How to shoot a fitness magazine cover shot. Prep, poses & lighting for fitness photography

I want to show you the prep, the poses and the lighting that go into shooting one of those classic fitness magazine covers that you see in the supermarket checkout line. White background, clean, crisp commercial lighting, three quarter length pose, really fit and sexy subject who looks really happy. Now do you know what I am talking about?

Fitness photography is actually pretty easy to do with the right gear and planning. So let’s talk first about why you would do it or should you do it the next time you are working with a model on his or her portfolio.

If you are a photographer that works with models this type of fitness shot can serve several purposes in a modeling portfolio.

1. It looks like a tearsheet. I am not suggesting you ad a title and words and make a pretend fitness magazine cover. Please don’t be that photographer. I am simply pointing out the psychology – since the photo looks like one of those shots you see on the magazines – it has a subliminal effect of making the model look experienced. We are not saying that he or she was actually on a cover.
2. This shot is a great body shot for the models book. Contrary to what Tyra Banks and Janice Dickinson claimed in their reality TV shows – a model doesn’t have to pose nude. In fact a model doesn’t have to pose in lingerie or even a swimsuit if that makes them uncomfortable. From a business perspective it is an economy of scale – the more things the model is comfortable with – then the more opportunities that may exist. All that said, if you are working with a model that is uncomfortable being photographed in swimwear or lingerie – the fitness shot is a great way to be able to show off body proportions without showing too much skin.
3. It’s a great way to show that the model really is in great shape. Action fitness poses are often not the most flattering. Even though this type of shot is very commercial and even kind of cheesy – it provides a modeling agency and potential client with a LOT of valuable information about the model.

set.a.light 3D by Elixxier Software GmbH

SUBSCRIBE so that you don’t miss NEW VIDEOS!

Help me HELP YOU:




– Like & Follow on FACEBOOK:
– Follow on TWITTER:
– Follow on INSTAGRAM:
– Check my boards on PINTEREST:
– Connect on LINKEDIN:
– Connect on GOOGLE+:

FTC – set.a.light 3D software was supplied to me by Elixxier Software GmbH. No payment was received for making this video and all opinions are my own.
#ishootpeople #joeedelman

This entry was posted in Get Fit Magazine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to How to shoot a fitness magazine cover shot. Prep, poses & lighting for fitness photography

  1. John Skiggs says:

    Some very valuable pointers – Thanks 🙂

  2. Ivona Humpalot says:

    What is the name of the software ur usin

  3. Nicole Matthews says:

    Cute model ❤️ I definitely learned a lot from you and have been on 2 covers since!! A photographer I’m shooting with sent me this link, he loves your work and tutorials. Hope all is well! Xo Nicole

  4. Dennis Cruz says:

    Is that Nicole Matthews?

  5. Eduardo Alcalá says:

    Joe, you are unsurpassable when it comes to tutorials. I have learned from you more than from any other photographer out there, and I've seen quite a few, thanks a millior sir, wish you lots of health!

  6. Allan Barros says:

    Nice! I just got an internship with an elite fitness magazine. I'm so stoked to have come across this.

  7. Stefan Magh says:

    I really like the interesting and simple way you are explaining. I have learned a lot. Thank you!

  8. Jarmal Wilcox says:

    You are my hero m8

  9. Vladyslav Svyrydenko says:

    Joe, thanks for this great video. We will be having our first fitness model shoot in several weeks. I have a question: can softboxes be replaced with shoot-through or silver umbrellas? Large ones. Thanks

  10. Phillip Dean says:

    Great video. I find your work inspirational.

  11. mac 740 says:

    Joe, thank you for the great video! I especially like the technical aspects you bring to each situation. I never "thought" about camera placement for the full-body shot, I always shoot head shots or shoulder on up. Please keep the videos coming and keep us "thinking"!

  12. Mike Portaels says:

    Hi Joe, I have a question … in one of your previous videos you mentioned that lightning should always come from above since our mind is used to this. But in the lightning setup in this video there is a softbox below the model aiming upwards. Ain't this causing weird shadows ? thanks Mike

  13. Brent Drafts says:

    Thanks Joe. Good looking model too!

  14. skyknightmm says:

    Love how you tie in all the technical side of lighting together with the artistic interpretation. What F stop range would you recommend for such shoot and do you have a go to lens for the work? Thanks Joe.

  15. Manuel T says:

    Great video! What do you think abut the profoto b2 location?

  16. James Bailey says:

    Great info, thanks Joe

  17. Olafs Osh says:

    If you're renting, six lights can be costly indeed. make sure to include that in your total ;]


    That was very insightful, thanks Joe.

  19. Divi Photos says:

    nice video

  20. garfield4108 says:

    Love your stuff and your presentation style Joe. You're one of my best 'finds' on the internet !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *