Amanda’s photo shoot tips – Part 2
In Part 1 of this article series, Amanda shared some great “big picture” tips on how you can think about and plan for your fitness photo shoot. Now, in Part 2, Amanda’s going to get down to the details including: attire, hair, make-up, nutrition/exercise peaking, and much more.
The details: Hair
Getting back to the little details that can make or break “your look,” let’s get started with your hair. To begin with, you’ll want to make sure that your hair is cut, styled, highlighted, etc about a week before the shoot. In other words, that fresh cut look is not the look you want for your photos.
Also, think about how you’d like to wear your hair during your shoot. If your hair is short, this part is easy. If you have long hair, you may want to choose 2 or 3 different ways to style it. Of course, the smart thing to do is to coordinate your hair style with your outfit.
Think about how you would want your hair to look if you were wearing a sporty outfit, business professional attire, or swim suit. And once you have your hair styles planned out with your outfits, I highly recommend finding a good hair stylist to accompany you that day. Note: your photographer may regularly work with a good stylist so check with him or her first.
Keep in mind, hair stylists are experts at making your hair look awesome on camera. And with their skill set they can easily set your hair in 3-5 different styles to compliment your outfits. The best part is that they’re fast! My stylist did in 10 minutes what would have taken me 30-45 minutes.
Now, if you use a stylist, they should have everything you need on set. However, I’m always sure to bring plenty of hair pins, elastics, decorative pieces, hair spray and any other hair products with me. I never want to be under-prepared.
The details: Makeup
Just as I recommended with hair, I’d also highly recommend having a make-up artist at the studio with you. Often times the expert who takes care of your hair can also tend to your make-up needs. And you can confirm this with your stylist or with your photographer.
Ladies: expect to wear a little more make-up than normal. Your make-up artist will likely bring along her favorite brands, colors and tools. But one thing you’ll want to be sure of is the matching of your cover up. The cover up you may typically wear could be a few shades too light once you get your tan on. So make a visit to the MAC store the week of your photo shoot to ensure you have a matching cover up.
Men: You can expect to wear a little make-up for your photo shoot as well. But don’t worry; your make-up artist will have a cloth ready for you to take it all off before leaving the studio! A little mascara, possibly eye liner, cover up, blush and lip liner are likely what you’ll need. Again, your make-up artist will know just what to do.
Now, I know some of you are thinking that you can do your own hair and makeup. And if you’re trained in this area, go for it. However, if you’re not, let me just say that there’s an art to doing makeup for film and photography. Because the lights are so bright, special hair and makeup tricks are used to really accentuate your facial features. So go professional. You won’t regret it.
The details: Attire
Most people will want to have a variety of outfits in order to create a comprehensive portfolio to keep forever. These might include fitness, formal, professional, casual, and swimwear. Here are a few ideas on each category.
Ladies: Bring things like fancy sports bras, teeny shorts, nice sport tops, capris, yoga pants, and shorts.
Men: Bring things like dri-fit sleeveless shirts, fitted shorts, tank tops, and possibly track pants.
Ladies: Bring a flattering formal dress or two with heels to make those calves really stand out
Men: Bring a fitted suit with tie, cuff links, tie clip and dress shoes
Professional (head shots)
Ladies: Bring the most confident professional outfit you own. This could be a collared shirt, with jacket, a low cut top with blazer, collared shirt with necklace accent, dress pants or skirt
Men: Bring a collared dress shirt with tie, jacket optional
Ladies: Bring out that mini skirt, a fun hat, sexy boots, low cut top, belt and sun glasses. This is a fun photo so make sure your outfit puts a smile on your face. A second outfit for this type of photo might be a worn pair of jeans, flattering camisole, and flats.
Men: Bring an outfit that the ladies can’t take their eyes off of. This will likely be a worn pair of jeans, belt, fitted collared cotton tee and sandals. You may or may not want to have footwear in this photo.
Ladies: Bring a bikini that’s flattering to your physique – make sure it contains padding and not much pattern. Remember, a little pattern is complimentary and too much is distracting. Bring a few suits to allow yourself a little freedom to choose the day of. Also pack along a heeled sandal, sunglasses and a few pieces of accent jewelry. This is not the swimsuit you’d wear for a triathlon, its not functional, its aesthetic.
