest on today's episode. If people want to find either more about you or if they want to track down some of their old photos from competitions, how can they do that?

Ryan: Ryan Kenner Everything's there. I've never deleted anything. Don't plan it delete anything. So, everything is still up, even from way back a long time ago, some of it's here, but it's all there and, contact info is there, so

Samantha: awesome.

Ryan: Or just come find us at a comp.

Samantha: Definitely. Well, we will put that information in the description box that goes out with this episode. So hopefully folks can, can check you out.

Ryan: Thank you very much.

Samantha: Thank you again, to Ryan Kenner for being a guest on today's episode, you can find Ryan Kenner photography on Facebook and Instagram at Ryan Kenner Photo. Or you can find his website at As always, I've been your host, Samantha with Love Live Dance. You can find us across social media at Ballroom Chat on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

And you can find all of our previous podcast episodes at If you've not already done, so please do make sure that you are subscribed or following this podcast on your preferred podcast platform, and make sure you give us a review as well. We greatly appreciate it. Thank you again to Ballroom Box for partnering with us for this episode. You can also support the podcast by becoming a patron at As always stay safe, stay positive, and we hope to see you dancing.