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This is the time of year when many people make the decision to compete and start planning for their first show. Congratulations if you are making that decision for 2016.

There is a lot of important scheduling that needs to be put into place the moment you decide to compete and one of those that is sometimes overlooked by competitors is a professional photo shoot. Photos tell our life story. They are one possession we try to save in the event of a fire. For competitors, photos capture the hard work put in during the eight to twenty weeks of prep. You work hard for that body so why not show it off with professional classy fitness photos. If you are passionate about competing and decide you want to make a name for yourself in the industry, strong photos are a must. If you are simply competing to check off another point on your bucket list, then they capture memories while you are in the best shape of your life.

Experienced competitors plan their photo shoots the moment the date of their next show is finalized.

Experienced competitors plan their photo shoots the moment the date of their next show is finalized. Additionally, because of the importance of quality photo shoots, experienced coaches will begin to prepare their clients for shoots at the earliest opportunity. You can never make these arrangements too soon as the optimal times for photo shoots fill up months ahead of a show date.

When booking your photo shoot, here are several important points to consider.

You need to set goals for your photo shoot. Going into a shoot blind is similar to competing on stage without being ready. Preparation is important. Have a clear idea of the style of photo you want and what you will use the photos for. Are you wanting to separate yourself and become a published model and grace the pages of fitness publications? Do you want photos for promotion and branding purposes? Will the shots be primarily for social media? Maybe they are a keepsake of your hard work? A well-prepared game plan is necessary to maximize the investment.

Choose a wardrobe that will best suit the style of images you want and plan a complementing location. You don’t need to be an experienced model to be prepared. Make sure you show up ready to shoot with clean, well fitting, coordinating clothing combinations separated neatly for quick access. Last minute preparation doesn’t set the tone for a successful photo shoot. Don’t throw every possibility of clothing into a suitcase and hope for the best. Although this sounds like common sense, it isn’t. Preparation for wardrobe choices should be made weeks out from a shoot and never the night before.

TIP: If you are unsure of ideas, look through your favorite magazines for examples. In Status Fitness, check out the Status Symbol features or the images used in the editorials.

Professional photographers will not contact you to set up a shoot so the onus is on you to take the initiative and make the arrangements.

Ensure your tan, hair and make-up is best suited for your photo shoot goals. A good tan, hair and make-up will increase the marketing possibilities from a shoot. If you are planning to shoot near your competition, you need to choose a date to shoot that accommodates a proper tan without any possible interference with your show tan. For the ladies, if you are coming in lean, one to two weeks out from a show works great for a shoot. This time frame will allow you a proper tan for your shoot without affecting your show tan. If you are not as lean as you would like to be, then typically the Sunday immediately after your show works best. With careful tan care, your color will still be suitable to shoot. For the gentlemen, the Sunday after your show is typically best. You need paper thin skin over your abs for magazine consideration.

TIP: Bikini shoots best on the day after a show as does Men’s Physique and Bodybuilding. Women’s Physique and Figure tend to shoot best a week or two out from a show for most mainstream marketable opportunities. Some hardcore opportunities require women to be as lean as possible, so know what goals you are trying to accomplish.

Professional photographers will not contact you to set up a shoot so the onus is on you to take the initiative and make the arrangements. Choose your photographer carefully. Check out their websites and ask people you trust for references. Each photographer is unique and offers different styles and opportunities. Professionalism varies with each photographer as does package prices. Find a reputable photographer that can guarantee the results you are looking for, at a price point you can afford to invest in and book in full confidence that you are spending your hard earned money wisely.


When shooting for publication, be sure to look at shooting with photographers familiar with a magazine’s style. Status Fitness prides itself on utilizing professionally lit photos. We are very selective and will refuse images that don’t meet our high standard. Our art department prefers well-lit fitness photos of well-prepared models and athletes taken in a gym environment. At times, we will use well-lit beach photos shot in our Status Fitness style. Except for our Lifestyle section, we do not typically accept lingerie shots, nor overtly sexy shots, so shooting these for submission will be a waste of time and money. 


Do you have what it takes to grace the pages of Status Fitness or be featured on the Status Fitness website? To find out, be sure to send a short bio and two low resolution photo samples to the Status Fitness Talent & Athletic Manager Angela or to Media & Talent Liason Andrea.

About David Ford

UFC and fitness celebrity cover photographer David Ford is a world renowned, multi-accredited professional photographer by the Professional Photographers of Canada and the Professional Photographers of America, an international author and public speaker. The foundations of David's business include his professionalism, knowledge and skill set.