Fitness Photography: Gym Vs Photography Studio

Fitness photography captures the power, strength, and aesthetics of the human body. The demand for high-quality fitness images is on the rise, fuelled by an increasing interest in health and fitness, a growing number of fitness influencers, and the need for visual content in the fitness industry. But where should one opt for a fitness photoshoot – a gym or a professional photography studio? They both have their undeniable benefits and for the interest of balance, they also have their cons. 

Fitness photography is a specialised field that focuses on capturing images of individuals demonstrating their physical fitness. Whether it’s a bodybuilder flexing their muscles, a yogi stretching into an intricate pose, or a high-intensity action shot of a CrossFit athlete, fitness photography celebrates the human body’s ability, strength, and resilience.

The Gym

There’s no denying that the gym is the natural habitat of the fitness enthusiast. It’s a setting that showcases the raw intensity and energy that epitomises a fitness lifestyle.

Pros of Gym-Based Fitness Photography

Authenticity: A gym-based shoot provides a superior, realistic, and relatable backdrop for fitness photography, particularly if you’re a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, for example. It’s where the action happens – where muscles are shaped, and limits are pushed. 

Access to Equipment: Gyms are stocked with a wide range of fitness equipment that can be used as props in your photoshoot. Be it dumbbells, barbells, benches, or cardio machines, you’ll have them all at your disposal. Using the equipment will help your photographer to capture your muscle definition at its peak, showing exactly what you’ve been working to achieve. 

Variety of Scenes: A gym offers different settings within one location – the different forms of lifting equipment, mirrors and benches, the cardio section, the group exercise studio etc. This variety can add depth and diversity to your fitness portfolio and can provide weeks or months of varied social media content.

Cons of Gym-Based Fitness Photography

Limited Control over Lighting: Gyms typically have fixed lighting that may not be ideal for photography. While some gyms might have large windows that allow for natural light, others might be equipped with harsh fluorescent lights. By working with a photographer who will bring (and knows how to use) professional lighting equipment, you can avoid poor quality images caused by unhelpful or unflattering lighting setups. 

Potential Distractions: Gyms are often bustling with activity from your fellow health and fitness fanatics. This can lead to potential distractions and interruptions during the shoot. You could avoid this by booking the space out, which may come at an increased cost or be at unsociable hours. 

Need for Permission: Not all gyms will readily permit a professional photoshoot. You may need to negotiate terms, book in advance, or even pay a fee. By working with a photographer who has a large network and friendly partnerships with multiple gyms and gym owners, you may be able to gain easier access to some amazing spaces, however.

The Studio

A professional photography studio, on the other hand, is a controlled environment that offers limitless opportunities for creativity. From lighting and backdrops to props and effects, everything can be customised to your vision.

Pros of Studio-Based Fitness Photography

Full Control over Lighting: In a studio, you have complete control over the lighting. Your photographer can adjust it to highlight your physique, create a very specific mood to the pictures, or add dramatic effects with creative retouching after the session.

Privacy: A studio offers a private and comfortable space for the photoshoot. This can be particularly beneficial for those who might feel self-conscious or uncomfortable posing in a public gym. Further to the privacy, it also offers a much more intimate experience where you can let your personality shine through into the images. 

Creative Freedom: A studio allows for limitless creativity. Your photographer can experiment with different backdrops, bring in unique props, or use equipment like smoke machines to create stunning visual effects.

Cons of Studio-Based Fitness Photography

Less Authentic: Whilst it offers a multitude of photography styles, a studio environment might not feel as authentic or relatable as a gym setting for a fitness photoshoot.

Limited Access to Fitness Equipment: Unlike a gym, a studio might not have access to a wide range of fitness equipment. 

The Yorkshire-based Studio here at Picture Perfect Photography doesn’t quite have such a problem, as our head photographer Collette Evans is a title-winning bodybuilder who has carved out a niche in the health and fitness industry, having worked with numerous brands to help them sell their gym equipment. This means that the Picture Perfect studio is more equipped than most to provide a crossover between gym and studio photography. 

Additional Preparation Required: Planning a studio shoot requires more preparation. Your photographer will need to plan the lighting, choose the backdrops, arrange the props, and more.

The Verdict: Gym or Studio?

Both gym and studio-based fitness photography have their unique advantages. The choice between the two depends on various factors like the style of the photoshoot, the comfort level of the model, the availability of resources, and what the desired outcome may be.

For someone looking for authenticity and relatability to promote themselves or a brand, a gym might be the perfect setting. On the other hand, if stronger creative control and privacy are the priority, a studio photoshoot might be more suitable.

When all is said and done, however, if you need a regular stream of fresh, varied content then there’s no need to choose between the two for long; as a bodybuilder, powerlifter, PT, or online coach, it will make sense to mix it up. Get your first photography session or two in the gym, then why not treat yourself to a studio session, which will offer a completely different type of content? 

Picture Perfect Photography: Your Fitness Photography Specialist

At Picture Perfect Photography, we provide top-notch fitness photography services, both at gyms and in our professional studio. Our founder Collette is an avid competitive bodybuilder, which gives her an insider’s perspective on capturing the essence of fitness. With our extensive network of gyms and gym owners, we can arrange for fantastic gym-based shoots, either locally here in Yorkshire or indeed nationwide. Alternatively, our clean, professional studio on the outskirts of Barnsley is all set to capture stunning studio-based fitness photography.

Whether you’re a fitness model looking to build your portfolio, a personal trainer wanting to showcase your clients’ transformations, or a fitness brand needing high-quality images, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today to discuss your fitness photography requirements.

We offer a variety of monthly plan packages to suit clients who require regular content for their websites, socials, and brand partnership obligations. These monthly plans offer exclusive benefits, such as creative strategy sessions, additional content forms like social media Reels, and express delivery. 

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Let us help you tell your fitness story through powerful images that inspire and motivate.

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