Professional Dancer - Tutu - Dance Photographer

Reminder: Give Yourself Grace

Life is looking different for students, parents, teachers, dancers, business owners, i.e. just about everyone right now due to the impacts of COVID-19. I hope that anyone reading this is staying healthy & sane (as well as your family & friends) during all of the happenings as we attempt to navigate what’s going on.







My personal life is pretty normal, I already work from home, I just moved to Colorado & have still been able to explore the mountains and parks in the area, and I honestly don’t have too much human contact on a day to day basis (whether that’s good or bad, I still don’t know haha!). But this is taking a small toll on my business & my emotional well-being, as I know is true for many people. Knowing that I can’t leave for non-necessary things, makes me want to leave even more than normal, you know what I mean?! I think that we are all in a ‘stir crazy’ mood right now & I’ve been trying to think of a good way to address everything I’m dealing with as I know others are too.

I have been seeing a lot of posts about how people are adapting their schedules to incorporate their regular routines into their homes, and although this makes me happy to see people’s motivation I also fear the pressure that it may be putting on others. I wanted to provide my two cents on the matter and give you a few things to keep in mind during this time.

This is an unexpectedly tough time for many.

Below are a few reminders to give yourself grace during all of the unexpected:

1. You are allowed to use this time to take a break, heal your body, and rest

The world is literally telling you to ‘slow down’ right now. You are allowed to accept this new reality & rest. Don’t give up everything, but take a break, read a book, color a picture, put a puzzle together. Do the things that you haven’t had time for in the past because you’ve been so busy running around from one place to the next. You aren’t allowed to go anywhere, so you now have no excuse to not take some downtime for yourself. Don’t feel the pressure from everyone else to push beyond your limits! Remember to give yourself grace.

2. Your body may be changing now that you are out of your routine: that is okay

A dance friend of mine shared this image on her Instagram and it made me think ‘woah, so much yes.’ Whether you’re a dancer, a gym goer, or simply are used to leaving the house more & walking more, you are likely dealing with this struggle. 

Gyms & studios are closed which has changed up a lot of people’s routines. You may be finding yourself adjusting your routines, such as in-home workouts, or ballet barre, but there are still limitations without the usual machines & space to move, jump, etc. Or you may be taking a break or some days lack the motivation to keep up with these sort of adjusted routines (personally dealing with this right now). No matter what the circumstances may be, things are different. Although it is always important to keep your body moving & provide fuel with the right types of foods, expect (and try to accept) that changes may occur. This isn’t to say ‘give everything up because my body can be changing right now’, but is simply a reminder that it may be happening, and to an extent: that is okay & expected given the circumstances. Remember to give yourself grace.

3. Just because the other mom/dancer/neighbor is doing it doesn’t mean you need to too

I have taken no more than 3-5 ballet classes over the last 3 years but seeing everyone posting their in-home ballet zoom/live

classes is leading to pressure for myself to do the same. How crazy is that?! I know that many others are feeling similar things simply due to social media exposure (I even did a poll on my own account and those results are here). You can browse any type of social media account and you will see those who are going above & beyond and posting every last thing. Although this is great for them, and can be seen as motivation at times, it can also lead to pressure (as well as exhaustion on the ‘posters’ part).

You may see that your neighbor has created a school schedule for their son down to the minute, yet you are simply celebrating that you made it to the end of another day. Or your classmate might be posting their time-lapse ballet barre every. single. day, which is leading to anxiety that ‘you aren’t doing enough.’ Comparison is the thief of joy. Remember to Give. Yourself. Grace!

4. You don’t need to open every business guide, work from home solutions, or live class updates that you receive

If you’re exhausted from all of the resources or pressure to come out on the other side of this pandemic as a better *insert whatever here*, remember that these are supposed to be helpful & not stressful. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t open the next one you receive, or possibly set it aside for a different day. Do what feels right for you right now & remember to give yourself grace.



