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29 Best Fitness Photographers: OriGym Awards (2019)

As you know, there’s no shortage of first-class fitness photography out there. It’s a competitive game. But no need to worry, OriGym have collated the 29 best fitness photographers in the UK to ensure that you only see the very best.

We surveyed students and alumni from our Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Trainer courses in order to gather up our exclusive list, and we’re absolutely blown away by the work that we’ve seen.

Every photographer on this list deserves legendary status, which is why they’ve earned their spot.

Whether you’re looking for a fitness photoshoot or wanting to get behind the lens, we have the best examples of fitness photography you’ll find anywhere (along with expert advice from each photographer).

So, on with OriGym’s Fitness Photography Awards!

We’ve listed each winner in no particular order, based on their location.

Best Fitness Photography in London

Tapestry (Danny Bird, Head of Photography)

© Photo by Tapestry

Instagram: @tapestry_soho

Twitter: @tapestry_co_uk

As a Soho-based media production company, Tapestry produce some pretty impressive work. They’ve been around since 1972 and can demonstrate a great deal of experience in the creative market.

Danny Bird, Tapestry’s head of Photography is responsible for their Sports & Fitness portfolio. If you head on over to their Instagram, you’ll be able to see for yourself just how fascinating his work is, particularly his recent shots for Asics. Who said that fitness couldn’t be creative?

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘Working for a company that published a number of sports and fitness magazines. Experience and clients grew out of that. It suited my interest in lighting, and in shooting people without shooting fashion, per se.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘The same as I’d give to any photographer… shoot what you love’.

 

Tom Joy

© Photo by Tom Joy

Instagram: @tomjoyphoto

Twitter: @tomjoyphoto

From Aberdeen but based in London, Joy is answerable for creating some of the best fitness photography out there (it’s almost TOO good). He says himself: ‘I pride myself in being able to capture real, authentic movement’. If you give his feed a scroll, then you’ll soon see that this is true.

If you’re like us and you wouldn’t have the first clue about capturing a fitness model in motion, then follow his advice below. It’s important to clue up on the industry you’re entering!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I landed into fitness photography by accident, really. A sports blogger got in touch after seeing my portraiture work, and we put together a couple of shoots. It snowballed from there with multiple bloggers getting in touch to create content for their feeds.

I come from a sporting background in athletics where I was training, competing and coaching so the cross over between this and my photography has been such a natural occurrence.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘One major piece of advice would be to get out and start looking to shoot with quality athletes. Do your homework, and if you don’t know the techniques you’re trying to shoot, make sure you do the research or consult with the athlete on what’s correct. All too often I see people getting into fitness photography with no background or knowledge on what they’re shooting.

Whilst a photo can look awesome, if the athlete’s technique or posture is wrong when shooting, then the shot is completely undermined (and in my opinion, pointless). We should celebrate athleticism but keep an emphasis on learning how to execute it correctly.’

 

Rupert Fowler 

© Photo by Rupert Fowler

Instagram: @roofowler

Fowler doesn’t hide the fact that being into exercise and the outdoors himself is what pushed him towards fitness photography. He even sets up his camera when he goes for a run himself so that he can capture images along the way. If that’s not dedication, then we don’t know what is! He’s based in the Surrey Hills, and often shoots on location.

If you’re looking for a feed full of action mixed with the outdoors, then give him a follow on Instagram; you won’t be disappointed.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘My love of outdoors is really what got me into both photography and fitness, it all stems from spending evenings after school messing around on bikes with friends. We always wanted to explore, improve and go further. Photography was kind of just a way to document it and fill that need for creativity which many of us have.

I’m very lucky to be able to call it a job now, and one in which fitness plays a big part as I regularly have to run or cycle as part of my job.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘My one piece of advice would be to learn the value of your work; in the age of digital cameras, phone cameras, and Instagram, photography as an industry has changed an awful lot in the past 20 years or so, and you can find plenty of conflicting opinions about what you should and shouldn’t do as a photographer trying to make a living.

