How to Prepare for a Fitness Photoshoot

If you have worked on building a fabulous body, it’s only fair that you capture those results for all time. And what better way to flaunt it than to capture it with a photoshoot that does justice to your efforts.
Fitness Photography is an art – unlike typical fashion photography, it delves deep into capturing nuances of the physique while making it look as glamorous or hardcore as you choose.

Pushkaraj Shirke pioneered commercial fitness photography in India and has shot commercials, fitness folios, ads and magazine covers across 10 years now. He has worked with professional fitness models as well as regular individuals who just want to commemorate their fitness journey. Here are a few tips from him, to make sure you get the best out of your fitness shoot:

Consult & Book a Shoot Date

This is step number 1. Call your photographer and discuss what you want and what would be most suited for you. Use their experience to your advantage. Book a shoot date so that you are committed to being in the best shape possible by that time. unlike fashion shoots, fitness shoots require a certain amount of physical prep time to get into condition. Your nutritionist/coach/trainer will be able to tell you how much time you might need to get into perfect shoot shape. If not, a good fitness photographer who is also qualified as a nutritionist/coach is easily able to guage the timeline. If you’re a competing athlete, you know it well yourself.
PS: If you are a woman, avoid choosing a date +5 & -5 of your menstural cycle date as you will be retaining water and look puffy on camera.
Matter in point is, LOCK A WELL PLANNED DATE and make the advance payment to make sure you stay committed to the goal and don’t waver off.

Reference & Mood Board

Build a mood board of images you like and want to look like. Pro Hack: Scour through the internet to find models that have a similar built to you and images of them that you like. Look and feel, make up and hair and costuming that works for them, will usually work for you.
Once you have the base idea, you can always improvise from there.
A mood board will also help you have a better understanding of what to expect from the shoot – and also to cross check if your budget is in line with your expectations.
You can also pick images from your chosen photographers showreel itself – since you’re paying for an artist you love, you might as well make the most of it by choosing they style they are best at.

Pick Costumes and Props

Plan your wardrobe in advance. Ideally, pick costumes and props from your mood board or closest to it. For fitness shoots, there are a few things that always work – leggings, shorts, ripped tees, bulky earphones, gloves(mma, gym, boxing), resistance bands, tracks, cut up shorts, cut up denims, tank tops, sports bras, capris, heels/converse/sneakers and lifting chalk.
As a basic rule – dark colors look good for artistic shots, bright, psstel colors look good for commercial shots.

Choose Make up and Hair Artist

Most fitness shoots can do well with just baby oil, hair gel and lifting chalk, but you can also up the ante. A good make and hair artist can make a huge difference to how you look – especially in the unretouched images (which are a lot). So it adds a huge bang to your buck. Especially for women, getting the hair done is a professional effort and its highly recommended that you in vest in a MUA&H artist.

Final Shoot Prep

In the week leading up to your shoot:
Plan your water cut if needed.
Avoid injurious loads in training.
Don’t workout the day prior to the shoot.
Tan/wax 2 days in advance atleast – you dont want blotchy skin on shoot day.
Day prior to the shoot and on shoot day, avoid tight clothing that will leave marks on your skin.
Do your beauty routines daily – especially at night, Clease, tone, mositurize.
Cut your nails and manicure and pedicure them.
Get enough sleep.
Dont drink or party 2 days prior to shoot.
Don’t eat like a junkie.
Avoid puffiness and water retention. Use a diuretic only in emergencies.

On Shoot Day

Get to the shoot on time.
Keep your bag well packed in advance to avoid last minute stress.
Stress can induce water retention, so be careful.
Get comfy on set and with the photographer – have a casual discussion, relax, de stress.

Once the lights go on, and the trial shots are done, you will automatically be comfortable with a good photographer, even if you’re not a professional model. It’s a huge part of a photographers job to direct you, so dont stress about it. Leave that job to the professional.

Midshoot, its ok to ask to review your images to see where you’re heading and what’s working for you. But dont do it so often that you waste more time on reviewing than shooting. Optimize the shoot time and trust your photographers judgement enough to make you look your best.

Post Shoot

Review the images and choose your favourites for processing.
Don’t nag the photographer to hurry up your images – or you will get a half baked job. It’s an art, it takes time. Decide a deadline and stick by it.
Feel free to share BTS shots, images with credit and a candid testimonialon your social media/circles. Credit the photographer whenever you can with the images. It makes a huge difference.
Everybody loves genuine appreciation and credit, especially artists.
It makes them want to work with you more often and will often reciprocate your goodwill with some of their own – by referring you for a commercial shoot, sponsorship or by giving you some extra edits maybe.

Remember, at the end of the day, every project is based on human interactions. Be good, do good, get good.

That’s all folks.

Hope this was Helpful to you. Looking forward to your Fitness Shoot images soon.


Published by pushkrajshirke

Advertising and Media Professional. Film Director and Photographer. Fitness, Nutrition and Strength Training Professional. BJJ and MMA enthusiast. Krav Maga coach. Critical thinker.

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