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Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-03-2007, 06:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all, long time lurker here but first time poster. There's some fantastic skills and experience on this excellent forum and I've finally been forced to post, hoping some of that can help me!

I'm a beginner photographer by any kind of standard on here, I've only been interested in it for a year or two. However my interest has resulted in me offering to take some pictures for my local gym which has recently been refurbished - images good enough for them to use in advertising and on their (planned) website. I've already done some photos of their classes in the studio for them to put up on the notice board, and they were really pleased with them. Problem is, I've never had a proper arranged photoshoot before and I'm a little worried I've bitten off more than I can chew.

There will be three main types of image:
- photos of the gym instructors in the studio doing some moves and poses in the styles of the fitness classes they teach (Body Pump, Combat, Balance etc)
- photos of people (probably the instructors again, since they're in the best shape) using the new equipment on the gym floor.
- a couple of pretty tanned blondes that have agreed to do a bikini photoshoot in the new jacuzzi/spa area.

The studio & gym has great natural light with glass sections in the roof and a couple of big windows. Another room is also available with no windows, and black backdrop is available. The jacuzzi area has no windows and is dimly lit with blue "mood" lighting in the roof.

I guess I'm just looking for any links, hints or advice that would constitute a crash course in how to do this stuff. I've searched for the past couple of days but most sites seem to be either too focused on the sexual side, or too formal. Whereas I'm wanting to capture images that primarily portray health, fitness, and exercise technique, with a sexy/attractive touch.

The equipment I have at my disposal is limited - a Sony Alpha A100 with 18-70mm, 50mm, and 70-300mm lenses, wireless flashgun, and various white and coloured cards at the gym ideal for use as reflectors.

So any help or advice at all will be most welcome, even if it's stuff that seems really obvious to you guys. I've read plenty of Rolando's articles here which are great, however I'm not working with professional models (although one of the fitness instructors at the gym is stunningly pretty and has a better, more toned body than anyone except full-time fitness models - too bad she doesn't have the confidence or interest in showing off her abs or legs ) and I have zero experience at this stuff!

Apologies if this is posted in the wrong section, wasn't sure where to put it. But please can anyone help me inject some professionalism and subtle sex appeal into my shots?
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The crash course...
Old 05-03-2007, 07:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ouch... a crash course in commercial photography!

I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it won't be easy.

First, make a written plan of the shots you want to do and what each one takes and carry it with you to the shoot. In the heat of battle, a lot might get lost.

Secondly, steal prolifically. Being highly original is great, but it may not happen. You might get inspired during the shoot and really do something great, but you also might come up dry. For the moment... steal. Go to gym and spa websites and see what images they have that you can steal poses and setups from.

Finally, stop and think occasionally. There will be a lot going on, and the typical reaction is to just plow on ahead because everybody's waiting. But a few minutes of just stopping and thinking every now and then can make a big difference.

Good luck!
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-04-2007, 04:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Many thanks Al - that's just the kind of practical advice I think I was fishing for.

I'll definitely start to compile a list of shots I want to take. The good thing is that I'm a regular at the gym and the staff are very friendly so I can easily borrow an instructor for twenty minutes to see what works and what doesn't with some rough and ready test shots, and make a list of what works long before the actual shoot.

#2 I think I've already got covered - been browsing loads of stock photography and gym websites for ideas. I once saw a link to a handy downloadable pdf file with loads of model poses in it, but I think I've lost the pdf. Does anyone here know where I can find something similar?

However I've got plenty inspiration for the gorgeous girl with the abs, the only problem is her disinterest in wearing crop tops or shorts. Anyone got any experience of how to encourage her otherwise? Obviously I don't mean making her do something she doesn't want to, but rather encouraging her to realise that if she can't feel comfortable showing her stomach or legs, there's not much hope for anyone else! I've not had to work with a specific subject before so I don't know what's right and what's wrong, and she's the kind of girl who warms up with a bit of cheeky banter, and would run a mile if you start smothering her in compliments and flattery. :-/ So how do you flatter and encourage someone who isn't bothered about being complimented?!
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-05-2007, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stroberaver View Post

However I've got plenty inspiration for the gorgeous girl with the abs, the only problem is her disinterest in wearing crop tops or shorts.
Hmmm... so what does she normally wear in the gym? Sweatshirts and sweatpants? That doesn't seem too likely if you have determined she has great abs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stroberaver View Post

Anyone got any experience of how to encourage her otherwise? Obviously I don't mean making her do something she doesn't want to, but rather encouraging her to realise that if she can't feel comfortable showing her stomach or legs, there's not much hope for anyone else!
If she's agreed to pose, it shouldn't be too hard to convince her to spiff things up a bit. But has she indeed agreed to pose at this point, or are you just anticipating getting her to do it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by stroberaver View Post
I've not had to work with a specific subject before so I don't know what's right and what's wrong, and she's the kind of girl who warms up with a bit of cheeky banter, and would run a mile if you start smothering her in compliments and flattery. So how do you flatter and encourage someone who isn't bothered about being complimented?!
She must be an unusual girl if she runs away from sincere compliments... most will soak up all you can give.

