4 things you need to note to nail your first physique photoshoot

“How do I prep for a photoshoot?” is probably the most asked question.

A photoshoot prep can be quite nerve wreaking for some, especially if it’s your first every shoot.  

1. Getting “photo shoot ready”  

There’s really no point in taking pictures if you’re not ready for them. “Photo shoot ready” can mean a lot of different things to different people.  

Some of the models that I have worked with usually engaged my services when they are preparing for a competition/contest/show. In my opinion, there is a difference between being ‘shoot ready’ and ‘contest ready’. The latter condition is usually leaner and drier, but I do not usually recommend my models to come to shoots in that condition as one may appear gaunt and haggard in the final product, even though the physique might be on point. However, some models have nailed their contest prep and can still look amazing on photos. 

Like what I usually tell my models, you know your body best and how it would react to your dieting and prep. There is no cookie cutter plan to achieve a ‘shoot ready’ physique, so sometimes it’s all trial and error for the model as well. 

“So do I shoot BEFORE or AFTER my show?” 

Physique shoots can be very tiring, as it requires a lot of tensing and flexing. My recommendation is usually either a few days before your show (1-2 days) or the day AFTER your show (provided you do not pig out after your show). This is usually when the physique is at it’s fullest and will look great on photos. Plus, you won’t tire yourself out too much. 

Here’s some of the area of the physique that a model should focus on: 

  • ABS – for guys, very visible six pack. For ladies, the outline of your abs should be visible. 
  • ARMS – for both men and women, there should be noticeable delineation between your shoulders and your arms. 
  • BACK – very well defined. You don’t need to be able to see your infraspinatus, but separation between superficial muscles like the traps and lats should be obvious. 
  • LEGS – they should look at least a bit defined, but don’t need to have clear delineation between each head of the quadriceps. 
  • VASCULARITY - usually an indication of a model’s ‘condition’, so  being able to get a your vascularity on during the shoot is a plus. 

2. Get Your Tan On! 

Whether you are shooting in a studio, or outdoors, getting a tan before the shoot is very very important. If your skin tone is naturally pale, a great tan will bring out the details of your physique more. Just like contest prep, there is also a difference between a shoot tan, and a show tan. The shoot tan is usually lighter and will look better on camera. I would recommend Tan At Home (www.tanathome.com) as I have worked with some of their clients and their tans are always on point. 

It’s important that on the day of the shoot the tan is rinsed so that it can congeal with the body oil that needs to be applied for the shoot. 

3. Getting ready for the shoot. 

 It is very crucial that you rest early the night before the shoot in order to bring your very best the next day. This would affect the energy level of the shoot, and would eventually translate into photos. 

Shooting outdoors in Singapore can be a ‘torture’ sometimes due to the heat and the humidity. Always bring a bottle water and a towel to wipe off any perspiration. If you need to eat something before the shoot, feel free to bring along as well. 

It’s also important that you choose the appropriate clothing, sportswear, swimwear and underwear that will show you at your best. Colour choice is also a factor. 

Arrive 15 mins early to the shoot location so that you can do a little pump up prior to the shoot. Push ups and resistance bands can help get a little blood into the muscles. 

4. Have fun 

“Just have fun!” is what I always tell my models just before we start shooting. I love joking and talking with my models. This is to firstly trying to understand the model and his character, especially those that I have worked with for the first time. At the same time, I want to make sure my models are at ease and feels comfortable shooting with me.  

It’s all about chemistry.  

The first few shots that I take are usually test shots, which I will then be able to tell how the model is able to get into character and different poses, and also which poses and angles suits the model to showcase their physique at its best. It is usually after about 50 frames that I will be able to get into the shoot proper. This will then determine how much direction is needed for the model in subsequent shots. It is thus very important that the model is able to take directions from the photographer. 

Like I said always, photography is a collaboration between the model and the photographer. I love teaching my models new ways to pose, and exchanging new ideas. And these can even be applied to your stage competitions as well. As to what I teach? You’ll have to book a shoot with me to find out!

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