That’s a GREAT question and I’m so glad you asked! We are just about to begin our second annual HOP Ambassador search and there have been so many questions that I hope to answer for you here.
The ideal HOP (Heather O’Steen Photography) team member is a dancer who is comfortable in front of the camera, has an awareness of proper dance technique, is friendly and outgoing, is open to new ideas, and wants to make positive changes in the dance community. Representing the HOP brand online and in person, embracing our mission of “Community Over Competition,” and supporting your fellow teammates are all part of the #hopambassador job. You must have an established Instagram account, a private and parent run account is okay. Being a part of the HOP family means you belong to an exclusive group of dancers representing many different dance studios from several surrounding states. Making new friends, representing your dance studio, and cheering your teammates on is all part of the fun. Last year we had 25 different dance studios represented on our team! You can see more about last year’s ambassador team along with a few testimonials by clicking here for the HOP Ambassador page on my website.
As part of the HOP Dance Ambassador Team, you will earn invitations to join group photo events, styled shoots, and even pop-up opportunities to model for dance wear brands and more. Test runs for new photo shoot ideas and invitations to assist HOP at speciality session events are all part of the fun. You will receive a one on one photo session starring YOU at your exclusive Spotlight Session which includes all the best high-resolution images, many outfit changes including dance wear as well as street wear at a mutually agreed upon location. You will have the opportunity to express yourself as a dancer outside of your dance studio and stretch your dance imagination! Your home dance studio will be given permission to display your dance photos in their studio, as well as use your watermarked photos to use on their own website and marketing materials. You will gain priority access to the HOP calendar to book your dance portrait sessions.
When you are a HOP ambassador, you will receive a personalized discount code to share with your friends and followers to work with HOP. The dancer who brings in the most booked photo sessions to HOP throughout the year earns the title of “HOP Ambassador of the Year” and receives a $200 Visa gift card. All ambassadors will have their photo and bio listed on the HOP website, and you will be featured on HOP’s instagram after your spotlight session. Your photos may even be used on HOP web pages, newsletter e-mails, marketing, online promotions and more! You will receive professional and creative dance photos for personal use, for auditions, and for growing your own social media accounts. You will also receive awesome HOP merch and other items that will help make your job fun and easy!
Last year’s 2021 HOP Ambassador Team enjoyed a Meet & Greet Kick Off Party, a Patriotic Bodywrappers event, modeling for Fix Dance wear, a Sunset Silhouette pop-up session, a Black Light Glow Paint event, a Fall Fire Colors poolside event, and a Holiday HOP party just to name a few! This year you will EARN your invitation to join the photo events by actively engaging on social media and following the team guidelines.
Being a HOP Ambassador is super fun, but there is some work involved. If you are not social media savvy, are not willing or able to follow the posting guidelines, do not have an established social media account (a private and parent run account is okay!), do not have a solid dance technique foundation, or do not respond to emails in a timely manner, this is probably not the best fit for you. Just like being on a dance or sports team, there is a commitment involved. You will be required to engage with and share HOP’s Instagram and social media posts; post your own HOP dance photos at least twice a month, and continually build up your fellow teammates online and in person. The dance world is a very competitive place, and #HOPdancers enjoy bringing a sense of community and belonging to the performing arts world, especially on social media. Your term will run for one full year, ending when applications open for the 2023 team. You must live in the Baltimore, MD area or be willing to drive to the area for photoshoots. HOP is located in Harford County, MD. Dancers age 6-18 are welcome to apply. Dancers under the age of 8 are only accepted if they have worked with HOP in the past or are exceptional dancers that demonstrate the maturity capable of the commitment required.
Dancers and clients who have worked successfully with HOP in the past have a better chance at being selected to join the team. We recommend booking a dance session with us if you have a desire to join the team at some point in the future. However, we are always on the search for new dancers of all ability levels.
What you get out of being on the team largely depends on what you put into it. If you are following all the requirements, following suggested style guides, putting time, thought and effort into your photoshoots, as well as your social media involvement – then your photos are going to be highlighted and shared more often than other ambassadors who aren’t doing as much. To have a great ambassadorship program is a two way street and can be a great win-win for everyone involved! If you aren’t a team player, you don’t show up to invited events, don’t post your photos or generally aren’t involved with the team on social media, you will not be invited back on the team. HOP is giving so much to you as an ambassador and you have to give back as well. Be sure you are up for being a team player before you decide to apply.
There is not a fee to apply to be a HOP Ambassador. However, when you are invited to be a part of the team, you are required to book at least one paid Spotlight Session during the spring/summer of your 2022 term. A Spotlight Session requires booking The Deluxe Portrait Package which includes: a 60-90 minute photo session, an exclusive Dance Portrait Session Style Guide, a shareable online Pinterest style digital gallery, all high resolution and web-sized digital images and a print release. You will receive your Spotlight Session at $50 off the normal price. Click here to see The Collections and pricing offered by HOP. Once you receive an invitation to join the team, you will be required to sign a contract, a model release and place a $100 deposit towards your Spotlight Session.
HOP Ambassadors can earn credits toward their Spotlight Session by referring clients to HOP with your discount code. Once you have referred five booked dance sessions, your Spotlight Session is 50% off. When you refer 10 booked dance sessions, your Spotlight Session is free!
Being a HOP ambassador comes with long term benefits as well. Once you complete three consecutive years as an ambassador, you will achieve Diamond Ambassador status, and all future photo sessions of any kind with HOP will earn a 10% discount. Once you complete five consecutive years as an ambassador you will achieve Forever Ambassador status and will earn a 20% forever discount with HOP.
In the true spirit of #communityovercompetition, we welcome and encourage you to work with other photographers! However, we require that you only commit to being an ambassador to one photographer. You are welcome and encouraged to be an ambassador for clothing brands, dance wear brands and more!
Applications will be opening VERY SOON during the month of February! Be sure to sign up for my VIP email list so that you can stay in the know with all the latest information and events HOP has to offer, including when applications are open. You will need to have a dance photo that highlights your strength as a dancer as well as a short video of you dancing ready to post on Instagram as part of the application process.
The 2022 HOP Ambassador Team will be much more exclusive this year, with a smaller team. I know you are all going to make this the most difficult decision ever. I wish I could accept each and every one of you to the team! New team members will be announced during the month of March. I can’t wait to create powerful and unique photographs that capture the grace, strength and soul of you as a dancer!
You may also be interested in this blog post: Three Easy Tips to Photograph Dancers