At Picture Perfect Photography, we’re an ambitious team, and none more so than our company founder and principal photographer Collette Evans. A British Natural Bodybuilding Champion, with a vivacious approach to achieving success in everything that she does.
A Day in the Life of a Bodybuilding Champion and Photographer
We invited film-makers Big Sky Creative along to follow Collette for a day, to get a peek behind the curtain of a day in the life of a bodybuilding champion with a successful photography business. This article highlights that day from Collette’s perspective.
I start my day with supplements, ketones and a grapefruit to give my body a good thermogenic boost, before hitting the treadmill to get some fast cardio and really wake my body up. I like to get some work done when I’m on there, to plan my day and the objectives I’m going to achieve.
After the treadmill, I will have my breakfast, which is usually eggs, protein porridge and berries, then I’m out of the door with my day’s meals and my work equipment, and I head to our office and photography studio in Haigh, South Yorkshire. Our office is located on a working farm just outside of Barnsley, by Junction 38 of the M1 Motorway, which helps me to get out and about to various locations when I’m needed to work photo shoots on the road. It’s not much more than twenty minutes either way to Sheffield or Leeds, so despite the remote location, it’s great for transport.
Product photography is a strong workstream for me at our studio, as clients are easily able to drop off or deliver their products and trust me to capture them in a solid, professional manner over the course of a few hours in the morning.
Seasonal content is a big part of the product photography I work on; many brands will change the visual vibe of their content every few months, bringing in different colourways, textures and settings to reflect the time of year. We have several membership clients that have the benefit of constant monthly content, so I always ensure I’m making time to fulfil my commitments to my regular membership clients.
Depending on the type of product I’m shooting, I’ll set up an effective scene that incorporates the product, using a combination of props that suit the scene, and in-house backdrops and lighting that can be adapted according to the need.
Before a shoot, I will have had a creative session with my client to ensure we’re all on the same page, and that I understand their brief to the letter. Some of my long-term clients will trust that my experience will guide it in the right direction, and others will want to be more involved in the creative process, which I can fully appreciate. I run a business myself, so I understand the challenges of outsourcing work to others.
Our Brand Manager Jen Hammonds will often join me on studio shoots, helping out with the scene composition and to grab behind-the-scenes content for sharing across our social media platforms. Jen is a social media expert, influencer, and lifestyle model and is successful in her own right with her social media management brand. She’s also an avid powerlifter, which complements my own dedication to bodybuilding. She understands the challenges of juggling a successful business with a dedication to the gym. She brings amazing energy to the team, and we work really well together.
After an hour or so in the studio, I will take a break to get my second meal of the day. Meal times are extremely important, particularly during preparation for competitions, but still very important when I’m not. Diet management is important to me, and therefore I ensure I stick to my meal plans and schedules. It won’t be a full dinner, just a small meal of something like chicken thigh, potatoes and green vegetables that can help to maintain my metabolism, and alongside that, I’ll take my Meal 2 supplements, which include Vitamin C, Green Tea, CLA, CQ10 and L Carnitine. These are all very important parts of balanced nutrition for me, particularly when dieting and your body fat is dropping.
Managing a business and my dedication to bodybuilding are pretty much two full-time jobs, so I have to ensure I am super-organised. I have lists everywhere. I have lists for my lists! My eating regime is pretty intense, needing to eat every 150 minutes. This means I have to be totally organised to ensure I fit in my other commitments in between, as well as the preparation of my meals. Balancing my work life and bodybuilding is a lifestyle choice and one that is a lot of hard work. I don’t have a normal life; I work all hours, but the rewards can be amazing.
After lunch, I’ll get back onto more content, and the variety I need to get is pretty huge. As a bodybuilder, I have obligations to my brand partners to capture some User-Generated Content (UGC) to promote their products to my social media followers. Brands such as Reflex Nutrition and Barefoot Nutrition will require seasonal product photography of just their goods in a composed scene for use on their websites, in marketing materials, and on their social channels, but they’ll also require images where I’m in the shots.
There are very few photographers who have this balance of content requirements, and I have built up a strong reputation in the health and fitness industry as somebody who knows the demands of a fitness brand from different perspectives. I’m a good match for these brands because I am their customer. I know their audience because I am their audience. This can stand Picture Perfect Photography apart from many others in our field, which is a really satisfying place to be.
Meal 3 is eaten around 2 pm with more supplements. It’s another small dish for lean beef, sweet potato and broccoli that lets me get on with my work quickly, and I’m back in the studio before long with my camera.
Toward the end of the day, I will finish up on admin or my assistant will edit client images, which helps me to run a smooth working process. Editing is an important stage, as it helps me to optimise the images for the client without the need to get back downstairs into the studio. We use two monitors, to ensure the colours are as they should be. There’s nothing worse than fulfilling a brief, only to find the colours were slightly off, so double-screens help to eradicate that at an early stage.
I take immense pride in what I do, whether it’s my photography, running my business, or working out. Everything is done to the best of my ability, which I am fully committed to improving each and every day.
Before I leave for the day and head to the gym, I have my 4th meal of the day. It will be something as simple as white rice, eggs and vegetables. I’m carb cycling at the moment, taking in 150g carbs on NTD and 200g carbs on TD. Fats and carbs change on a daily basis with my new diet plan, which means some meals don’t contain any carbs if I’m not training that day.
I’ll take pre-workout supplements, including L-Arginine, Vitamin C, CLA and L-Carnitine fat burners, Green Tea, and fat burners. What do these do, I hear you ask? I’ll tell you.
L-Arginine and Vitamin C help with the performance and oxygenation of my blood. It helps to get a good pump of blood, and these supplements can help cardiovascular performance. Green tea and fat burners help with thermogenic performance.
I train 4 days a week at the gym, 3 of those alongside my Personal trainer, Joe. I work and I train hard. On Leg Day I will push through the pain barriers until my body burns until I can no longer stand. This dedication and effort were rewarded in 2021 when I won the British title at the NPA Natural Bodybuilding competition and placed 3rd in Europe in the UKDFBA federation, and I am committed to hitting those highs again before long going into 2023.
Sadly, this year, after 32 weeks on prep, I have made the decision not to compete in bodybuilding. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, and to be honest I didn’t even want to admit it to myself, let alone those around me. I just didn’t feel like I would bring my best package to the stage. I have dedicated myself to building successes and seeing the opportunity slide felt like a failure to me. It made me feel like a failure. I’d prepared so hard for it, and I won the British title last year, so I was gearing up to build on that success.
I placed myself under tremendous pressure, to look better, and be at least as good as I was last year. It wasn’t to be this year, and it took so long to come to terms with it. However, my aim is to use the extra time I have before next year’s competition to come back leaner, in better condition, stronger, and just better than ever before. I’m nothing but determined, so I will come back better and take on more competitions in 2023 to make up for the heartache of this year.
Post-workout, I’ll take in some Essential Amino Acids (EAA). Many people will take Whey protein, but the EAAs are only 3 calories and do the trick just fine.
Recovery is vital to bodybuilders, and I’ll often get a flush through post-workout massage to ensure my body is optimal for the next day and my next workout. Thankfully, at Picture Perfect Photography HQ, we have everything on-site to ensure physical well-being in our attic space, including a massage bed, supplements, and everything else I need.
At the end of the day, I’ll head home, grab my cod, vegetables and rice or oats and begin meal preparation for tomorrow, whilst catching up with work admin and uploading client images. Before relaxing with my last meal of protein pancakes and berries and a bit of Netflix. It’s a busy life, but do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!