As part of my prep this year, I booked a photoshoot with Fivos Averkiou, a photographer who specialises in physique-type shoots. He’s been a (very good) bodybuilder himself, and is also the guy who shoots the official stage photos at most of the bodybuilding shows I’ve ever done, so was the obvious choice!
It’s something I’ve been promising myself for a while, and I thought… well, I guess I thought why not! I wanted a record of how I look during prep (and I now have a load of useful work/fitness type promo and headshots, which will come in handy for work!)
The day after the shoot, I ached from head to toe and was absolutely shattered! This wasn’t helped by being in the latter stages of a (lonnnng) prep diet, I’m sure, but the shoot was a lot more tiring than I anticipated. We essentially did a high-rep full body workout (something I never do), with lots of holds and squeezes and plenty of posing, too.
I was pretty clueless going into the shoot. I sort of knew what to expect, from sitting in on magazine shoots as a journalist, but this wasn’t editorial. I was also incredibly nervous, despite knowing Fivos very well (Fivos – I can tell you this now – I nearly cancelled on you about five times!)
Things to do before a photoshoot
If there’s anyone else out there who, like me, has booked a physique/sports gym-based shoot for themselves without having the first clue about how to get the most out it, I hope this will help:
I asked Fivos to give me his best advice for anyone else as
clueless nervous new as I was to this kind of thing. Here’s what he had to say.
Who arranges the location and how do you decide what to do when you are there?
Locations are your personal choice, but personally I mainly shoot around London and Essex (where I’m based). Although I have had shoots further up North.
With bodybuilders – what I’m mainly known for – it’s easy to set the shoot criteria as most will want the same kind of thing. I tell them “you train, I shoot”.
I will add in some staged, “static” shots once we’ve got warmed up, which always look cool.
For me, it’s about making the person feel comfortable in front of the lens. Most that shoot with me are bodybuilders/physique athletes, so it’s about coaching them into how the different shots and angles will look, etc.
On the flipside, when I shoot fitness models, it’s the opposite. They tend to be great at getting in the right position, but need instruction when it comes to muscle contractions.
What do you advise people to wear, bring with them?
I generally tell people to wear what they would normally train in. With men, shoots tend to be mostly topless. I also encourage outfit changes throughout the shoot. And, if the person wants, we can to more brand clothing “model shots” at the end of the shoot.
(Thefitwriter says: for example, I brought two tops to my shoot and only wanted a few frames in each: one for the friend who’d kindly sent me one of the tops as a gift, and one of the wording on my favourite training top: Work Hard, Be Nice… can’t really go wrong with that simple mantra! 😉 )
How would you suggest someone prep for a shoot, both in the medium and short term (e.g. getting your body ready, deciding what sort of images you want to go for, and having a tan…)
If they are prepping for a show, I advise people to shoot one week beforehand at the latest. At one week out you are ready to go and have not started any water manipulation etc. You don’t want to do anything which will affect your show prep, but equally you don’t want to be at your shoot in the middle of a carb deplete. I would always advise a great base tan, as it really shows on the images.
Fiv’s five top tips for a physique photoshoot
1) Remember you are paying for the shoot so make sure you get what you want.
2) Check out the photographer’s work and ask around about the photographer’s work ethic (word of mouth is the best recommendation).
3) Choose a photographer who will act professionally on your shoot and ask you permission to release any shots.
4) You pay for the shoot, so you should know exactly what’s going on with your images (I always ask permission from the person I shoot if it’s OK to post an image on social media.
5) Take time to talk to the photographer before the shoot: bounce ideas off each other and get a shoot criteria laid down.
Thanks Fivos, I really enjoyed our shoot and love my images!
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.