At the end of the day, you have to learn what your time and effort is worth and be prepared to stand up for it when companies try to use your images for free or cut your prices down.’

 

Maria Falconer

© Photo by Maria Falconer, Performers – Edge Fwd

Twitter: @maria_falconer

Adding another twist to our Fitness Photography Awards winners is Maria Falconer. As you can see from her work, it is rather unique and brings another dimension to fitness. If you want to change up your fitness photoshoot ideas, why not get experimental?

After all, performance and dance ties into fitness directly, and could bring more opportunities for you to expand your portfolio.

Q. What got you into fitness/dance photography?

‘An absolute love of both dance and image making. With a personal history in dance and fitness and a professional photographic background it was inevitable that the two would come together’.

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Good photography is the combination of two things. Technical skills and creativity. So firstly, make sure that you are technically competent. Your camera is a tool and it’s really important to get the best from it. And secondly, remember that your camera is exactly that, just a tool. You are the creative one! Don’t copy photographs that you’ve seen before, always aim to do something different.’

 

Hammonds Photography Studio

© Photo by Hammonds Photography Studio

Instagram: @hammondsstudio

Twitter: @Hammonds_Studio

Hammonds Photography Studio has been shooting since 2010, and they pride themselves in having photographed around 7,000 families…Wow.

So, why did they venture into the world of fitness photography? We spoke to Tara, one of Hammonds’ talented photographers about this journey. We love that family and wedding photographers are joining the fitness photoshoot trend, as it’s certainly increasing in demand (the reason why we want to celebrate the amazing work that fitness photographers do!)

Photographers that have been in the game this long are experts at lighting, and definitely worth listening to when it comes to getting it right.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘We love our fitness photo sessions. We shoot a lot of boudoir photography sessions, and realised that there was a gap in the market for this type of photography.

 Having ran the London marathon this year, and being keen to keep fit myself (and realising how much effort and work goes into maintaining a fit body), we felt we should record this in beautiful, elegant images.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘We would recommend for the photographer to learn the body parts, such as the different muscles within the body, and correct body positions, before mastering the lighting used to light each part correctly.’

 

Cliqq (Oliver Suckling)

© Photo by Cliqq

Instagram: @cliqqphoto

Twitter: @CliQQphoto

Cliqq have been around since 2011 and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The work that they produce deserves to be celebrated; from their portfolio, you can see that it is ever-changing and innovative when it comes to fitness photography.

Speaking to Oliver Suckling (Manager and Photographer) of Cliqq was a real pleasure, and as a winner of our fitness photography award, he gave us some great advice. How can you market yourself as a fitness photographer? See below!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘The publisher I worked for decided to increase the budget photography for their sports trade magazine ‘Sports Insight’, and so they asked me to supply them with monthly sports and fitness images across a huge range of topics. They would just give us a name of a sport and a deadline and then it was up to us to find some models/volunteers, and a location, and to put the whole thing together.

It was amazing how helpful all the local sporting clubs and gyms were in return for the images from the shoot. It’s a great way to build a portfolio without huge investments in models, etc. Before long, we had a good enough fitness portfolio to pitch to brands and it all took off from there.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Develop a consistent and commercially viable style to your work and then relentlessly start pitching it to brands that might want that look. In my experience, if the work is good enough, you are shooting enough of it and putting it in front of enough people, you will get commissions.’

 

Graham Martin

© Photo by Graham Martin

Instagram: @menartbygrahammartin

Martin has a portfolio dedicated to ‘Physique and Fitness Photography’. His bright, crisp images against urban and natural backdrops can’t be faulted. He makes use of natural light in the best possible way, and somehow still manages to capture each muscle in the body (this comes with a LOT of practice!)

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I am a people photographer and I love people of all ages, sizes, colour, or beliefs. I have a passion for people, and when photographing them I always try to capture something of the person in the picture. I think that may be why many fitness people, models in the main came to me for their photography.

