“Run! Ruuuuuuuuuunn!” “Do it again” “Again” “AGAIN”. Jennifer had already broken a sweat, this was her seventh sprint on a hot San Diego day and we were just getting started. “Do it again!” She bursts out of the blocks, and as she reaches her stride I’m firing 8 frames a second. There it is… at 1/1000 sec. “Got It!” I yell. She looks at me “you suck!”. She walks over to me and my assistant, I turn the laptop so she can see. There is this raging shot, her legs are extended and strong, her arms look strong, the determination on her face is palpable, the beads sweat on her face are beautiful, she is completely “in state” and the picture rocks. She smiles… “Awwwwwww, you don’t really suck. What’s next?”
If you are in the fitness industry in any capacity chances are that you have experienced a “fitness photo shoot”. Whether it be for an apparel company, a sporting goods company, a celebrity personal trainer, a professional athlete or something related to fitness modeling you likely saw something resembling this; said athlete posing with a piece of equipment or “pretending” to run, lift, bike, squat, swing, etc…. Can I be honest? What a bunch of crap! The result, “pretty pictures” with barely a hair out of place and not a wrinkle in the clothing. Is that really what you want? I saw just such a “behind the scenes” video the other day for a major apparel line (that I will not name) and a photographer who looked liked he had never set foot inside of the gym (seriously, at one point he attempted a pull-up… attempted). Everything was staged, coiffed, primped and exasperatingly boring. The make-up artist sprayed “glycerine and water to mimic sweat” on the “athletes” and then they preceded to pretend to work out. As you might imagine, the photo’s came out perfect…. perfectly boring!
We have one client that affectionately calls me “the drill sergeant”. Why? In most cases a photoshoot with me is the hardest workout they will have all month. And I’m right there with them. If you were to poll my clients they would tell you that I’m either running, slogging in the mud, up to my neck in water, standing on the edge or hanging from something to get the perfect shot. You can’t fake impact! My goal for every shot is that millisecond when an athlete is in a state of flow, when 1000% of their attention is committed and they are experiencing “peak performance”. You can’t even see it in the view finder, but you feel it, they feel it, and when it happens it’s magic.
And we leave the spray bottle at home!
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