The trick is to keep them sincere and believable. If you cross the line into disbelief... it just becomes a come on, and she will definitely turn off.


Here's another point to keep in mind when shooting. It's not a big deal to make a mistake and have to redo a shot unless YOU make it a big deal. Sometimes, you may be hesitant to redo a shot... if you don't think what you've got is the best you can do, try it again.

I'd hate to tell you the number of times I walked away with a bad shot because I was too timid to redo it and admit I hadn't got it right the first, or fourth, or even the tenth time. But I'm much older and hopefully a little smarter now... if it takes me twenty tries to get it right, so be it.
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-05-2007, 01:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Be sure to take a tripod.
Cheers,
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-07-2007, 06:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al
Hmmm... so what does she normally wear in the gym? Sweatshirts and sweatpants? That doesn't seem too likely if you have determined she has great abs.
She normally wears a singlet/vest top with full length leggings. But the outlines of her abs are visible through the top when the light hits her from the side at just the right angle. Besides, she's also told me she has abs, and I've no reason to disbelieve her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al
If she's agreed to pose, it shouldn't be too hard to convince her to spiff things up a bit. But has she indeed agreed to pose at this point, or are you just anticipating getting her to do it?
Oh yes, she's agreed to pose, all the instructors have been asked to do so by the club manager. I've long thought that every girl (and guy - lets face it, who doesn't want to be considered good looking?) would secretly love to be a model, and her grins and reaction from being told that these images of her would be used in ads and on a website kinda confirmed that theory! But only if it's in her usual sort of clothing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al
She must be an unusual girl if she runs away from sincere compliments... most will soak up all you can give.

The trick is to keep them sincere and believable. If you cross the line into disbelief... it just becomes a come on, and she will definitely turn off.
Yeah... slight technical hitch there. I asked her out last year (without success, turns out she was already taken). So my concern is that she just thinks I'm still trying to get into her pants when I pay her a genuine compliment about how photogenic she is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al
Here's another point to keep in mind when shooting. It's not a big deal to make a mistake and have to redo a shot unless YOU make it a big deal. Sometimes, you may be hesitant to redo a shot... if you don't think what you've got is the best you can do, try it again.

I'd hate to tell you the number of times I walked away with a bad shot because I was too timid to redo it and admit I hadn't got it right the first, or fourth, or even the tenth time. But I'm much older and hopefully a little smarter now... if it takes me twenty tries to get it right, so be it.
Cheers, I'll definitely bear that in mind! I can see where you're coming from, as one of the fears at the back of my mind is that I'll feel under pressure and shoot away all afternoon, then get back home, get the pictures on the computer and find they're all a bit crap, or technically poor. Hopefully I'll slow the pace of the shoot right down so I can get the shots just right and retake as many as I need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Fredrick_Smith
Be sure to take a tripod.
Absolutely! I'm taking two - my sturdy one for the camera and a borrowed cheapy plastic one for the flashgun!

Speaking of which, I could also do with some kind of Lumiquest diffuser for my flashgun - any good home made alternatives if I can't source a proper product in time to do the job?
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-07-2007, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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To make your own flash modifier see

http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/

The video is a pain to watch, but he does show how to make a easy to use bounce card that really works.

Cheers,
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-07-2007, 06:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Fantastic, just the kind of thing I need! Many thanks!
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-08-2007, 07:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I do believe you are going to learn by trying! Scoot on over to any place that has a lot of magazines and look through any of the bodybuilding and fitness magazines you can find, mens and womens.

You will see a lot of photography most of which is done in gyms. Even the ads will help you. That will help you with posing and ideas.

The lighting in the gym sounds pretty good so I would just be looking at flash as fill light as that is all you have and at this point we are not going to be learning strobes too.

One more note, gyms are all mirrors, so keep an eye on everything in your frame, light from doors, trash cans and yourself.

By the way, as you go through those magazines you will find ads and photos that I shot in pretty much every issue of every magazine. And my website might be of help to you too, click on the 'SecondFocus' in my signature. I am one of the most viewed bodybuilding photographers in the world.
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Re: Newbie needs help with some fitness & bikini photos
Old 05-08-2007, 01:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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By the way, as you go through those magazines you will find ads and photos that I shot in pretty much every issue of every magazine.
OK. Wow. I'm impressed. Nice web site too.

Welcome to G1.
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