All I can really say on this topic: give yourself grace! I can’t stress it enough. The way that things are progressing isn’t making it sound like things will be easier any time soon. We don’t know how long this could last, and the worst thing we can do is get down on ourselves every day simply due to comparison and the anxiety it is creating. Again, this is not to say that you should give everything up, eat brownies for 3 meals a day, and stop working towards any goal. This is simply to say that there are ways to live that don’t need to be only feeling pressure from those around us. Some days can be relaxed days, and some days can be motivated days, but every day should count towards your well being!


What did you do for yourself today? – Think this at the end of every day & you will realize if you are (or are not) feeding your soul & creating happiness through this crazy time.


Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” ― Elizabeth Edwards

Talk to you soon friends!

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Have a topic you’re interested in learning about?Put your submissions here

Do you want AshD_Photography to come to your hometown & work with your dancer & others at your studio?Contact me

& let’s chat details! 2020 is a big year of travel for me, so once the weather warms up I’d love to come for a visit ❤️

Rochester Minnesota Aspiring Young Dancer

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Dance Session

Instagram has made the interest in professional photo sessions skyrocket! Many more dancers are scheduling new sessions with new photographers, and many photographers are beginning to dabble in dance photography to fit this niche & interest. But, do you know how to best get ready for your first session? Or maybe your 15th! I have realized some quick tips & tricks that have helped me in preparing for my own personal sessions when I was dancing as well as advice I now give to my future clients.
Below are my 5 tips to prepare for your next dance photography session!



Find the right photographer



Research until you have found a photographer that you not only like their work but also feel you will be comfortable spending time with, exploring locations, and you can get on a ‘friend’ level with opposed to just photographer-client name basis. Not every photographer is the “right” one and that is okay! Before you hire someone understand their process, research their work, and know that you will be 110% comfortable spending a couple hours with them. Various personalities blend best with certain individuals, so keep that in mind!
Also, knowledge of the dance world can largely impact the results of a dance session! There are many photographers out there & there are many dance specialized photographers out there, but truthfully there are only a few with adequate knowledge of dance, technique, and the importance of finished lines. Glancing at a photographer’s work will give you a good idea of their abilities in producing both quality images and quality dance images. Pay attention to those details so you will feel confident with the end results but also have a good time throughout!


Carefully choose what you want to wear



Feeling comfortable in what you’re wearing will 100% show through to the final product of your dance session (or any photo session for that matter). If you prefer to wear an old costume because of the way it makes you feel, definitely go for it! If you’d prefer to stick to simple shorts & a shirt, then do it. Don’t feel pressure to wear certain articles of clothing because ‘everyone else is’, but instead wear what you are comfortable & confident in.
If you’re wondering what would look best in front of the camera, reach out to your photographer. They will be able to give you ideas & input and may even have a client closet (look out for AshD_Photography’s client closet coming SOON!) that you can choose articles from to borrow.


Practice your ideal poses & lines



The best way to prepare for anything is practice, practice, practice. As dancers we know this to be true when it comes to the Nutcracker, your spring show, or when preparing for your YAGP competition. This also holds true for photos! If you have found inspiration through a Pinterest board (check out mine here ), or have saved photos on Instagram that you’re drawing inspiration from, practice them before. you. show. up. to. the. session! See what does or doesn’t work best for you & your personal best lines. Just because a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet can do something seemingly perfect in front of the camera doesn’t mean yours will look exactly like hers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice & adapt the pose to fit your beautiful self! This adaptation comes through practicing in front of the mirror, in the studio, or for your friends & family.

Don’t know for sure what accentuates your abilities, technique, & strengths the best? Reach out to a teacher! Your teachers watch you day in and day out and know exactly what will look best on you in front of a camera. They want to see you succeed, so would love for you to ask!


