5 Tips for Preparing for Your Fitness Photo Shoot

I photograph a lot of fitness competitors, model and athletes. Just like any competition preparation for the photo shoot is key. Here are a few things to consider once you've booked your photo shoot.

Style, Theme & Communication

Figure out what style of session you are looking for. If you have ideas for poses or pictures, please send sample photos to me or bring some magazine cut outs on the day of the shoot. Give some thoughts on how you want your pictures to look. (Hard core gym, commercial fitness, something a little sexy)

I have a fully equipped commercial photo studio with lots of fitness equipment but we can do the session outdoors or in a gym. I have access to fight clubs and private gyms all over Ontario so if you have a location idea in mind, let me know and we'll set it up.

Many of the people I work with have never had a photo shoot done before. That’s no problem, I’m very good at helping people pose and coming up with ideas. I show you the back of the camera a lot and demonstrate how a small positioning change makes a huge difference with the final picture. 

If you don’t like part of your body or are uncomfortable with something, let's discuss it. We’ll come up with poses and looks to minimize it.


Clothing is important. If you are spending money on a photo shoot, have the right clothes for the pictures you want. It’s great when a model shows up with a big bag of clothes. Too many choices are better than not enough. You’ll get more looks with more clothes. Clean athletic shoes are important. Make sure the clothing is clean, not wrinkled and not faded. Have matching or coordinating clothing with minimal logos. The day of the shoot, don't wear any tight clothes as you will be able to see elastic lines on your skin.

Tan / Hair and Makeup

A nice base or spray tan will help define your muscles and show off all of your hard work. You don’t need to go as dark as a competition tan. Tanning professional can steer you towards the proper shade. Blotchy self tans or old spray tans look terrible in pictures and require a lot of extra editing. If you are going to tan, use a professional.

Hair and makeup always looks best when handled by a professional. I have access to some great hair and makeup people. That said I have shot very successfully where models have done their own hair and makeup.


Practice the poses you want to photograph. The more you practice the more you’ll see which way your body looks best. The more comfortable you are with your poses the more shots we can take and the more ideas we can explore. If you don’t have any poses, don’t worry I’ve spent the last couple of years pantomiming fitness poses from bikini to bodybuilder. We’ll figure out what looks best for your physique.

Things to Bring

A few things to bring to the shoot that will make it go much smoother. My studio is very well equipped with the essentials but it's always good to bring:

  • Snack / meal (posing is hard work, you will get hungry)
  • Drink (I have water bottles and coffee at the studio but if you're on prep and need something specific)
  • Hair Tie (if you have long hair)
  • Hairbrush
  • Oil or lotion for your skin
  • Jewelry and accessories you want in the pictures
  • Sponsor clothing to give shout outs to the people helping you

I'd love to document your fitness journey, contact me (mruddick@markruddick.com) to set up your shoot.

- Mark Ruddick Photography is a full service London, Ontario photographer who specializes in fitness, boxing and mma photography