How I Shoot: @darian_volkova’s Dancers

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. For more photos and videos of Darian Volkova’s dancers, browse the #soulinfeet hashtag and follow @darian_volkova on Instagram. For more great photos and videos of ballet dancers, follow @ballerinaproject_, balletzaida and @balletbeautiful on Instagram.

"Ballet is a lightness and heaviness. Hard work in the classroom and weightless beauty on stage."

These are the words of Russian Instagrammer Darian Volkova (@darian_volkova), a dancer based in St. Petersburg who regularly takes photos and videos of her ballet friends on Instagram. “Dance has always been a part of me. More than anything because of its association with movement. I like to take pictures of dancing people: they are elegant and make striking lines.”

Darian is part of a growing community of dancers who want to share their unique and extraordinary profession with a wider audience. She started her #soulinfeet series six months ago, giving a rare insight into the life of a ballerina through video clips of rehearsals, classroom warm ups and backstage. Instagrammers such as the artist JR (@jr) have also explored the world of ballet and how to shoot dancers on Instagram through his collaboration with the New York City Ballet.

Want to learn more about how to shoot dancers on Instagram? Here are Darian’s tips:


"On Instagram I shoot with an iPhone 4S, but I love to shoot with my film camera Yashica Mat-124G, often using Ilford film.”

Vantage Point

"My ballet friends have become accustomed to posing for my Instagram shots. During rehearsal, when a dancer moves I may ask them to stay in a certain position. The human body is like clay: you can mould it. And the body of a ballerina is super soft, like plastic clay, which can be very beautiful.

"Ballet poses can look completely different depending on your point of view. If you ask a ballerina to stand in an arabesque and walk around her, providing she doesn’t move, you will get different shots and angles. Just like the little spinning ballerina in the music box. The dancer’s body creates lines which intersect and sometimes it looks open and sometimes it looks closed.

"I shoot in ballet halls. Often there are large rooms with large windows and nothing to interrupt your view—lots of natural light for the dancer’s body to catch."


"Ballerinas often like to pose for the camera. So the perfect recipe for those who want to take photos and videos of ballet dancers is simple: get the ballerina and ask her to move.

"In ballet, there is often an important special moment in the middle of a move. If you are interested in ballet, pay close attention and speak to the dancers so you know when to push the shutter."


"I like to use VSCO (iOS and Android) filters. I use the same exposure, brush and small edits for some moments on Snapseed also (Apple/Android).”



Exploring Harbin, China’s Spectacular Ice Sculpture Festival (哈尔滨国际冰雪节)

To view more photos and videos of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival as it unfolds over the next month, visit the 冰雪大世界 | Ice & Snow World and 太阳岛 | Sun Island location pages.

Each winter, thousands flock to frigid Northeast China for the spectacular Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (哈尔滨国际冰雪节).

The festival officially began on January 5 and lasts for one month, but construction on the massive snow and ice sculptures started months ago. The structures—which range in form from animals to full-scale buildings—are just as impressive after dark as they are during the day thanks to colorful lighting embedded within the ice.

Festival spectators face temperatures as low as -35º Celsius (-31º Fahrenheit), but people from around world can explore the striking sculptures through photos and videos shared to Instagram.