Feel confident & don’t criticize every little detail



I know it’s difficult, trust me! But understand that not every picture is going to turn out: and that is okay! Some days your balance is on, sometimes it is off. Sometimes your feet are sore. Sometimes you won’t like your finger here, or your expression there, but I promise that more images will turn out amazing compared to those that don’t! It is so hard not to criticize ourselves when we see our pictures but look for the good instead of focusing on what you perceive to be the ‘bad.’ Understand that in years to come these pictures will be a moment in time captured that you won’t be able to ever get back. Being on the other side of the dance world, I know this to be true. Even if every picture doesn’t seem ‘perfect’ does not mean that it isn’t a moment that you’ll want to hold on to!


Remember that you’re beautiful & talented!



Keep in mind that you are beautiful & talented & an all-around wonderful human being! Photoshoots can be stressful, but they don’t need to be. They should be a way to build yourself up & realize what you are truly capable of. Find a photographer who will motivate you throughout the session & even consider doing a friends’ session. Having someone there who can be ‘backstage’ cheering you on, and ‘sharing the stage with you’ supporting you is always a perk of doing a session with a good friend!


I’ve probably rambled on long enough, but this is my #1 requested topic to blog about, so figured I’d start off as strong as possible! Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to tune in to future blog posts.
Talk to you soon friends!

Want to receive updates of when blog posts go live?Subscribe here for blog updates

Have a topic you’re interested in learning about?Put your submissions here

Do you want AshD_Photography to come to your hometown & work with your dancer & others at your studio?Contact me

& let’s chat details! 2020 is a big year of travel for me, so once the weather warms up I’d love to come for a visit ❤️


Hello Friends!

Welcome to my blog lovely friends!
With a new year I have decided to start up a new blog!
I thought I’d take a minute to introduce myself before we dive in with the goodies!
My name is Ashley DeWeerdt and I have a strong passion for ballet and dance as a whole. I grew up dancing from the age of 3 and spent a few years after high school pursuing the professional ballet world as well. Although I would not say that company life was for me, I am very grateful for all of my experiences and all that I learned.
I am currently Colorado based – Loveland, CO to be exact, and serving Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder areas, as well as simply the US as I am traveling dance photographer! My life is nomadic which gives me amazing opportunities to work with dancers all over the country!
So, what does this have to do with photography and a blog?
Well, after leaving the dance world I knew that art would forever be an important part of my life, I just needed to figure out how and to what extent. I’ve always been interested in photography (ever since my original pink point-and-shoot!) so decided to see what could come from this pursuit. I dabbled in both portrait and dance photography but realized that I had a lot to offer to the dance photography genre with my knowledge and experience.
What makes me different?
With professional dance experience I can not only provide recommendations of poses that I think will work artistically, but also have the knowledge of proper technique. I have the expertise to provide corrections like you may receive in the studio to better create professional quality dance images. I was a teacher for many years as well, so have practice providing corrections in a way that all ages and all levels can understand and apply where appropriate.
If you ask any of my students, or past photography clients, they will tell you the same thing: I know how to shout: ‘point your feet’, and ‘stretch through your back leg!’ to better your line and ultimately the final product of our session.
What will this blog consist of?
I am hoping to get to posting once a week on this blog to spread ideas and my knowledge of the dance world & photography. Along the way you will learn a little more about me & my experiences, as well as technique, ballet stereotypes, educational material, and see what sessions with AshD_Photography look like. I will showcase special behind the scenes moments from sessions, as well as provide outlines of specific sessions with my clients. There will be a lot of gems coming your way, so be on the lookout!
To find out How To Prepare for a Dance Session head here:
Featured Post!
Talk to you soon friends!

Want to receive updates of when blog posts go live?Subscribe here for blog updates

Have a topic you’re interested in learning about?Put your submissions here

Do you want AshD_Photography to come to your hometown & work with your dancer & others at your studio?Contact me

& let’s chat details! 2020 is a big year of travel for me, so once the weather warms up I’d love to come for a visit ❤️