I have noticed a growing demand for fitness photography recently – which I am taking as confirmation of a fun new rising photography trend: fitness portraits.
(Other recent photography trends include: Anne Geddes babies, black and white baby parts, smash the cake, trash the dress, pet portraits, maternity boudoir, boudoir boudoir, seniors, crazy wedding composites…and so on…)
In the past, a lot of my fitness work involved aspiring models or fitness instructors. However, most of the requests that are coming in now involve everyday people who just want some killer images to post on social media (which I personally think is awesome).
I’m sure some will complain about selfie culture, body obsession or whatever – but as a photographer I’m seeing a fantastic opportunity to earn some easy money.
First of all, taking photos of good looking fit people is a million times less work than pretty much any other portrait photography genre out there (especially anything involving kids – kids are evil).
I am generalizing of course, but for the most part these are people who want to look good, are confident in front of the camera and are excited about the whole photography process.
On the technical side, you can’t take a good fitness portrait without at least a little bit of studio lighting knowledge (here is breakdown of my typical studio fitness portrait lighting setup).
Clients are looking for photographers who can deliver that edgy, sculpted dramatic lighting look we’re used to seeing associated with fitness photography (or in other words, the slightly elevated level of technical proficiency required to produce the style of fitness portraits that clients want excludes the hordes of natural light photographers, drastically reducing the supply side of the equation) – which is good for business.
Fitness Portrait Photography Clients
As I mentioned in the intro, I am getting a lot of fitness portrait requests from everyday people who work hard in the gym to achieve their own personal fitness goals.
When you pull out the studio lighting and the spray bottle the whole photography session takes on the feeling of a professional magazine shoot (which it pretty much is).
Clients love the whole experience of feeling and looking like a fitness magazine cover model so you’re selling both the experience and the finished images – again great for business!
It also helps that gym rats are usually pretty competitive – so one fitness portrait photo session usually leads to piles of referrals.
Right now I am getting mostly female clients, but unlike boudoir photography (which is relatively similar in terms of client motivation, photography process and sales) fitness portrait photography extends to men as well – and people in a much broader age bracket.
Artistically, I really enjoy working with clients to showcase their physique in the context of a specific sport or activity that holds a special meaning to them.
Working with gym owners is also a great way to reach new clients – and most owners are happy to have you photograph a session in their gym in exchange for a few photos that they can use for promotion.
For example, here is a session that I partnered with a CrossFit gym to photograph a number of their members:
What Do You Think?
Are you excited about the growing trend of fitness photography?
Will you incorporate fitness photography into your photography studio business model?
Or are you appalled that people would want to pay for fitness photography to showcase their physique online?
Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!