I recently jumped onto a phone call with the very talented Alex from Muscat Media Creative to discuss his top tips on how you can prepare for your first fitness photoshoot!
Having been through this experience myself, I know how daunting it can be. First, you want to make sure you're in great shape on the day, so you're ticking off all the boxes when it comes to training and nutrition. Even if you have achieved some fitness milestones, you may feel like you're not 'lean enough', not happy with your hair or makeup, or simply feeling a lack of confidence. You want to make sure you get the best possible photos and this is enough to spark some anxiety - especially when you have high expectations of yourself!
Know that even though you can't control everything, you can still have great influence over the success of your first ever fitness shoot. Take note of these top tips from Alex, a photographer who has built up a name shooting the most impressive physiques in the business!
1. Prep your skin
A beautiful, even tan can really make your muscles pop and help you feel next-level confidence.
Showing up with a streaky, blotchy tan is a big no-no - hence, Alex recommends you seek out a professional who can make sure you get a tan that enhances your natural look. On that note make sure you get a natural tan amplifier - that is, don't try and go for a drastically different colour to your own! Why? Firstly, if you don't tan your face, your body will look like it doesn't belong to you! With a subpar tan, expect subpar results.
If you're paying a lot of money for a photoshoot, invest in a great tan that enhances your natural beauty. Follow all the protocols to make sure your skin is prepped for an even tan - you can always call up ahead and discuss with the spray tan clinic to find out their best practices.
Alex was quick to emphasise trying to avoid the disaster of a streaky tan. "You can photoshop that, right?" is what his clients often ask, but unfortunately, there's only so much you can do. "You have to compromise something", Alex notes. If you're making tons of changes to try and even out skin tone, then another part of your photo will have to suffer.
Coconut or other body oil is a staple that many athletes use to really give their muscles that 3D look - however, with a blotchy tan, you can only count on it making things worse! Avoid being a streaky, oily mess and get your skin foundation down pat. Remember to rinse the first coat off and allow it to dry. If you're concerned about tan lines, don't worry, they are a lot easier for Alex to deal with.
2. Get your styling right
If you’re spending money to hire a quality photographer for the shoot, you need to make sure your wardrobe is also on point!
- Aren't confident
- Don’t like your wardrobe
- Don't have enough variety in your wardrobe
Alex suggests going with a styling expert who specialises in a wardrobe that will take your aesthetic to the next level. You can always count on a stylist to keep up to date with current trends, no matter what season it is! It's not just clothing that you'll be looking at, you also need to consider accessories, socks, shoes, body jewellery and more.
Aside from the fashion variety, you'll have the helping hand of someone being there on the day that can help you with wardrobe changes, tan and other touch-ups.
Alex does mention that on the flip side, you may forget you have some amazing pieces that are perfect for a shoot! Check out what you have already - perhaps you have some cool pieces you can use for a photoshoot, even if you don't plan to ever wear them out. For example, a teal sequin jacket might not suit most occasions, but for a photoshoot, it can be the perfect add-on to help make you stand out.
3. Hair and Makeup
If you have an H&MUA you go to and trust, by all means, keep using them!
If you're inexperienced in choosing the right person for you, keep these tips in mind:
- Go to them with a clear vision of what you want.
- Bring 3-4 photos of what you like.
- Understand your face - if you're picking makeup looks from someone who looks completely different to you, it may not turn out the way you want it to. "Your artist can only work with the landscape that they have", Alex advises.
- Have realistic expectations - Be aware of what you want and what is doable (similar to the point above).
Arguably the most important part of the shoot - posing can really make or break your look! Bodybuilding champions are experts at the art of illusion, perfecting their shape through rigorous posing that really highlights their hard work. Think of it as a photoshoot workout! When you're holding poses and trying to flex for two hours, "you’ll be wrecked", Alex asserts.
Are you a first-timer and not too sure what poses work for you? Alex has some great tips:
- Firstly, if you’re taking a selfie, which side will you show? Most people will know which side they usually like to show to the camera. If not, test it out right now! Hold a phone out and see which side you feel more confident with.
- The same applies to your body - which side feels and looks instinctively better to you? If you're going for a typical bikini model look, where will you have the most tightness through your obliques (abs) and get your glutes and shoulders to pop? By testing out one side to the other, you'll know what is right for you. If you're still stuck, an expert photographer like Alex can help guide you.
- Aside from finding your ideal pose, you want to make sure you stretch and avoid coming in with sore muscles, otherwise known as DOMS!
- Come in fresh, remember to keep your chest up, chin up, tummy tight and glutes on. Remember too, that your photographer is your mirror - they will help you move into the right position that will truly highlight your best features.
5. Selecting the perfect photographer
Alex warns like in any industry, unfortunately, you will find some "dodgy" people or scammers who have the wrong intentions. Though there are many talented photographers, "some people won’t see red flags", he says, so it's wise to keep this warning in mind: If the photographer isn't acting professional or doesn't want you to bring people, be wary. Make sure you do your research, as bad reviews can travel fast. On that note, try to bring a friend or someone you know to your shoot - not only will you have the extra security factor, but you'll get plenty of behind-the-scenes photo opportunities and you'll have someone there to help you celebrate your special day.
When searching for the right photographer, consider the images they take - everyone has a particular style. Alex tells me this story of a client who brought him 10 images as 'inspo', 9/10 of them being another local photographer! If you love their style, why not go to them?
Your first photoshoot can be a scary yet exciting experience - keep these points in mind to help you get the most out of your special day, and create some amazing images that you'll be proud of!