8 April 2015

A First Look at Fitness Modeling

Chanel Collette-Photo by James Patrick

Article by Chanel Collette

You’ve been flipping through pages of your favorite fitness magazine. Googling “fitness model,” and scrolling Pinterest for Fitspo images. Your first fitness photo shoot is booked and now you have to figure out what you want to be in front of the camera. How do you wear your hair, what colors do you pick, how do you even hold your body in that position?? All legitimate questions running through your head, and hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help you get ready for the big day.

Let’s start first with the Inspiration/Mood Board. You were on the right track with the Googling. It is really important to have a collection of images you like or are drawn to in the industry. But as an aspiring model, you need to ask yourself some questions (1) What fitness model “look” matches the image/brand I have for myself in the industry or what “look” do you want to capture for this shoot? (2) What style of images do you want to submit to magazines? (3) What other use do you want these photos for? Don’t waste your money for a bunch of Instagram pictures here.

The “look” of the shoot is the most important to answer initially. It determines the type of apparel you wear, the style you do for your hair and makeup, and the backdrop and lighting the photographer will end up utilizing. Coming from experience (unless it is an all day shoot with adequate hair and makeup changes) it can be really difficult to nail a wide array of looks in a smaller session. I found that either my hair rocked one look but then bombed the next – go figure.

The “look” of the shoot is also going to help you go shopping. Yes – you do need to budget for making some new purchases. Your favorite faded sports bra isn’t going to cut it. This is your first shoot so you don’t know which colors under the flash photography are going to compliment your skin tone and features, and neither does the photographer. It will be a bit of a guessing game – so come prepared.

I made the mistake of wearing that highlighter yellow/green – let’s talk about that contrast with my dark skin and hair. Anyone need me to direct traffic at night – I’m your girl!

Multiple outfits and colors can accomplish the “looks” you are aiming for. During the shoot the photographer should be able to take a few shots of you and guide you on the color combos that are complimenting for you. Your face should be the first thing you notice in your photos – not the shocking patterns in NIKE’s latest spring release.

Gracing the pages of your favorite fitness magazine is often the dream that led you to booking the shoot in the first place. To answer this question you have to appeal to the “look” of the magazine. Flip through multiple issues and pay attention to outfits, hair, and makeup. Be sure to communicate to the photographer the magazine(s) you plan to submit to – tell them booking so they can do their homework too.

All the details should be considered – are all the models on white backdrops, outside, black/ dark backdrops? Is there a particular section you are submitting to? Do you have to provide a workout or other graphics? If this is a goal it won’t be achieved without a game plan.

Every photographer hears from the model that they want to be featured in a magazine – rarely does the photographer come to the shoot knowing what this model wants to submit. The more ways you can fill in the photographer, the better. Every photographer should want their images featured so they should be more than willing to hear your game plan.

Side note – don’t assume the photographer will answer this question for you. They are a photographer not an editor of the magazine. Two different roles. They can give you advice – but it’s just that.

Lastly, communicate with your photographer what you want these images used for. Do you have a web site / blog? If so share your links. Do you have something in the works? Explain the details – color schemes, lay outs etc.

As much as you may want to be the next Instagram fitness sensation – don’t admit that – there are filters for that. If you are spending your money and the photographer’s professional time, you need to answer why you booked this shoot. Explain to yourself and the photographer your goals. Are you a trainer who wants to increase their client volume? What images would appeal to your potential clients?

Surely your goal isn’t just to be a “fitness model” because that won’t pay the bills with your first photo shoot, FYI.

Will you ever be fully prepared for your first fitness shoot? No. Will you like every picture captured from your first shoot? Absolutely not. But there is a first time for everything. Failing to plan is planning to bomb your first photo shoot. You may lose respect from the photographer and waste your money, so come more than prepared and communicate as much as you can with the photographer prior to the shoot (without spamming their inbox).

Good luck! Get your beauty rest and be confident!

Chanel ColletteChanel Collette earned her degree at The University of Georgia in public relations and marketing. She has been in the health and fitness industry for 8 years with roles as a trainer and in marketing and advertising. Last year, after 3 years competing, she earned her pro card with Fitness Universe and title of Ms. Bikini Universe 2014.

Chanel’s most recent passion and experience has lead her to start her own business. Two years ago she founded Team Slice, an online lifestyle and competition prep team of women from across the country.

Her team of women receive online training and nutrition guidelines to prepare for competitions, photo shoots, and other counseling in the fitness industry. Chanel’s goal is, “to help women feel confident about their bodies, while helping them weave through the clutter in the industry to create a stand-out portfolio and brand for themselves.”


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