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How to become a Pole Dance Instructor in Australia

How to become a Pole Dance Instructor in Australia

This post is for those of you who've been doing pole for a while and feel like part of the family at your pole studio. It's for all the polers who are proud of the progress they have made, and want to help other people achieve that same feeling of success. This is...

PoleSphere Review

PoleSphere Review

2020 has been a strange year. The world has changed, and the way we train has changed with it. Without access to pole studios, many polers rushed to buy home poles, only to find themselves at a loss for what and how to train. Luckily, there are a number of online pole...

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Welcome to the Australian Pole Directory! I can't tell you how excited I am that you're here! This website was my #isoproject, my way to be connected to the pole industry while we were all effectively confined to our homes, as well as being my way to help support and...

How to choose a pole for home use

How to choose a pole for home use

It's an exciting day for you - you've decided to buy a pole for home! You've started shopping around, and you've realised that it's not as straightforward as "just buying a pole". After a quick google search, you're overwhelmed, asking yourself:  Should I buy a pole...

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

UPDATE 22/06/2020: X-Pole Australia has received their shipment, approximately 1 month later than expected. They are in the process of preparing the orders to be sent out, and have reminded people who are waiting on their deliveries that it can take 7-10 days from...

An Interview with Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography

by | Jun 12, 2020 | Pole Services | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, while I was still in the process of preparing the Australian Pole Directory for launch, I started chatting online to Nikki McLennan of Lioness Photography. We made a connection, and decided to have a chat – we’ve both been around the block a few times in the pole world – and I thought her story was worth sharing!

Hi Nikki, thank you so much for being here. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?

I love nothing more than celebrating women’s beauty and fostering a sense of self love through stunning fine art portraits. I live and breathe photography, am obsessed with it and have been taking photos for over 30 years – it was the spring of 1988 when I picked up a camera for the first time. Nevermind that I was 14 years old, photographing  my teenage friends bikinis at the beach in the morning before school on the NSW North Coast.

Leaving the sunny North Coast at 18,  I moved to Sydney to study Arts/Law at Sydney University and absolutely adored learning about art history, but not at all law. After graduating and while working for a year in a corporate media company I went to an art exhibition at the National Art School in Darlinghurst.  This was eye opening. I realised I could study photography with all female teachers, so I put everything into my portfolio and pitched to be accepted into that very same school. I was delighted when I was accepted!

This was 20 years ago when film & darkrooms were all we used. 

My final work was influenced by Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman and was all about self portraits and photographing my young friends, in our op-shop finds and knickers.

My first job after art school was with Mens Gallery, photographing their dancers for posters and dancing dollars. Working here, I met Bobbi (of Bobbi’s Pole Studio) and my mind was blown. I had never seen anything like her strength, performance, costumes and pole tricks before. I loved photographing her.

From then I was lucky enough to assist Richard Arthur, a top Penthouse Magazine photographer. This meant lots of trips to the Gold Coast and plenty more strip clubs! 

Back in Sydney, I started photographing pole dancers in my first studio, Incubator in Surry Hills.

A shot taken at Incubator in Surry Hills

Oh my goodness, what an amazing and COLOURFUL start to your photography career! Have you been connected with pole dance and photographing pole dancers throughout your entire career?

Pole dancing has always been a way for me to stay fit, have huge amounts of fun and earn great money while studying to buy camera gear, but it came back into my life after having a son and wanting to get my groove back. I needed to feel sexy again after such a monumental life event! Enter Sydney Pole, and the incredible community of women, staff and instructors. I have been photographing their instructors, students and showcases ever since.

Is that how you started Lioness Photography?

I started Lioness Photography as a sister brand to Lion & Cub Photography (family portraits, weddings, personal branding) 6 years ago.

The brands are aligned in many ways – I photograph maternity with a sensuality and similar lighting as I do fine art nudes with plenty of skin and a focus on shapes, curves and lines. Similarly, the bridal lingerie shoots are a great way to get to know a bride before photographing their wedding, and my hotel couples sessions are popular as an engagement shoot.

A personal branding shoot with Lion & Cub can empower a woman to present her brand story to show her true essence and personality in the same way that a boudoir session can show a woman how beautiful she is through another person’s eyes. And now quite a few pole dancers I know are having their first babies!! My next shoot is with Bailey Hart & Flynn!

Oh how lovely! It must be nice when your two worlds combine like that! 

So, in terms of your pole photography business, Lioness Photography, do you mostly shoot on location at pole studios? Or do you have a space you work from?

Lioness shoots at Tortuga Studios in St Peters, Sydney, which is a unique artist run initiative in a warehouse with incredible light. It’s also where my competition grade brass pole is. 