I love working with these guys. I say guys as it is almost 100% men I have worked with. Of course I am happy photographing women, but that’s just not how it has panned out. The word got around that I was creating some great pictures in the fitness arena, especially on location, which has led to a steady flow of fitness guys coming for their pictures.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Find the light and use it to your advantage. Whether you are taking a picture with your phone or your top end camera your pictures will look a million times better if you understand light. Using light to your advantage can enhance the body bringing out a person’s physique or used badly it can flatten the image and all the hard work creating a beautiful body can be diminished greatly.

 Light is a huge subject and you can buy many books about using light in photography, but to answer in a few words, use your eyes. Don’t just snap away, position your subject in lots of different positions, turn them around, move them from full light to shadow and see how the light falls on and around your subject, especially look for the light between full and shade, it’s a magical place.

A VERY important thing in fitness photography is to talk to your model. Don’t just snap away in the hope they look good. Good communication will help create good pictures.’

Drew Tommons

© Photo by Drew Tommons, Dancer: Victoria Marr, co-founder of Ballet Fitness brand ‘Sleek Technique’.

If you want to see something mystic whilst browsing photography portfolios, then you don’t want to give Tommons’ a miss. His location dance shoots are particularly striking, and you can’t deny that they inspire you to get out there and achieve those results. Whether it’s capturing the photographs or fighting to get the body for a fitness shoot, you’ll want to do it all ten times faster when you’ve seen this collection.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I started photographing dancers about 10 years ago and realised that as well as artists, they are supreme athletes. The combination of grace and power is almost guaranteed to make great images.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Know your subject and develop your own way of portraying it. Find your USP!’

 

South

David Freeman

© Photo by David Freeman

Freeman has an extensive model portfolio which features elegant dance shots, as well as physique photography. He approaches photography with a strong creative mind, and it’s no wonder that his work is of such a high standard. Check out his tips below for how to approach fitness photography when you’re starting out!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I got into fitness photography as a natural extension to other portrait and model photography. I am a former athlete and still work out, so I know what to expect. A well looked after human physique is a most beautiful subject to photograph. It is my ambition to do a fitness calendar with fit bodies integrated into landscapes.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘One bit of advice to people wanting to get into fitness photography would be to allow your imagination to run wild, but always, always set boundaries with your models. 

I always meet up with my models, tell them about my ideas, then gauge their reaction. Setting boundaries pre-shoot means no embarrassing moments when your shoot is underway.’ 

 

South West

Colin Hawkins

© Photo by Colin Hawkins (Colin Hawkins Photography).

Instagram: @colinhawkinsphotography

Twitter: @CHawkinsphoto

If you check out Hawkins’ ‘Active’ gallery, you’ll be faced with some thrilling shots that look as though they could have been part of a sci-fi movie. He has a contemporary and distinctive portfolio, which earns him his spot as one of the best fitness photographers in the UK. You’d spot his work a mile off!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I don’t just do fitness photography, I shoot mainly people doing all sorts of things on location or the studio. 

I shoot fitness images as I’m in awe of the determination, strength, and endurance that people put themselves through. I find it an interesting subject matter to shoot as people are often in a zone and not so aware of being photographed, and my photography is often about those caught moments.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Advice… have an idea about what you want to shoot. Let your subject run you through what they are about to do as it’s sometimes a brief moment of an action that you want to capture. You then get everything set up, planned, and prepared, knowing pretty much what’s going to happen, when and where… so that you don’t miss it!’ 

 

Pete Bennett

© Photo by Pete Bennett

Instagram: @petebennettphotographer

You’ve heard us talking a lot about the best lighting for fitness photos when trying to capture the muscles in your work. If you’re looking for an intense example of getting this right, then head over to Bennett’s portfolio. His work doesn’t miss a muscle or vein on his subjects; they’re in peak fitness in every shot!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I would like to say I spend time at the gym working out, but the truth is I spend more time at the gym photographing others recording their hard work and ensuring they look their absolute best.

