I’ve been doing print and commercial modeling for over 6 years now, and planning photoshoots is something I’ve learned to perfect over the years. I will tell you from experience, doing a yoga or fitness shoot is not an easy task. To have a successful photoshoot, it requires a lot of preparation and, of course, a great team.

Here are some of my top tips to help you nail your next yoga/fitness photoshoot:

1. Find a good Photographer

This is super important! Finding a photographer that has good equipment, knows about lighting, angles, Photoshop, etc. is going to result in professional and quality images that will improve your portfolio immensely.  I would recommend reaching out to local professional photographers and seeing if they would be interested in shooting with you. This can be done through simple searches on social media, or Google.  FYI if you live in Chicago – I would highly recommend Amy Aiello! She is amazing and has great rates. Here is the link to her website: www.amyphotochicago.com

2. Hair and Makeup artists are lifesavers

It may not seem like a big deal to someone who is not in the modeling industry, but hair and makeup plays a huge role in how your images turn out, and how much processing (Photoshop and editing) is needed at the end. If you feel like you can do your own hair and makeup well, go for it. If you’re anything like me and you suck at it – find a hair and makeup artist. Trust me, it will help your images in the long run!  If you are in Chicago, I would recommend my artist from this shoot, Anna Chilinski. Here is the link to her website: http://bit.ly/2pc6LlS

3. Finding a good location is key

Are you looking for an airy location with lots of white space? Are you trying to bring color to your images with plants or beaches in the background? A good shooting location can completely change the look and feel of a photoshoot. I like the super white and “commercial” look for my images, so I stick to all white studios with lots of bright white walls and big windows for tons of natural light. Maybe even try to come up with a few locations to shoot at so you can have a variety of looks to add to your portfolio. Just make sure your chosen location will allow photographers with professional cameras, so you don’t get kicked out or fined. Many public locations will have their photoshoot policies listed on their websites, so I would either call or check online before arriving.

4. Create an inspiration board and bring images to the shoot

One thing I always do before shoots is to create an “Inspiration board”. This can be done on Pinterest, or even just on a word document. It’s a collection of images that I use as inspiration for my photoshoots to make sure everyone is on the same page with the look and feel of the shoot. Sometimes you may have an idea of how you want the pictures to look, and your photographer can have his/her own creative idea of how they want the images to look, and your makeup artist may also have their own ideas for hair and makeup that may be very different from your vision. This is not so you can “copy” other people’s work, but rather to make sure that your team is all on the same page when it’s time to shoot.

5. Plan out your poses in advance

This is super helpful, especially for yoga shoots. Ever have a great idea or thought, only to forget it a few days later when you need it? Yeah, that happens during shoots too. I usually plan out 20+ yoga poses that I’m good at and write them down on a piece of paper or in the notes section of my phone so I can refer back to it during my shoot. Sometimes you can get so overwhelmed by the location, wardrobe, hair and makeup, that you forget what poses you wanted to do! This also helps so there’s not a lot of repetition of poses throughout the photoshoot.

6. Plan to bring several outfits, even you don’t think you’ll get through all of them

One thing I have learned from my many years of modeling is that it’s always better to bring too much than too little. Some photographers will fly through images and outfits, so it’s good to have extra backup options depending on how much time you have. Also, I suggest that you know exactly what tops and bottoms you want to pair together and either put them on the same hanger, or write them down. This will make wardrobe changes much easier, and you won’t have to tear apart your wardrobe bag looking for the next outfit.

7. Practice in the mirror

It sounds weird, but usually the night or so before a shoot I will do a “dress rehearsal” and try the different poses in the different outfits I plan on wearing for the shoot in front of the mirror. Sometimes the poses and outfit combinations will look great, other times they won’t. If you have super tight low-rise leggings, maybe a forward fold pose won’t be the best for that outfit.  Also know your angles – some poses will look better from the side than the front. Know what will look best in the camera before you arrive on set. That way you save everyone time!

8. Know your body

Are you really good at certain poses, but not others? Know what poses you can do well and focus on those first.  If you can’t do the splits, avoid trying to push yourself and getting injured on set. Also know that some poses will create rolls and bulges in your body (that’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean your fat – it happens to everyone!)  For me, forward fold is not a particularly “camera attractive” pose, so I don’t do those poses for shoots. My general rule of thumb is to try poses that extend your body long such as handstands, warrior 2, standing bow, and side plank to name a few.

9. Slow down

Unless you’re shooting a video, know that a shoot is not going to be like a regular workout. You will need to practice holding poses and moving super slowly so the photographer can capture many frames while your moving. When you move too fast, your pictures could end up blurry. If you are doing a yoga flow, maybe hold each position for 5 breaths while making slight adjustments with your hand positioning, gaze and alignment. It will help the photographer get more than just one shot to choose from.

10. TAG YOUR TEAM!

Please please please always credit and tag your team!! This includes photographers, hair and makeup artists, studio owners (if you used one), locations, wardrobe designers, and anyone who assisted with the shoot. Not only is this proper modeling etiquette but could also help you with social media engagement. A lot of accounts will repost images and tag everyone in the image, so don’t leave your team out!!

Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions or need any advice for your next shoot! I would love to help in any way possible. Good luck!

Photography by Amy Aiello | Hair and Makeup Artist Anna Chilinski | Location Studio Rental Chicago | Outfit #1 by Alo Yoga | Outfit #2 by Lululemon | Outfit #3 by Victoria Sport

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