Behind The Scenes of a Fitness Photoshoot

Article by Pushkaraj S Shirke
As Published in Krunch Fitness Magazine, December 2016.

The three most important elements of fitness photography are Lighting, Lighting and Lighting. The other essentials are knowledge of physiques and musculature, knowledge of prep coaching and competitive fitness, and ofcourse – an artistic perspective.

As a fitness photographer, I have been professionally shooting for fitness brands, magazines and athletes, Indian and International, for over 5 years now and my experiences have taught me a bunch of things. Some of these things are what can directly effect the outcome of a fitness photoshoot.

If you are planning to get a fitness photoshoot done there are some basics that you can take care of to ensure the best outcome. These are the definitive 5 steps that make great images in fitness photography possible:

1. Book your shoot in advance
Booking your shoot in advance allows you to set definitive prep goals in terms of body fat levels and vascularity and ofcourse, visible musculature. It also allows the photographer to prep in terms of looks ands feel for the shoot, discuss costuming and colors and effects. So that when you go into the shoot, you know you are aiming for exactly the best of what you can expect.

2. Get Prep Counselling
If you already have a prep coach, great. If you don’t, make sure you get prep counselling for the shoot. That allows you to make sure that you don’t end up looking bloated or out of shape at the shoot. Achieving peak conditioning is a science. Not every physique can look ripped without proper prepping despite having all the musculature underneath.

3. Communicate with Your Photographer
Discuss shots you love. Discuss favourite athletes. Share candid images. The more both of you are on the same level of thought, the better the images will turn out to your satisfaction. BUT draw the line where you leave the creative element to the photographer – thats his job, let him do it without interference.


4. Make-up, Hair, Costuming and Assistants
Do not undercut the value of photography associated professionals. Most people undercut these to save on money costs. And yes, many a times they may be reasonable to undercut, BUT if you have a specific look and feel in mind, they are a valid investment. If your photographer suggests one, explore the option – because the photographer has a reason for suggesting one, and its not to make a commission – its to make your images look good. A good photographer can tell if you would need professional help with something and will gladly arrange it for you.

5. And Remember, You Get What You Pay For.
Don’t haggle and bargain unnecessarily. Photography is an art. and one of the most powerful things about art is that a deliverable is a deliverable. If you have haggled on costs, and the photographer has agreed, you wouldn’t even know where the photographer has tuned out and given you just ‘photos’ instead of his artistic vision. As they say, don’t piss off your cooks and waiters, you never know which one is pee in your soup. Well, likewise.
When I personally get clients who make payments on time, are very clear about timelines and shoot hours and don’t waste my time on needless bargaining and incessant haggling, I personally make sure they get more than what they expect. Always.


This shoot for example was just a Covershot Pacakage – one of the simplest packages I Offer.
But This boy came all the way from Ahemdabad to shoot with me. He had enquired about my rates a year ago, collected the funds and then approached me again for a shoot.
So not only did I shoot his images as a typical covershoot, but also shot editorial and self promo style images and also featured him on my personal art prints collection.
As they say, when you deliver to good people, always over deliver. Atleast that what i say. And its a rule to live by for most artists.

Pushkaraj S Shirke




Have any questions? Feel free to write to me about them.


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