I love taking portraits in and around the warehouse along with pole shots with spectacular, dramatic lighting. Being a pole dancer myself really helps with creating an atmosphere of trust and care, and because I know the sport and talk the talk, I am able to make suggestions for poses, moves, resting poses and serious strutting.

If I were to book a session with you, what would that process look like?

So much planning goes into my sessions. I typically start with a survey, followed by a phone or zoom consultation. Together, we discuss what to wear, lingerie styles, art history themes, pinterest boards, and referencing the world’s best photographers. The entire process is collaborative and ensures a unique experience for each session. 

I also have a checklist of how to prepare for your shoot  – manicures, stockings, suspenders, and for pole students – a list of moves that you want photographed, remembering gripping aids or shaving cream and bringing a playlist of music that inspires you to lose yourself in dance!

Ooh, on that note, what would be your best tip or tips for a pole dancer preparing for her (or his) first pole photoshoot?

Firstly, aim for 3-5 moves that you want documented. Is there a new move you have mastered after months of training? Consider sexy floorwork poses, how you start and finish a routine, along with using a chair as well as the pole. 

Find at least 5 images you connect with and share them with me. Look on Pinterest, Instagram, google your favourite models, lingerie brands.

Think about whether you like dark, moody portraits with lots of shadow and dark backgrounds or whether you prefer your whole body to be well lit and in focus on a white background. 

You want to be comfortable on your shoot, so bring music, and a friend is welcome for moral support and to spot you.

Pick out three outfits and several pairs of heels. Bring accessories too! Bodysuits look amazing, as do crop tops, sweaters, capes, flowing fabric, long socks – consider one outfit for posing against the pole, and others for dancing. It’s easy to add a necklace or choker or wig or sunglasses!

Have fun and enjoy the process of planning and remember we do that together. It builds excitement and also helps the shoot to run smoothly when you have structure and are clear on your ultimate priorities.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

My latest work is hotel shoots for couples which can be a  romantic declaration of love or a giant dress up party with your best friend! Using natural light, crisp white sheets and enormous beds, the look can be high fashion to fine art nude. 

____________________________________________________________________________

A shoot experience with Lioness Photography is a wonderful mood booster and a great way to celebrate coming together after so much time apart! To celebrate the launch of Australian Pole Directory, and the slow steps back out of #isolife, Lioness in conjunction with Australian Pole Directory is running a competition through the month of July You could win a free session with a print enlargement and a digital file of the image! Total prize value is $350. 

To enter, you need to like @poledirectory and @lionessphotographer on instagram, then head to Lioness Photography’s listing and using the contact form tell Nikki why you would like to win a pole or boudoir session with Lioness Photography*.

To see more of Nikki’s pole and boudoir portfolio, head to her website and show her some love.

*Lioness Photography is based in Sydney, so the shoot will take place in Sydney. Travel expenses are not included and will be at the winners expense. Prize is not-transferable or redeemable for cash.

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Stargazer Studios
69 Holbeche Road, Arndell Park , Blacktown, New South Wales 2148, Australia
How to become a Pole Dance Instructor in Australia

How to become a Pole Dance Instructor in Australia

This post is for those of you who've been doing pole for a while and feel like part of the family at your pole studio. It's for all the polers who are proud of the progress they have made, and want to help other people achieve that same feeling of success. This is...

PoleSphere Review

PoleSphere Review

2020 has been a strange year. The world has changed, and the way we train has changed with it. Without access to pole studios, many polers rushed to buy home poles, only to find themselves at a loss for what and how to train. Luckily, there are a number of online pole...

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Share the love and support your home studio or fave pole brand

Welcome to the Australian Pole Directory! I can't tell you how excited I am that you're here! This website was my #isoproject, my way to be connected to the pole industry while we were all effectively confined to our homes, as well as being my way to help support and...

How to choose a pole for home use

How to choose a pole for home use

It's an exciting day for you - you've decided to buy a pole for home! You've started shopping around, and you've realised that it's not as straightforward as "just buying a pole". After a quick google search, you're overwhelmed, asking yourself:  Should I buy a pole...

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

BREAKING NEWS: X-Pole Australia shipping/delivery delays.

UPDATE 22/06/2020: X-Pole Australia has received their shipment, approximately 1 month later than expected. They are in the process of preparing the orders to be sent out, and have reminded people who are waiting on their deliveries that it can take 7-10 days from...

Sara-May Monaghan

Sara-May Monaghan

Australian Pole Directory Founder

Sara-May is passionate about pole. She did her first pole class at Bobbi’s in 2006. 

After repatriating to Australian in late 2019, she struggled to find the right studio, her favourite polewear brands and the other poling resources she needed. As a result of this, the Australian Pole Directory was born.

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