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My first steps in fitness photography

Disclaimer, some of the following images were modified since their first publication.

Since the beginning of this year, I wanted to step outside the dance world. My route led me towards circus artists, pole dancers, and crossfitters. I wondered if there were other athletes and sportsmen and women in my area. I quickly found out that there were amazing talents not too far from me.

Priscilla is one of them. She is a fitness model, part of Team France IFBB and she has won several competitions like the 1st place during the France IFBB Bikini 2013, 1st at the Universe championships WPF Bikini 2012 and at the European Championships WPF Bikini 2012, just to name a few. With this impressive background, I had the opportunity to make my first step in the fitness world. A unique chance to explore a bit more about these men and women shaping their bodies and boosting their performances.

I wanted a simple theme for this first meeting, only a few pictures of her exercising outdoors. I wanted to avoid being in a gym for my first one, because my session with crossfitters, a few weeks back, was made indoor. I didn't want to go too crazy on the ideas as this was my first time working with a fitness model. We met on the German side of the Jardin des 2 rives for a shoot that started at 7pm. This gave us time to set up properly and discuss the type of pictures I wanted. Once we were all set, the photo shoot started... we we're less than 2 hours from sunset, just enough time to make a few grabs with the benefit of having the wonderful light of the golden hour.

Let me share with you some info and lighting diagrams on 2 selected pictures :

Canon 5D Mark III 85mm 1.8 ISO100 - F8 - 1/80

A simple Portrait shot with Priscilla with her back slightly going in the opposite direction of the flash, which is placed at an angle of 45 degrees to the left of the camera. The sun is hitting her back to make a slight rim light and helps her stand out from the background. I wanted to emphasize Priscilla's posture and separate her from the rest.

Canon 5D mark III 50mm 1.4 ISO100 - F6.3 - 1/60

Here we used the sun as a sidelight. It's hitting her on the back left and we placed the Para 88 almost on the opposite side. The idea was to use the sun as a secondary “natural strobe”. The aim of this final image was to keep the ambient light and have a natural feel.

We managed to wrap up on time, but I felt we could have done much more together. We surely will meet again for something a bit more original and exciting. This first session gave me a bunch of ideas. This was only my first step in the fitness world. I can't wait to make the second.


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