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People frequently ask me what I do to prepare for a photo shoot.  I know, first world problems here!  Whether it’s personal or for publication, my routine is typically the same.  Having been featured on the cover of 7 publications and within the pages of several top health and fitness magazines, I’ve done this a few times before and I’m happy to share what works for me.   If you are hoping I’m sharing some deep dark secret to this, some crazy quick fix or some rapid weight loss strategy, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there are no shortcuts within my method.

I live this lifestyle day in and day out.  I maintain a healthy body year round to the best of my ability and while I am human and fluctuate occasionally due to stress, hormones, illness, holidays or travel, I don’t ever go completely off the rails.  This enables me to be “photo shoot” ready pretty much year round or at least within a week or two.  I have discovered balance in my life when it comes to family, food, fitness and fun and I’d personally have it no other way!

Preparing for a Photo Shoot

You’ve put in the hard work in the gym and in the kitchen. You’re proud of your body and you’re ready to show it off, so you want to book a photo shoot…but what next? Preparing for a photo shoot can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done it before. The good news is it doesn’t need to be! I’ve put together some key points to ensure you are camera ready when the big day rolls around.

Hire a professional photographer

Remember, you get what you pay for. Be leery of anyone soliciting a “free” photo shoot and always trust your gut. Ask friends or others in the fitness industry for referrals when in doubt and always do your research. Check out their website, get familiar with their style and if it doesn’t feel right to you, move on. There are many skilled professional photographers in the fitness industry, so search for one that you feel confident in. If at any time you are not comfortable, speak up or leave. Your safety or your morals should never be compromised.  I work with many amazing photographers, so if you ever need a referral, just ask!

Makeup and hair

Just as you are hiring a photographer, it’s a good idea (unless you are a makeup artist) to hire a professional MUA to ensure a stress free shoot and any transitional looks. It’s not enough to think you do a decent job so you’ll just wing it yourself…trust me, it’s not the same as what’s necessary for a photo shoot.  Connect prior and share ideas and images to give them an idea of what you are looking to achieve or how you prefer your makeup and features be highlighted. If you don’t know a great MUA, ask the photographer for some options as they often have one or many they consistently collaborate with.

Buff and Shine (aka Tanning, waxing, hair, nails…)

The days leading up to a photo-shoot can feel like peak week for a bikini or figure competition. If you are in need of any of the above, be sure to book it well in advance to ensure you are on point the day of your shoot. A spray tan is suggested to give you a nice healthy glow because it photographs better and highlights your muscles. Think subtle, not stage or competition color, just to enhance your skin tone. For nails, soft subtle colors or French manicures photograph best. You don’t want bright, flashy nails that draw attention in a fitness shoot when your physique is the focal point.  And lastly, you don’t want hair anywhere it shouldn’t be!


If wardrobe is not provided for you, bring many options, even more than you anticipate needing. A minimum of 4 different looks is a good idea with a focus on bright solid pieces, since they photograph best under bright lights. Patterns can be distracting and lighter shades can wash out so keep that in mind. Bring several different shoe options as well as a pair of heels since they’ll make your legs look best even if your feet are not in the image.


Be sure to eat prior so you don’t tap out early. Holding poses and flexing for many hours can actually be tough work contrary to what you may think! Get in a decent meal that will not bloat you in advance. Eat foods that you know your body digests well, no time to try something new.  Bring additional food and snacks to have on hand and always stay hydrated.

Be Professional

Time is money, so have the discussion in advance of what looks you’d like to achieve and bring any and all items necessary to achieve them. If you need accessories, props, etc. bring it! Be on time and arrive with a clean face and hair ready to let the makeup artist get down to business. Just remember, professionalism works both ways.   If you’re not pleasant to work with, it will not likely be forgotten. Be the girl willing to go above and beyond, especially if you are being hired to promote a product or service. In the case you have hired the photographer, be sure to make the most out of the service you’ve paid for since you’ve worked hard to get here.


Always be a credit giver! If there’s one thing that chaps the ass of a photographer or makeup artist, it’s sharing images without crediting them. It doesn’t take much effort to ensure their skill and talent is recognized, so be sure to tag those behind the scenes if you are planning on sharing any images.