Here’s our guide to posing for a fitness shoot
Like you, here at Picture Perfect Photography, we work hard on our physique. Founder and principal photographer Collette is a British Bodybuilding champion. Our Brand Manager Jen is also a keen powerlifter with an impressive Deadlift PB of 185kg. If you can be found at the gym at all hours sculpting your physique, then you’re our kind of person.
No matter what your reasons for getting into optimal shape, one of the inevitable results is that you will look great. In addition to this, you will certainly want to capture photographic evidence of your amazing journey. Each and every muscle you build is another landmark of the work you put in, both at the gym and at home.
You might snap a quick gym selfie, or get your gym buddy to capture the moment with your smartphone, but let’s face it, the lighting isn’t going to be great, and you may not be quite as confident at posing as you could be. As a result, your image comes out awkward, and your toned body definition just doesn’t show in the unflattering light.
Something like this can really knock your confidence, so we’re here to give you our helpful advice on how to use lighting and certain pieces of gym equipment to really capture your body in all its glory, in shots that are sure to make you look again and ask ‘is that really me?‘
Get ready to take your confidence and your User Generated Content to the next level with these handy tips and tricks for poses that make your pictures pop.
Equipment Suggestion: Pulley Row
Lighting Set-Up: Set your light up from a 90° angle to your body, so that your back muscles create great shadows. The type of lighting you use will depend on you as the model. Using a Soft Box to create softer light will present a more elegant shadow. Raw light will create harder, grittier images.
Camera setup: It’s good to shoot directly from the back to capture the whole surface of your body, but a good photographer will create equally impressive results by shooting from the opposite side to the lighting set-up, which will really bring maximum shadow to the final result
Equipment Suggestion: Lat Pulldown (widest grip)
Lighting Set-Up: You will need to bring the light higher, directing it down towards the body. This allows the back muscles cast effective shadows.
Camera Set-Up: Your photographer will move around to capture images from different angles so that you can continue to flex your muscles with the equipment. Different angles will highlight different back muscles.
Top Tip: If your photographer takes the shot across your back, from the opposite side to the lighting, then this will lend itself fantastically to Black & White images.
Equipment Suggestion: Squat Rack
Lighting Set-Up: The lights will need to be much higher, as you are standing up for a lot of the exercise. They may be caught in some of the shots, particularly when there’s a mirror in front of your equipment.
A good photographer will make this work with the context of the shot.
Camera Set-Up: There may be some diagonal side-shots to capture more of your profile, but for the direct rear shots to capture your glutes, then your photographer will hide behind your body so as not to get themselves in the shot through the mirror.
Top Tip: When capturing your fitness photography, it’s important to remember you’re not in it for getting PBs, so don’t think too much about loading up your equipment with weight. The whole point is that you’re there to look respectable and above all, great.
You should break up your photography shoot by simply posing. Once you’re warmed from your early shoot workout, take a break from it and stand with the equipment a little.
It’s important to get plenty of variety from the experience, and some great smiling shots whilst you lean on the equipment is yet another type of visual asset that you can use in your social media content.
Mirrors are excellent tools and can enable you to get your natural smiling face in the shot, as well as those impressive glutes.
If you have a favourite supplement brand, or you have a partnership with a fitness supplier, then take an opportunity to include some of their stuff in your photos and fulfil a UGC obligation at the same time.
Equipment Suggestion: Dumbbells
Lighting Set-Up: The lighting will be high up, looking down at you from an angle, to ensure your contours are captured perfectly.
Camera Set-Up: You will stand sideways to the camera, twisted slightly towards it, with your legs staggered. This gives your body a more interesting and visually appealing figure. The camera will stay to the side of you, so that your muscle is more prominent and more pronounced.
Top Tip: A common mistake is to keep your elbows too close to your body, with your arms splayed outwards. Doing this will not give you the peak of your muscle as well as you could achieve. The sweet spot is to keep your elbows tucked into your waist, with your shoulders back, and lifting straight.
This will show your arms off better. Squeeze up, then slowly let it back down. Try to hit the 90° angle; too high and you flatten your bicep, too low and it doesn’t strain the muscle enough.
Equipment Suggestion: Bench and Dumbbells (Row Shots)
Lighting Set-Up: The light will be in front of you, slightly off at the angle that faces your exposed side. Higher than you and facing down toward you, to cast appealing shadows.
Camera Set-Up: This kind of pose gives great opportunities for a good photographer to capture different angles, from the front and side of you that is doing the lifting.
Put on your knee on the bench, lifting the dumbbell up to your hip. Don’t lift it to your chest as it can look awkward and unnatural. Rowing it up to your hip will help to pronounce your muscles, including the obliques, shoulders, biceps, and back. Make sure you’re looking forward to ensure straight lines that really make the shot pop.
Top Tip: The bench is another great spot to capture some non-workout shots and add further variety to your content collection. Ladies arch your back and twist your body, looking away from the camera. Guys, sit on the bench facing the camera, your arms resting on your knees to pronounce your biceps.
Equipment Suggestion: Lateral Cable Machine (Tricep Pushdown)
Lighting Set-Up: The light will need to be set up high up, facing down toward you. This will be sure to provide great shadow definition. Avoid overdoing the lights, so that the shadows come right out on camera.
Camera Set-Up: The camera will be shooting from the side, particularly to capture the triceps, which need plenty of help to bring the shadows out at the back of your arm.
Top Tip: Use the equipment to change up the pose and capture some bicep shots, which effectively gives you two for one content types.
This guide focuses on the arms and back, but our intrepid leader Collette has plenty of additional posing hints and tips in this great video that was captured at the Graft Häus Gym in Leeds, alongside her amazing model Laura, who was stunned by the difference a professional shoot could do to highlight the progress she has made.
This kind of experience has given Laura the confidence to know that she is heading in the right direction. She could barely believe that it was her in the photos.
Give the video a watch to really understand how choosing the right light, the best angle, and above all, a professional photographer that knows how to bring your physique to life can make a world of difference to your personal and professional fitness content.
With championship-winning bodybuilder, Collette Evans at the helm, backed by powerlifter, model, and social media influencer Jen Hammonds, the team at Picture Perfect Photography is the perfect partner for health and fitness fanatics looking to take their personal brand to the next level. We have gained rave reviews from PTs and fitness professionals for our attention to detail, enthusiasm for the project, and dedication to fulfilling a brief.
Here’s How We Can Help
We listen to your needs, give creative advice, and deliver high-quality images that boost your brand image and reflect the work you have put into your body.
As a special limited-time-only offer in the run-up to Black Friday, we’re offering an amazing discounted bundle deal that will not only show you what we’re capable of here at Picture Perfect Photography but will give you a selection of images that present your body in a way you’ll be delighted with.