gym

Fitness Shoot with @a_cabrera805

Amanda Cabrerra is an Air Force Veteran, gym/fitness enthusiast,and part time model.

Amanda and I met up at the gym early on a Sunday morning for our shoot.  I arrived early so that I could get my camera set up and ready to go. During this shoot Amanda was working toward her goal of entering her first fitness competition. Her show was still a few months out but at the time of our shoot but her focus during the workout was on point. I've learned in my time working with fitness enthusiasts. Among a few of those things is when it comes to taking your training to a competition level a lot changes with your approach toward both dieting and training.

We started out warming up on the stair climber. It was a cold morning so that meant some light cardio was needed to get the blood flowing.  After a quick ten minute climb we moved straight into the weight room. For todays workout Amanda was scheduled for legs and shoulders.  She started with the Hammer Strength Plate-Loaded V-Squat machine. This pice of equipment was among one of Amanda's favorite to use for the legs and over all lower body work.  From there we moved to the leg press where her strength began to show.  Loading the sled up with 230 lbs. (not including the weight of the sled)

This shoot marked my first time photographing an entire workout. I had taken photos many times before in this facility however The lighting had been upgraded since my last visit.  I used my 35mm prime lens on this shoot. My settings were all over the place while I learned the lighting at each of the equipments locations.  I started out with a shutter speed of 1/30s f2.2 and ISO400.  This resulted in a lot of motion blur and because of the low depth of field I had a lot of the shots taken in the beginning out of focus. I compensated by boosting my ISO to 800 changed my shutter speed to 1/100s at f2.8 and found that those settings worked best under this gyms new lighting conditions.

On leg day we train legs. So after warming up on the stairs, hitting sets on both the V-squat machine and leg press it was time for some smith machine squats. Everyone is different when it comes to their choice of gym equipment. I am more of a free weight lifter doing movmints like backsquats, front squats, and deadlifts with a barbell. That doesn't mean that there is one type of lifting to rule them all. Durring the breaks between lifting Amanda shared her expierence with both free weights and machines. It was after years of training that she found her body responded best when training with a machine vs free weights.

When we finished with the last set of squats it was time to put the shoulders to work. Moving to the cable machine for some standing shoulder press and then finishing the workout with some strict over head press work with the barbell.  Afterward we went over to the fitness room for a few posed shots and called it a day.

After finishing up with the shoot I had my settings memorized for future shoots at this gym. I also got the chance to add a few more photos to my portfolio and learned a lot more about the mentality an athlete has when training for a competition. For some the goal might be the expierence of entering a show where as for others the goal is to win. That focus on success can be seen in the eyes of athletes while they train, and with Amanda that look was very apparent as she lifted. 

How about you? Have you ever prepped for a fitness competition? How far out did you begin your cut, and if it was your first show did you have fun? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Fitness Shoot with @lift_mor Part 2

If you haven't had a chance to read part one you can click HERE for that blog

Back in the gym with Garrett who during the time of this shoot was five weeks out from his show. This time he has invited his girlfriend/ lifting partner Melissa to join in on the workout as well.  Both Garrett and Mellissa have been on the road to the big show for a few months now, and seeing their progress in comparison to the first time we worked together is unreal.  The photos only show a small part of the work involved to achieving greatness.  For these two there are hours of hard work put in each and every day.  From early mornings of fasted cardio, to working out twice a day at times to shock the body while trying to  force it to retain every ounce of muscle during the cutting phase.  The gym isn't the only place where they put in the work.  Outside of the gym things like calorie counting, meal prepping, low carb days, and re-feed days are meticulously monitored, tracked, logged, and tweaked along the way.

For todays session Melissa came prepared with a workout routine.  They both started with some cable moments to warm up with then moved to the cable rows and cable lat pull downs.  Melissa along with being a personal trainer has also competed before and has developed a muscle maturity that comes with years of training.  

After the light cable work we moved to the weight room for some free weight arm work as well as training the legs.  Garrett had shed quite a lot of his bulking weight since we last saw one another and he is beginning to show more chiseled definition to his physique.

 I tried a few different things during this shoot.  After talking about my style of work with my engagement photographer DeeDee (link to her website HERE) she recommended I try using my 50mm lens because it was her in experience better than the 35mm in low light situations.  Another new style I tried was shooting wide angle photos.  Melissa was interested in seeing the entire physique in the photos so to deliver those types of images I reached for my 18-55mm kit lens (the nikon 14-24mm glass just yet).  Shooting with both a 50mm and 18mm lens was a fun and welcome challenge.  For the 50mm my workspace was a lot tighter looking through the viewfinder, and with limited space to back up in the gym it was fun learning to adapt to the new conditions.  With the 18mm lens I had to keep distortion in mind when framing my shots.  For anyone who is unfamiliar I will give you the short and easy. When shooting with a wide angle lens anything near the edge of your frame is stretched or "distorted" you can read more about it HERE.  

