Gym Fitness Photoshoot with
NPC Bikini Competitor Vanessa Viera
I decided to write about this photoshoot because I’ve gotten very efficient with my gym shoots. I have a handful of gyms I shoot at and know each one pretty well. It helps to scope out the area and have an idea of places that make for great shots. I bring a total of 3 lights (2 that run on battery and 1 plugged in). Since one needs a plug then that limits my areas to places that have outlets if I need that third light. I am comfortable with a 90 minute total time line to get all my shots in (includes outfit changes, moving locations etc). I tell the client to bring 3 outfits. If you need info on what types of outfits to bring then take a look at my blog on Photoshoot Prep. The last shots are often the best shots so leave their favorite and best outfit for the last set because that’s often when the client is most comfortable.
I try not to do the exact same poses for every client but I do have my “go to” poses (cable push down, free weights, bench). If I have time at the end, I’ll often do a portrait style session. It’s still gym style without being on a machine or gym background. For the gals, it’s about strength and femininity (I’m cool with a little badass attitude as well). Strong stances, facial emotions, and angles yet soft hands, relaxed eyes, and pointed toes. I will minimally edit or no edit my gym sessions unless clients request full editing.
Most importantly, make the session fun! NPC Bikini Competitor Vanessa Viera and I both have a passion for bodybuilding and fitness. During shoots we simply share stories about the competition prep process laughing about food plans, cardio and workouts. Prepping your body for a show or photoshoot is hard work. All of it culminates into that exact moment in time when it finally comes together and gets captured in the forever image of what is the present moment. That person as they are right now. For me, as the photographer, it’s such a privilege.
My tips for gym shoots:
1) Body oil is good but don’t over oil (I’ve made those mistakes. Really shiny bodies!).
2) Bring at least 1 strobe. Natural light is awful in gyms because you really need strong light source for the muscle definition. Plus the overhead gym lights create some funky coloring.
3) Gyms are not safe places. Clients must sign waivers. Protect yourself and your client.
4) Best outfit for last.
5) Don’t be afraid to experiment with colored gels and styling.
6) I will have clients pump up in the weight room before shooting to help them loosen up, get muscles engaged and ready for gym fitness posing.