Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Prepping for a Photo Shoot

Photo shoots can be exciting but also a scary process. You want your pictures to come out the best that they can to show off your hard work, but you also do not want to do anything to possibly set yourself back! You have put in the work in the gym and your diet is showcasing it. Now what?

Since I am about to start my own personal countdown to getting ready for a photo shoot that is only a week away- here is my general strategy and some helpful hints you might not have otherwise thought about. Even if you are working with an experienced photographer, you need to do your part to ensure that you look your best on the big day. Most photographers actually are not experts in fitness photography (which is all about lighting), so be ready to help them out so that you are happy with your pictures.

Photo Shoot Prep Schedule:

Things you should start on before a week out-

  • Find a good photographer. Ask if they have ever done fitness photography. If you cannot not find anyone near you who specializes in fitness, look for someone who does boudoir photography- it is the next closest thing! All of my photos that you see on my blog are done by Forever Grace Photography. Erin is very talented and I highly recommend her.
  • Getting nice base tan (maybe 5-10 sessions)
  • Make a hair appointment (touch up color and trim)
  • Pick out poses that work with your body and practice them in the mirror. I like to look through pictures online to find poses that might work and then pin them to Pinterest to store them in one place.
  • Choose a flattering swimsuit and/or outfit in a solid color (It will appear less dated in the future than a print and will not distract from your body. Make sure it will stand out against the backdrop- no black bikini on a black backdrop for example. Here are some color suggestions based on your coloring.)
  • 5" heels- preferably clear like the one pictured above or nude will work. Choose a pair without a strap at the ankle (it will cut your leg line). It is okay to wear athletic shoes with fitness outfits- just know your legs will look better if you pose on your toes.
  • Book spray tan appt. Find a human being to spray you and get it as dark as possible (Preferably 24 hours before the shoot but up to 48 hours out) You will look freakishly dark, it is okay. The lighting will make you look normally colored, I promise! Get some touch up spray in case of a boo-boo!
  • Get a cheap full length mirror to take to the shoot. (Why? You can stand it up beside the photographer so you can see yourself posing and get the most flattering angle possible. You probably know how to present yourself better than the photographer, especially if you have been practicing. A friend who knows you well, and that you may have practiced your poses in front of, is also helpful to have at the shoot to help direct your movement.)

This is what a great prep and photographer can do for you

5 days before shoot 

  • Start 24H fasts (dinner-dinner), make your nightly meal high protein with lots of veggies, lower carb. I like to finish with Greek yogurt and fruit. Make sure to take a multi-vitamin.
  • drop carbonated bevs thru shoot day,
  • start wearing retainer at night for straight pearlies thru shoot day.

4 days before shoot 

  • Print out poses for shoot,
  • Start Whitestrips express (5 day type) daily thru shoot,
  • continue 24H dinner to dinner fasts as above.

3 Days before shoot

  • Start water load (as much water as possible- aim for 2X's regular intake), I also take magnesium/calcium tablets to prevent cramping. The water load and deplete is to remove any subcutaneous water which will decrease the appearance of cellulite and enhance your musculature.
  • continue Whitestrips express daily thru shoot,
  • continue 24H dinner to dinner fasts as above.
  • last day to workout (to give enough time for any DOMS to subside)

2 Days before shoot 

  • Last day of carbs,
  • continue Whitestrips express daily thru shoot,
  • make sure everything is cleaned/pressed/fits,
  • exfoliate in shower that night to prep for tan,
  • Stop any workouts until after shoot,
  • continue water load,
  • continue 24H dinner fasts.

1 Day before shoot 

  • small breakfast- then fast until shoot,
  • continue Whitestrips express daily thru shoot,
  • optional gylcogen deplete workout (light weights, high reps, full body),
  • get spray tan,
  • Start water deplete between 2-7 PM, do not drink anymore than small sips when necessary
  • pack up outfits, props, mirror

Day of the shoot

  • Buy newspaper if you are doing this for a contest (like Venus Index or Adonis Index),
  • do last whitestrip treatment,
  • touch up tan,
  • darker makeup than normal (lighting washes you out, so EVERYTHING needs to be applied in a deeper color- base, eyes, blush, lips) and simple hair (straight or lightly curled, and take an elastic to put hair up in some photos into pony)
  • little to no water until end of shoot,
  •  pump up before shoot (lunges/squats, pushups, curls, calf raises)

Other advice from people who know their stuff: 

My friend Roberta (pictured above in the white and pink bikini) wrote a 3 part series on Preparing for your Photo Shoot that was great too. She helped me prep for my first ever shoot, and without her guidance on lighting, I do not think my photographer and I could have gotten it right! We were both total noobs to fitness photography at my first ever shoot. We used halogen work lights like these on my first shoot as Ro suggested, and she showed me how to set them up. (We used aluminum foil to funnel the light though, instead of tar paper like she does.) It is funny looking back at it now, since Erin is a real pro now with the real lighting and studio equipment.

Click below to read Ro's series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Another great read is this post on photo shoot prep by Roman at Roman Fitness Systems. As a lady you need to scale down what he does, but he still covers many bases. I tried his carb loading once and it did not work for me. But I bloat like a whale (I am talking documented 8-13 pound bloat on occasion) so that is probably why.

These are my personal results from using my "Hail Mary" plan above:

1 week out from shoot
Day of shoot
VI GOAL for 5’9”

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions or need more explanation as to the why on some of this.