David Suh Photography

Using Tulle for Dance Portraits

David Suh


5 Minute Read


About two years ago, I photographed Briana, an aspiring model and dancer in Old Town Sacramento and last week I got to photograph her again. 

It was just like meeting a long-time High School or College friend. Briana seemed to have felt the same way as she kept commenting on how young she was at that time and we were both amazed at each other's growth in the last two years.


Dance has been a big part of my life so naturally, I developed a passion for photographing dancers. As a dancer, there's always this joy in learning about someone else's craft in movement and as a photographer, there's nothing cooler than capturing motion in a still photo. It's been the marriage of these two passion that always intrigued me.

Styling with Tulle

For this shoot with Briana, we wanted to showcase two things: a ballerina's movement and the versatility of tulle. Creating portraits of dancers is so exciting because they are so aware of their bodies and I knew Briana was going to be incredible with the concept we had in mind. 

A couple weeks ago, Naomi and I went tulle shopping in Sacramento and when I say tulle shopping, I mean some serious tulle shopping. We got all sorts of colors for the studio and we were absolutely ready to get styling with the 8 new additions.

Tulle is a lightweight fabric that is incredibly versatile. In the past, we've used it to style as makeshift shawls, vintage headpieces, and a full skirt! This time, we wanted to use it to enhance the motion and flow of Briana's movement. We had Briana bring two leotards and her pointe shoes as we were going for simplicity in the outfit to really spotlight Briana's movement.


I shared the vision I had in mind with the team and we got to work. Naomi styled a gentle wrap of tulle around Briana and held onto one end and we were ready. On a count of 3, Briana would execute her movement, Naomi would toss her end of the tulle in the air, and I would capture the moment. As you would assume... we had to try it a few times, but the results were breathtaking. 

Freaking. Amazing. I was like a little giddy child looking at the back of my camera as everything came into place. 

We then moved onto our next look which was equally as stunning but in a different way. Naomi and I took inspiration from my mentor Sue Bryce and decided to wrap the tulle in a turban in a 1920's aesthetic. And once we had Briana in front of the light green backdrop in one of our studio dresses with the turban - we just knew it was going to be special. 


Leave a Comment