Men: Be sure to select a suit with not too much pattern and one that won’t be ‘dated’ in the future. Remember these photos will be with you forever. So a plan contemporary suit will be very flattering to your physique and a second surf style short that will show off your sporty, adventurous personality.
Final thoughts on outfit selection:
- It’s critical that you choose outfits that complement your physique. This means that the outfit hides what you want to hide and accentuates what you want to accentuate. For example, if you’ve got a boxy physique, you’ll want to choose something that gives the illusion of a V-taper from your shoulders down to your waist. If you’ve got a small chest, you’ll want to make sure your outfit has built in enhancement and that you aren’t shy in adding some padding of your own. If you’ve got a shapely hour-glass figure, you’ll want to expose and accentuate that. And if you’ve got great abs, make sure your outfits show them off.
- Don’t pack an outfit you haven’t tried it on! Remember, your shape may have changed dramatically as you prepared for this shoot. So rather than throwing random outfits into a suitcase, have a friend over who will tell you the honest truth and try on each and every outfit. That will help to ensure that your outfit selections really do flatter your figure, enhance your personality, and bring confidence to your smile.
The details: Shoes
Shoes are an item you may have to buy to match your outfits. Or, if you’re lucky and have some matches, you can polish them up for the shoot. Just make sure you take the time to polish and shine them up so they too are looking their best.
For skirts, swim suits or capris you’ll want a bit of a heel to show off your calf muscles. Likewise, it just makes sense to have a clean running shoe to go with your fitness outfits. And a playful sandal will look really good with a casual outfit.
Men, you’ll need a dress shoe with your suit, a sandal for casual wear, and running shoes for fitness. Bare feet work really well too for swim suit shots.
The details: Posing
Posing is the combined art of a talented photographer and a practiced subject. So do your part and prepare your poses before your photo shoot.
Begin by browsing through fashion or fitness magazines and analyzing the poses of the models therein. Take special note of the models’ physiques and how they pose them. Next, visit a few online clothing websites to see just what the models are doing to make those outfits appear flattering.
Similar to the ideas above, you’ll want to chose poses that accentuate your assets and hide what you want to hide. For example, again, if you’ve got a boxy midsection, you’ll want to make sure that you always stand with your shoulders and hips perpendicular to each other. Further, if you’re a woman, make sure you stand with your front heel against the instep of your back heel.
These, of course, are just a few tips. During your shoot tell your photographer exactly what you want to accentuate and exactly what you want to hide. If your photographer is good, he or she will be able to direct you to the most flattering position for your physique.
The details: Facial expressions
Your photographer will guide your expression throughout your photo session, but remember this. Do what feels natural, what feels like you. The only difference is emphasis.
In other words, if smiling is your thing and you are always caught with that grin on your face, you may want to use that expression as your default. But really dramatize the expression so the camera captures your enthusiasm on film.
However, if you think you look good with less of a smile, feel free to drop the smile for a few images.
My advice is this: before your shoot, spend some time in the mirror working on your expressions. Get comfortable with them. Even have a friend snap some digital pics of your favorite expressions and analyze them objectively. Figure out which expressions you like best and pull them out during your shoot.
And here’s another tip. To help make your expressions look more authentic, you’ll need a device or two. For genuine smiles, have a few people on set joking around and making you laugh. Also, a powerful technique is to look off camera, nod affirmatively, smile, and then look back toward the camera. Another technique is to start a one-sided conversation with the photographer or another person on set. Incorporate your hand gestures and really getting into the topic.
The details: Props
Many photographers have props on the set, such as a stool to sit on or high back chair to lean into. However, be prepared with some props of your own.
If you have a favorite sport you’d like to be part of your photo, bring with you an implement (golf club, hockey stick, surf board etc.). But again make sure it’s in good working condition, clean and ready for a photo.
Other props include sunglasses, hats, jackets slung over your shoulder, cane and scarves. All of which add nice visual elements to a photo. These may not be items you’d typically use or wear. But they can help to bring out your character in a still photograph, so be creative. Your photographer will love the ingenuity.