When taking photos with the wide angle lens I made sure to center my subject in the frame and tried to leave extra space all around the edges so that any excess distortion could be cropped out during processing.  

After a great workout session with these two we moved into a separate room to finish with some pose practice. This session was shot on a Saturday when the gym opened. We were all surprised at the amount of people in at that hour. I prefer working in a semi empty facility so as to not weird out any members with my camera, and mainly to not have anyone that might be a distraction in the background of my photos.  Once I imported the filesinto Lightroom I went through my selection process.  I was really pleased with the images I got from both the wide angle lens and 50mm prime. Having worked in this gym a number of times before I have memorized all the camera settings for each room, and I feel like I've been able to capture much better shots when I don't have to look at my camera to see if I have the right exposure or shutter speed.  It also makes editing in Lightroom so much faster.  All in all it was another awesome time working with Garrett and Melissa.  

You can follow their instagram for more updates as they make their way to the big show on May 28th in Culver City, and Melissas YouTube channel for some great vlogs and fitness advice, links down below.

How about you? Have you ever prepped for a fitness competition? How far out did you begin your cut, and if it was your first show did you have fun? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above. 

Garrett Instagram : @lift_mor

Melissa Instagram : @melissa_fitlifestylz

Melissa YouTube : Melissa Weatherby

Fitness Shoot with @lift_mor Part 1

Garrett Glover serves active duty with our United States Air Force, graduated with an MBA from Oklahoma State University, and is an NPC Bodybuilder who trains primarily on the central coast of California.

Garrett and I both trained at the same gym (Western Village Health Club) in Santa Maria. However it was through Instagram where we found our common interest for the sport of bodybuilding. After Garrett mentioned he would be competing in a Bodybuilding competition so we scheduled a time to shoot some pre competition photos.  We talked about having two photoshoots. The first would be thirty weeks out, and the second would be much closer to his show.  Its good to see the progress you've made as well as have photos to critique physique and areas you may want to build upon.

We met up early on a Sunday morning when the gym opened for the day.  It was quiet with only the regulars getting their morning workout sessions done.  I like an empty gym for photo shoots. All the equipment is readily available and there is less of a chance to distracting someones workout with my camera.  Garrett started out warming up with some cable movements before moving into the weight room for some free weight work.  Today was an accessory day so the workout consisted of a wide range of movements.  Afterward we headed into the spin cycle room for some pose practice.  Since he was so far out from his show the progress he would see in the weeks to come would be tremendous and having these picture to study and look back on would act as a motivator on the road toward the competition. 

The lighting in this gym was really great for our shoot.  I decided to only use my 35mm lens for the workout portion. My settings were ISO 800, f/2.8, and 1/125 of a sec.  The lighting is slightly brighter in the weight room so I compensated by increasing my shutter speed and left the rest of my settings the same.  Be sure and follow for Part 2 with Garretts transformation pics just days out from his show.

How about you? Heve you taken any gym photos? When did you take yours, and were you the model or the photographer? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.

Fitness Shoot with @miss_suarezz

Crystal Suarez certified personal trainer, sponsored athlete, and in full prep mode for her upcoming competition. 

While most people are still asleep Crystal was starting the morning with her first workout of the day. She started with a few warm up movements to get the blood flowing while I dialed in the settings on my camera. With an empty gym we had uninterrupted access to all the equipment. Crystals workout was focused on accessory work. This included biceps, abs, squats with varied foot positions, and triceps.

focused on the movment

The gyms lighting was perfect, shooting conditions were great. I prefer to shoot under natural lighting conditions. Especially in a public place like a gym. I used my 35mm prime lens for this workout with my ISO set to 800, shutter speed 1/100s at f/2.5. Before I work with any athlete I tell them that this will be a real workout. I don't ask for poses, and I try not to interrupt the workout.  I like to let each person do what they do best while I capture the shots.  I take a very candid approach to my fitness photography.

We ended the fitness shoot with a pose routine. After a workout is the best time to flex.  The muscles are pumped, and look a lot fuller For this part of the photoshoot I used my 85mm prime lens.  I like this lens for portraits, and posing photos when I have the room to stand at a distance.  If the area is too small I use my nifty 50. These last photos were shot at ISO 800, 1/125s, f/2.5. 

Front Double Bicep

The compression, and bokeh this lens delivers is amazing.  We photographed in the yoga room where they had mirrors mounted to the walls on either side of the room.  One thing I don't like doing is going into photoshop to edit myself out whenever there are mirrors.  Hiding behind the model, equipment, or out of the frame is just another thing I add to the checklist when looking through the lens.

How about you? Heve you taken any gym photos? When did you take yours, and were you the model or the photographer? Let me know in the comment section. If you are new to the blog, welcome! Be sure to head over to Facebook and add my photography page. Also you can follow me on Instagram links located above.