Fitness Photography Prep with Blythe Crady Photography
There are many reasons to book a fitness photoshoot! Some people simply want to document their progress! Others come to me to help kickstart their fitness modeling careers. Some come to me just before fitness and weightlifting competitions to document their physique before the big day. Some are nutrition or personal training experts and need portraits to accompany websites and books. Some want to surprise their significant others with great photos or an album. Some want to be their own motivational posters and inspire others. Whatever your reason always remember, there is a difference between vanity and being proud of accomplishing your goals!! It’s completely ok to be proud of your accomplishments! You have put in countless hours of hard work, and made life changing decisions to be the best you possible. Why not artistically document this period of your life with a truly custom and professional fitness session?
I am by no means a fitness expert! I’m currently in top dad bod shape! But I am a well versed photographer and I can definitely help this process flow smoothly and stress free! Prepping for a fitness photoshoot can feel like a daunting task the first time you do it, so I have put together this list of commonly asked questions and tips to help with your prep!
Dieting and Workouts
It is no secret that you want your body to look it’s best for the day of the photoshoot. Again I’m no expert! lol I often hear words thrown around like; water loading & depletion, intermittent fasting, calorie manipulation, density training, macronutrients. . The whole time I smile and nod while I’m thinking about shutter speed, ISO, aperture, inverse square law of light, and posing lol. But I know there are many 3 week and 7 day diet and exercise routines that you can google if this is something you feel the need to do! This mainly applies to my competitors (who typically already know more than they want to about the subject) and my fitness models who need to look a specific way. I’m currently speaking with a couple fitness gurus to get their suggestions on the best pre-shoot routines. I’ll post links or tips regarding this shortly.
Misc. Body Prep
- Tanning: If you have a fair complexion, tanning is great way to add some dynamic contrast to your photos. I use strobes with my fitness work. While this is a great way to completely control my environment and add drama to a portrait, it can also wash out some of the contrast on a client with fair complexion. It is the contrast between the valleys and ridges (lights and shadows) of your body that really make your hard work evident in a photograph! One of the easiest ways to obtain this contrast is to spray tan. It’s very fast, reasonably priced, and can have great effect. It is typically best to get the spray done a day or two before your shoot. While tanning naturally can also produce great results. It takes numerous sessions to achieve an even coat. Long periods in direct sun or tanning beds is not recommended in the days leading to your session. This may cause excessive redness, and splotchy areas that may take a ton of work in post production to correct.
- Body Hair: Simply put, shave it! lol This applies to both men and women. You will be hard pressed to find fitness photos that include body hair. This is because the hair can mask muscle definition, and can look a bit untidy at times. So men, bust out that razor and go to work! It is best to shave the day before your shoot, or at the very latest the night before. Razor burn and irritation can occur if you shave just prior to your session. Waxing is a better long term solution but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, especially for large areas of hair like a chest. Think 40 Year Old Virgin! These tips mostly apply to my modeling and competition clients. If you are coming in for a fitness session just for you and are content with your body hair, by all means, feel free to keep it! As for facial hair, clean shaven is a classic look you can’t go wrong with. If you decide to keep some stubble or facial hair, just make sure it nice and tidy. (unless you are going for that raw caveman look!) The same applies to nose hair, and eyebrows! I know I shouldn’t have to mention it, but it’s the littlest things that tend to get overlooked. All those little things could add up to hours of post production work, and extra cost on the back end of the shoot.
- Hair & Make-up: For males this is pretty straight forward, just ensure that you are trimmed up nicely. Pay extra attention to the hair on the back of our neck. If your hair is long enough to style, then a quality wax is great to keep a natural look in place. If you need a bit more staying power then a good styling gel can be used. Just ensure that it doesn’t flake, and it does the job of keeping your hair in place. Unfortunately my female clients may have a bit more work to get shoot ready. One of the easiest ways to go about it is to let us do your hair and makeup ourselves! I work with several talented local Hair & Make-up Artists. If you choose this option simply come in as a blank canvas and get the full treatment! Pricing may vary depending on what is required. The other option is to do it yourself! Some planning needs to be in place before you begin creating your look. The way you style yourself will influence the feel of the finished product, so ensure that you are keeping your end goal in mind. If you’re going for a fierce gritty look then perfectly styled hair and glamorous makeup might not be a good fit, and visa versa. All of these details will be worked out in our pre shoot consultation!
Clothing | Accessories | Props
Clothing is another choice that will greatly affect your final product. In a typical 1 hour session we can fit in one wardrobe change. Any more than that and we would be taking away too much time from the shoot itself. I would suggest that if you have numerous looks you may want to add additional time to your shoot. Often times if we are shooting for a magazine, the publication will provide all the wardrobe, down to the smallest detail. If this is the case just let me know ahead of time so we can plan accordingly! For shoots that are not dictated by a publication, the choice is yours! Typically, nice workout gear is the standard, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box! I’m not saying show up in a cheetah print loin cloth. . . well maybe I am. . If that’s your thing we will rock it! haha But we can discuss wardrobe after we dial in our concept a bit!
You are free to bring your own props. My only request is that you let me know what you are bringing before hand! This will help me build a game plan on how best to incorporate them! Many times my fitness clients will bring in a set of dumbells or power bands (I think that’s what they are called?). They may be used as props, but more importantly they can be used to get a quick pump in between shots! This gets the blood flowing and lets your muscles know it’s go time, which looks great for photo purposes.
I typically offer 3 types of fitness sessions.
- Studio: These are done in my studio obviously 🙂 These types of sessions really focus on you! They are typically done with a plain backdrop for minimal distractions. Some consider these to be more artistic in nature. By simply shaping my light on your body we can create artwork that speaks for itself, and lets your physique be the star of the show! This is also a great location for product and clothing modeling, or catalog type work. The studio also offers more privacy if you need it! (examples coming soon)
- Gym: I have partnered with a great local gym! It looks great on camera and has a ton of diversity! These are more action styled shots. This gym is so great that I can also pull off some studio type shots while we are there. This offers a wide variety of shots we can obtain from one location! (examples coming soon)
- On Location: The sky is the limit with these sessions! I essentially bring my studio outside and we shoot at a location of your choice! Some popular choices are the beach, industrial areas (I’m always on the hunt for abandoned factories and similar settings), forest etc. As long as we have permission, I’m willing to shoot anywhere! Locations outside of Jacksonville/Swansboro may incur a travel fee depending on how far they are. These sessions are only limited by our own imaginations! (examples coming soon)
A combination of any of these sessions is also possible, but extra time will be needed for the session. For example we could start out in my studio and then drive up the road to finish off the session in a gym setting!
Many people come into the consultation knowing what type of setting they want, but for those on the fence, I suggest doing a quick google search for fitness photography (Or create a Pintrest board with your favorite shots). While sorting through images, just keep in mind what your end goal is, It could be to drive more people to your website, sell certain products or apparel, attract new customers for personal training, or simply highlighting your physique. Once you have a decent idea of which shots you love the best feel free to send them to me via email, phone, or Facebook. This will help us decide on a location, and help me design lighting and posing scenarios beforehand! The more we prep the better the final results will be!
HAVE FUN!! This doesn’t need to be a high pressure/stress situation. Let me work out all the details! You just need to show up ready to shoot! The more relaxed and at ease you are the better the final products will be! If you have a favorite genre of music let me know we will put it on!
More to come! **under construction**
The biggest tip I have is to have fun!!