4 Benefits in Using a Marley Floor for Dance Portraits

What is a Marley Dance Floor?

“While Marley is a registered trademark, in dance it is any roll-out vinyl floor.”

So…. simply its vinyl flooring, which can come in multiple colors. 

The great news for photographers is you can use this material for portraits, which gives you a robust material for your subject to stand on. 

Here I’m going to cover the 4 Benefits for using a Marley floor for dance portraits

    1. Flat and Smooth 
    2. Reflective
    3. Easy to Clean
    4. Compact

Using white Marley Flooring is especially useful if you are
photographing dance portraits on a white background.

I’m going to cover the 4 benefits that are specifically useful when photographing with a white background. 

1. Flat and Smooth

This is one of the main reasons to use a Marley floor. 
setup marley floor
If you just photograph dance portraits with a full length white cotton or muslin background, the problems that you may run into  are:

    • Moves if not taped down tight
    • Hard to clean when dirty
    • Difficult to stay flat when a dancer is moving around

Having a white Marley floor, gives you a solid floor that makes all the above reasons, go away

When posing dancers or when they are doing any kind of leaps or jumps, you want to make sure they don’t slip and they have a sturdy foundation.

Make note, that you will need to tape the floor down, so you have a smooth flat surface after you unroll the flooring.

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2. Reflective

When photographing on a white background you don’t want your subject to look like they are floating in the images. 
dancer on marley floor
Having a white Marley floor gives a little reflection of the subject so that it looks like they are standing on a floor. 

This can give your image a better look and it prevents your eyes from being deceived. 

3. Easy to Clean

This is another huge benefit of having a white Marley.

If your photographing dance studio portraits, you will be taking pictures of a lot of dancers. 

They will have either tap, jazz, ballet, or pointe shoes that will all be dirty on the bottom, from dancing. 

More traffic you have on your background the dirtier it will get

cleaning marley floor

Marley flooring will get scuffed up and dirty, but the pro to using this flooring is the ability to quickly clean.

I have found that using a magic eraser and a mop broom, helps clean the floor either after each photo session or as needed.

Now, I’m not saying you have to constantly clean the floor, but when comparing to a cloth background this is WAY easier.

4. Compact

Now Marley flooring isn’t something you can bunch together and put in a bag for transport, as with a cotton or muslin background, but it does roll up nicely and compact.

marley floor roll

Depending on the length of flooring you purchase, it will come in a container that you can reuse for transport. 

Once you are done with the photoshoot all you have to do is roll the floor back up and slide in the container. 

Most marley floors, that I have found, are sold with a max width of 10 feet. 

The benefits of the Marley floor rolling up is you don’t have to mess with building your floor, as with tiled vinyl planks.

When you purchase Marley floor, it will come with two sides, a white and a black surface.

Just unroll the floor to the desired color and then tape down with either duct tape or gaffer tape

dancer on marley floor

Using a white Marley floor with a white background will make your images pop and create a better experience for the dancer, along with easy to clean, reflective, compact, and smooth

Since I started using this flooring, it has made the whole process of photographing dance studios a lot easier along with better quality images. 

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If you enjoyed this article or have other benefits for using Marley flooring for portraits leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!
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About the Author

Aaron creates content that encourages photographers to chase their passions and grow there business through dance photography. Aaron hopes to spread his story and be an inspiration to others who want to change their lives.