My passion for fitness photography originally came from my love of black and white photography. I realised that a well sculpted fitness physique lit with the right light can make someone already awesome look absolutely amazing. By capturing a spectacular highlight at the top of a baby oiled bicep and contrasting it with a well-placed shadow creates the illusion of 3D on paper.

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

The advice I would give is to learn your craft. Great light is everything. Find your own style, and be a great version of you, not a bad copy of someone else.’

 

Matt Lincoln

© Photo by Matt Lincoln

Instagram: @mattlincoln

Twitter: @MatLincolnPhoto

The focus of Lincoln’s work is mainly lifestyle/people photography, which ties in nicely with the world of fitness. If you browse his portfolio, you’ll soon see how he produces images that convey the energy and life that goes into exercising.

They’re bright, sharp and demand attention. It’s clear that Lincoln has poured his own passion into his work, and it’ll make you want to do the same!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I got into fitness photography as I’m into health and fitness myself. I like the energy of a fitness shoot and I hope that I’m gradually starting to align my work with my personal interests. It’s a popular area of photography in terms of client needs and I hope to combine my fitness stills work with moving image soon.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘To shoot stuff for yourself, make it dynamic and go with the flow of movement or direction. Tell a story and capture the feeling.’

 

South East

Martin Bell

© Photo by Martin Bell

Instagram: @martinbellphotography

Twitter: @martinbellphoto

Is there a better way of getting into fitness photography than being an ex-professional ballet dancer? This gives Bell a huge advantage in his field, especially with knowing all the moves that he is photographing.

You should definitely try to learn these, whether its gym photography or dance; it will make your life a lot easier (and give you better results). Bell’s work brings a lot to learn along with it, as well as something a little different. See his advice on developing your own style below.

Q. What got you into fitness/dance photography?

‘Being an ex-professional dancer, it was a natural transition to start photographing dance. When I had injuries, I would do my rehab and then sit in the studio or theatre to photograph the rehearsals/productions for the company.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘With any type of photography, my advice would be to persevere with your passion as you never know what is around the corner. Make sure to refine your style so that people know your work from others, and also know your equipment like the back of your hand.’

 

Matt Marsh

© Photo by Matt Marsh

Instagram: @matt__marsh

Twitter: @matt__marsh

As you can probably tell from the photograph above, Marsh’s work is namely bodybuilding photography. He’s a specialist within this area of fitness photography and produces images that are both innovative, and personal to each client. He firmly believes in portraying his client’s personality in his work.

He is a master at studio lighting when it comes to bodybuilding photography, and you can certainly learn a lot from his portfolio if you’re looking for some great examples of how to breathe life into your own work.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘My passion for photography and love for physiology and anatomy combined helped me to achieve where I am today in physique photography. It was a natural progression for me with these two passions in life; to photograph physiques.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Crawl before you walk, and walk before you run, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Master your craft and lighting skills before calling yourself a professional. Respect others and work will naturally grow.’

 

East

Mike Harrington

© Photo by Mike Harrington

Instagram: @mhphotouk

Harrington boasts a vivid collection of sports photography, ranging from urban running shots to ice hockey brawls. He specialises in editing, as you can see from the image above; he certainly has a knack for moving image photography. This creates a fusion between sports and creativity, and it’s wonderful to see. Doesn’t it just make you want to brush off your Photoshop skills?

Q. What got you into fitness photography? 

‘I’ve always enjoyed sport. Mostly mountain based sports, such as hiking, skiing, and running. I love photography, and have worked as a professional photographer for over 20 years. The two just came together. You will often find photographer’s personal interests reflected in their work.’ 

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘My advice would be to produce images that people will feel inspired by. Make the viewer eager to get active or follow a new passion. Get this right, and your work will sell.’ 

 

Midlands

Hanri

© Photo by Hanri

Instagram: @hanriphotography

Hanri’s story is a bright one; she saw a gap in the market (for something that she needed herself) and filled it with style! She owns a beautiful collection of yoga and dance photography, as you can see from her Instagram.