The details: Jewelry
Ladies, the jewelry you include for your photo shoot needs to be bigger and more noticeable than what you may typically wear. This is so that the jewel accents actually show up in your photos. A small ear ring won’t sparkle in the lights like a dangling diamond sweeping along the nape of your neck.
Now, the camera won’t depict whether it’s a ‘real diamond’ or costume jewelry, so opt for the latter and have a variety of colors and shapes that embellish your outfits.Your jewelry can include long necklaces, chokers, ear rings, rings, bracelets, anklets, toe rings, nose rings and navel rings. Whatever looks and feels right.
1 month from your shoot: Things you didn’t even know to think about
That’s right, there are a host of additional details that most people don’t even know to think about. Things like water manipulation, skin care, and more. Here are a few tips in this domain, based on how far away from the shoot you are.
One month from the shoot
Fasted cardio: fasted cardio really helped my progress the last month before my shoot. I simply got up every morning and, before eating, walked for 30-60 minutes.
Epsom salt baths: these are good to have throughout your high volume training periods as they are very calming and relaxing. Plus, magnesium based salts help you regulate your water balance and sleep better at night. Here’s how to get started. First, purchase epsom salts at any local drug store, health food store or supermarket. Into a warm tub, add 2 cups of epsom salts. Stay in the tub for about 15-20mins. Grab a good book, some candles, burn incense and you’ll be all set. Expect to sweat quite a bit while soaking. Also, expect your internal body temperature to remain high for up to 2hrs post soaking.
Two weeks from the shoot
Start skin treatments: You’ll want your skin to be smooth for two reasons; visual purposes and for the purpose of tanning. About 2 weeks from the shoot, begin exfoliating with an abrasive loopha ball or gloves to remove dead skin cells. Do this each time you bathe/shower. St. Ive’s scrub/exfoliant is a good brand to use with the loopha ball or gloves. Then, after each shower/bath apply generous amounts of either almond oil (you can get this at local grocer) or Vaseline brand cocoa butter deep conditioning (bronze colored tube/bottle). Make sure you cover your entire body (back included).
Body weight recordings: These should be done immediately after you go to the bathroom first thing every morning. Record these on a calendar daily for two weeks weeks leading up to your photo date. Use the exact same scale for each recording. These are important in helping you (or your coach) determine if your plan needs adjustments.
Tanning: The hot lights of the stage or camera tend to create a “white out” effect, cancelling out those hard earned cuts and ripples. Therefore tanning is always required. To darken your skin you can either visit the tanning salon every other day for two weeks leading up to your shoot. Or you can try spray on tanning solutions (see below).
Preparation H: No matter how great you look, it’s likely you’ll still have a few ‘soft’ spots. One method to help firm up those areas is to apply Preparation H cream – right before tanning. For women include the thighs, buttocks, and possibly lower abdominals. For men, lower back, lower abdominal.
What you’ll do is apply the Preparation H cream and allow it to dry. Next, you’ll apply the tanning lotion over your entire body. It’s best to do this at home, allowing both to dry before hitting the salon. After tanning, don’t bathe or shower for 12 hours. Let the Preparation H and tanning cream work their magic.
One week from the shoot
Hair removal: Getting rid of hair is critical for quality photos. Of course, there are many methods to remove body hair - sugar, wax, shave, Nair. However, keep in mind that you need to be hair-free for 4-5 days without intervention (you don’t want to also remove your tan!). For this reason, most people will need to wax.
For the purpose of a photo shoot, you’ll need to remove hair from the following body parts: LADIES – legs (upper & lower), bikini, lower stomach, hands, and forearms. MEN – chest, back, tricep, neck, and you may need to thin out/remove arm and leg hair.
Tanning paint coat #1: To ensure your tan is dark enough, almost everyone needs a spray on tan. I recommend 2 Mystic Tan coats during the final week. This will take just a few minutes at the tanning salon. Plan on doing this 2-3 days prior to your photo shoot and after your last workout and/or fasted walk. Also, no showers after this.
