As you flip through this issue of Inside Fitness magazine, you’ll see many people on the pages in workout features and editorial spreads. Maybe at some point you have thought about giving it a shot and trying to land yourself a spot in a fitness magazine. Many people have the perception that you need to be a professional model to even be considered. The truth is that many of the people you see in fitness magazines are just like you. They have regular jobs, some in the fitness industry, but a vast majority in all other fields of work. From nurses to firefighters, to lawyers and doctors, we have had people from all walks of life step in front of the lens and land successful editorial features. With that said, if this is something on your bucket list, then keep reading as I will share some tips for a successful fitness photoshoot. 

Photographer Research 

The first, and probably most important, tip to a successful photoshoot is working with the right photographer for what you want to accomplish. In today’s day and age of relatively low entrance to market for photographers, there is a lot to chose from. 

Just like in any industry, some will be amazing and others will not produce the results you are looking for. So how do you select the photographer that that is right for you? 

Your starting point should be flipping through your favorite fitness publication (and I’m sure it’s Inside Fitness) and making notes about which photographers consistently appear in the pages of that magazine. Once you narrow down the list to a few photographers that you want to work with, review their website and social media. If a photographer does not have a website or direct way to reach them via phone or email, I would suggest moving them down to the bottom of the list. 

Hair, Makeup, and Grooming 

This part varies slightly for females and males. For females, investing in a professional makeup and hair stylist is strongly suggested. Doing hair and makeup for everyday situations is one thing, but getting hair and makeup done for a photoshoot is slightly different. You will be in front of strong lights during your shoot and accentuating your facial features is important. In addition, having a person assist you on set with hair that is out of place or touchups or even changes to your lip colour will go much more seamlessly when you have a makeup artist on set. 

You gentlemen can get away with saving a few dollars, as a makeup artist isn’t necessary on set. The only case I would suggest one is if your face has many blemishes or noticeable colour inconsistencies. For hair, make sure you visit your regular barber prior to the shoot and get it cut and styled. Models with facial hair should also make sure to have it groomed nicely. 

The last pointer for both males and females is investing in a spray tan. A spray tan will cost you approximately $50 to $80 and is a must for a fitness photoshoot, especially if you have fair skin. Keep in mind that the lights will be very bright and without a tan it will blow out and produce unappealing images. 

Posing 

If this is your first shoot, you are probably going to be a little nervous when you step in front of the camera. Knowing some basics about how to pose will alleviate some of that stress. Pick up some fitness publications, flip through the pages, and take notes on what some of the models in these magazines are doing. What are some of the poses that seem to constantly appear in the magazines? Another tool is flipping through the thousands of online fitness model portfolios or portfolios of your favorite fitness photographers. Save those images on your phone or print them out. Take note of hand and foot placements, and how the models position their hips and turn their shoulders. What facial expressions do the models have 

After you have compiled a list of shots, start practicing in front of a mirror. The only way you will see what works is trying it out. Once you think you are getting the hang of it, get a friend or family member to snap some shots on your phone. Don’t worry about proper lighting or that the set isn’t right, that’s the photographers job. Review your practice images and see how close you are to the poses you have selected as your targets. 

Coming into the shoot with some basic posing under your belt will ease you into the shoot. The photographer should direct you as the shoot goes on, but having a starting point is important. The worst thing you can do is show up in front of the camera and say, “I have no idea what to do.” By practicing beforehand, you will set yourself up for success during the shoot. 

Outfits 

The right outfit selection will play a big part in your shoot. Always remember to bring more than you think you will need. As a rule, in a one hour shoot you might be able to get 2 to 3 outfits, so bring at least double that. In a two hour shoot, you might get 4 to 6, so bring around 10 outfit options. Try out everything prior to the shoot to make sure it fits. Organize everything into combos. What shoes are going with what outfit? If you have any accessories, pair them up with the outfit as well. The more organization you do prior to the shoot in regards to outfits, the smoother your shoot will go. It will also minimize any downtime trying to make unnecessary decisions during your shoot, which will take away from the amount of time you have in front of the camera.  Finally, bring a variety of outfits and colours. Just because your favorite colour is black, that doesn’t mean every outfit should be black. 

Once you have the above points covered, all that is left is to show up to the shoot in the best shape you can. Try to leave the nerves at the door and be ready to have fun. Not every shot will be a winner, but if you come with a good attitude and are ready to have fun, I am sure that the results will be fantastic.  

Arthur Kwiatkowski is the owner of Arsenik Studios Inc.,
 a photography and an award-winning packaging design studio.
 Specializing in fitness photography, Arthur is the Chief Photographer 
for Inside Fitness Magazine. His photography work is internationally 
published in magazines, ad campaigns, and book covers.