She has mastered studio lighting and captures every detail of her subject’s bodies and poses in the most elegant way. It is the perfect blend of elegance and strength, and makes you pray for flexibility… Check out her expert advice below.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I’m a yoga teacher myself, and when I was doing my yoga teacher training, I struggled to find a photographer who could take the types of photos I wanted for my marketing. I had done quite a bit of photography at University, so I simply combined my knowledge of photography and yoga. As my photography developed, I branched out to another passion of mine – dance.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Find your fitness niche and develop a specific style which can evolve with you and your clients. Yoga and dance photography are my career specialities, everything else I photograph is just a hobby.’

 

Dan Matthams

© Photo by Dan Matthams

Instagram: @danmatthamsphotography

Twitter: @dan_matthams

Matthams started his photography career in 2004, so he’s certainly someone to look to for inspiration. He was also named the Midlands Media Awards sports photographer of the year twice, which is impressive… no wonder he was nominated by our students!

The image above is of Tim Baillie and Etienne Scott, a couple of years before they won a gold medal in the 2012 summer Olympics. If this doesn’t inspire you to get behind the lens and start snapping athletes mid-action, what will?

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I got into sports photography in 2004, when I started work experience at the Nottingham Evening Post newspaper.

I originally wanted to be an out and out sports photographer, but the paper offered me a position after a couple of months.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘The best advice I could give anyone is to try to get as much experience as possible (I started covering local football but technically it’s no different than working at Wembley). Be prepared to work for nothing when you start out and don’t get too obsessed with buying the very latest equipment (it’s extremely expensive and similar results can be achieved for a fraction of the money!)’

 

Eve Bickley

© Photo by Eve Bickley

Instagram: @evebickleyphotography

Twitter: @evebickleyphoto

Bickley’s work is a great example of manipulating dark studio lighting in a way that chisels the muscles in the body, as well as creating an ambiance and overall moody tone for the image.

If you head over to her fitness and bodybuilding photography portfolio, you’ll be see some fantastic examples of this; definitely deserving the votes from our students!

Both men and women are included in the collection, which is great for learning the differences in lighting for different body shapes and sizes, and discovering how to make muscles look three-dimensional.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I got into fitness photography when I started going to the gym myself. The joy of being a photographer is that it can work in parallel to so many hobbies/interests, because really you can photograph anything and everything! I have quite an interest in bodybuilding, which led me to look into how to enhance muscle definition through lighting techniques and post-production editing.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘One piece of advice is don’t be scared to practice, we all have to start somewhere. If that means working with athletes for free, taking time out of your free time to go to events and photograph, DO IT! That way there is minimal pressure on you and you can take your time learning as you go.’

 

North West

James Kirby

© Photo by James Kirby

Instagram: @mrjumpyjames

Twitter: @jumpyjames

Having over 13 years of photography experience, Kirby produces some powerful photography. His portfolio is full to the brim with action shots of adventurous sports and activities, including triathlon, trail running, cycling, swimming, and obstacle courses. He even has one dedicated to night time photography, which includes these activities as well (and light photography!)

It’s no wonder that he received so many votes from our students and earned his spot on our fitness photography awards winner’s list. It’d be impossible not to include a photographer with such a varied, exciting and distinctive collection of images.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I have a lot of enthusiasm for riding bikes as well as exploring, so being able to get to places quickly I found that the job of taking photographs of competitors came together well with the beautiful landscapes.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘For my photography it would be to learn to use a map, so you can navigate yourself around the landscape quickly.’

 

Drew Forsyth

© Photo by Drew Forsyth

Instagram: @_drewforsyth

Twitter: @_drewforsyth

If you’re into dance and performance (and grungy backdrops), then Forsyth’s portfolio will send your head spinning. Or even if it’s not your cup of tea, he also does fitness portraits. You can’t go wrong here!

Having produced numeral images from the studio and on location, it’s obvious from his collection that Forsyth has a shattering set of skills. It’s not easy to achieve shots such as the one above. What a stunning contrast of something glum and something elegant (or fierce, depending on which way you look at it).