Tanning paint coat #2: This is for touch-up purposes only and should be done the day before the photo shoot. With one day to go, start to be more critical here with the application. You’ll need to watch for streaking, even/smooth tones etc. Also apply cover up or a tanning solution to face (minimal). Do not overdue the facial application or you may end up with definitive color lines between your neck and chin or an easily noticeable color difference between your face and the rest of your body.
Tanning notes: The gal at the salon will provide you with a cream solution to coat your joints with. Be sure to cover your toes, front of ankles, knee creases, elbows, and knuckles. This helps prevent these areas, which are prone to become really dark, from taking on too much color.
Also, expect to be shivering while the spray is covering you…the stuff isn’t warm. Luckily it won’t take long. But don’t rush to get dressed after the spray is complete. Let the solution dry, and if you need to, dab moist areas lightly with a dark colored towel. You can use a warm/cool hair dryer to speed up the dry time if one is provided. Or you can bring one along with you.
Also, no undergarments until your body is completely dry. Have a dark colored comfy, loose fitting outfit to where home. To this end, you will need to put a dark colored bed sheet in between your current sheets to sleep on until after you shower the evening of your photo shoot. Plan on wearing dark colored, loose fitting clothing for the next few days.
I’ve mentioned loose fitting clothing here a few times, and that is because you don’t want ‘elastic lines’ in your photos. Your body will hold on to those creases more than usual as you deplete your body of water. So for most its best to ‘go commando’ as they say for the night before your photo shoot and the day of.
Your peak week
Most seasoned physique competitors know that carb, water, and sodium manipulation during the last week before a contest or photo shoot can make all the difference. So here’s the peaking strategy JB recommends.
|CARB INTAKE||PROTEIN INTAKE||FAT INTAKE||WATER||DIURETICS||SALT||EXERCISE|
|Sunday||< 50g. No fruits, starches, sugars||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||½ g per pound of body weight||2 gallons||None||Salt food||Cardio workout|
|Monday||< 50g. No fruits, starches, sugars||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||½ g per pound of body weight||3 gallons||None||Salt food||Whole body depletion workout|
|Tuesday||< 50g. No fruits, starches, sugars||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||½ g per pound of body weight||3 gallons||None||Salt food||Whole body depletion workout|
|Wednesday||½ gram per pound of body weight||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||½ g per pound of body weight||1 gallon||None||No salt||Whole body depletion workout|
|Thursday||1 gram per pound of body weight||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||¼ g per pound of body weight||0.25 gallon||Herbal, if necessary||No salt||OFF|
|Friday||2 grams per pound of body weight||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||¼ g per pound of body weight||Small sips, < 8oz all day||Herbal, if necessary||No salt||OFF|
|Saturday - Photo Shoot||2 grams per pound of body weight||5 meals, 1 serving per meal||¼ g per pound of body weight||Small sips, < 8oz before shoot||Herbal, if necessary||No salt||OFF|
- Schedule assumes photo shoot will take place on a Saturday and can be adjusted accordingly
- A portion of protein equals 20 g protein for women and 40 g protein for men
- As your water intake increases, adding lemon can help increase the palatability
- For the diuretic, we’ve used MRM’s H2O Lean, as directed on the label, with success
- During the last 2 days your mouth will be dry. Using a water spritzer or chewing gum can help
Finding a photographer
Also, if you’re looking for a photographer to get started, I highly recommend contacting Precision Nutrition’s Jason Grenci. Not only is he the guy that did my shoot, JB’s shoot, and Erin’s shoot. He also did all the photos for our highly acclaimed Gourmet Nutrition cookbook.
It’s a wrap
In the end, this two part article series has shared quite a lot of tips and strategies for looking your best, whether it’s for a photo shoot, physique contest, or just a special occasion. Each one of them played an important part in my success as a competitor and in front of the camera.
Truthfully, I’m really lucky to have had an excellent support system around me, teaching me about these details as I went through the process. If you have some folks around you that know what they’re doing, take advantage! If not, you can always come back to these articles and let me guide you through the process.
To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, check out the following 5-day video courses.
They’re probably better than 90% of the seminars we’ve ever attended on the subjects of exercise and nutrition (and probably better than a few we’ve given ourselves, too).
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