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I first started shooting dance when I was at University. I was studying drama (at that point I wanted to be an actor), and so my friends were all actors, dancers and performers. I started taking photos with them, and it grew from there!’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Push your models. When you work with fitness professionals it can sometimes be intimidating, especially if they’re famous or you really admire them.

When you get star-struck, the temptation is to ease back and not push them as hard, but remember – you’re dealing with people who spend every day being told to go above and beyond what they think they’re capable of. So be authoritative, and if your shots aren’t working, don’t be afraid to tell the talent to push harder!’

 

Neil Shearer

© Photo by Neil Shearer

Instagram: @neilshearer_photography

Twitter: @neildshearer

Shearer’s self-proclaimed ‘eye-catching sporting images’ that double as ‘moody soulful portraits’ are exactly what they promise to be. His ‘Sport as Art’ project is definitely worth a look, especially for those who are curious about how lighting can be used in a fitness photoshoot.

He has an expert technique of holding the subject in focus, which can seem ‘easy’ done on paper, but this certainly isn’t the case when in practice. We’re delighted to appreciate his skills as a fitness photography awards winner, and to hopefully lead aspiring photographers on the right path by sharing this.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I’ve always been into sports from a young age. I trained and taught Capoeira for 10 years and loved taking pictures of that.

When I set up by business I wanted to specialise in something that I enjoyed doing and I saw a gap in the market, I started training CrossFit around the same time and things have gone from strength to strength.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘It’s really important to know the sport you are photographing. Always do your research before a shoot and know what sort of shots you want to get, what other people are doing, and what you could do to try and improve or at least make it different. If you want your work to stand out, be different!’

 

James Broome

© Photo by James Broome Photography

Instagram: @jamesbroome83

Twitter: @jamesbroome83

The shot above was taken shortly before the ball almost hit the camera (and the photographer too!)

It’s clear from a first impression that the photographers at James Broome are willing to risk themselves for their art, which earns them respect (as does their thrilling photography, that you can check out here).

When you browse their portfolio, you’ll be met with hidden gems from the world of fitness photography. Their images from a corporate golf day and a charity run are astounding, and you should take some inspiration from their control of outdoor lighting (something tricky to master).

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘Firstly, we started venturing into photography for a local Rugby team and then we were getting requests to do more. As we built a gallery, the sports photography side of things started to grow, and we branched out into all kinds of sports.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘When photographing sports, it’s easy to stick it on continuous and blast a load of pictures hoping for the best. The most efficient way is to be patient and wait for the perfect moment. You have to watch what’s happening in front of you and predict the next move, then it’s your time to strike!’

  

Ian Thraves

© Photo by Ian Thraves

@ianthraves_photography

With intense, gritty gym photography as well as portraits shot in the studio, Thraves is slaying it. We can’t get enough of our awards winners showing us exactly how to get the best lighting for fitness photos, as it’s clearly the most crucial element to get right.

This winner’s work is contagious, and it will make you eager to rush out there and create your own style. He even has smoke going on in some of his photographs… We love his use of setting, and the edgy element that this brings to fitness and bodybuilding photography.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I have worked as a professional photographer for over 30 years, and about 6 years ago a CrossFit company in Manchester asked me to shoot some images for marketing purposes.

The images were shared via social media and on my website, and after about a year, I received regular calls to shoot both studio and location fitness, along with physique photography. This then extended into gymnasts and sports celebrities.

I am now shooting for fitness and physique clients nearly every week and my style of work has developed into a more artistic approach than a regular gym photography.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Understand your client’s needs and develop strong lighting, camera and Photoshop techniques that are unique in style so your work stands out.’

 

North East and Yorkshire

George Ledger

© Photo by George Ledger

Ledger has extensive experience in sports photography, including photographing sports from the Olympic Games (as pictured above). If you browse his collection, you’ll come across photographs of athletics, football, rugby, ice skating, gymnastics, hockey, tennis, and much more. It’s impossible not to find something that sparks your interest!

His work is a fantastic resource for learning how to manipulate natural light for fitness photography, which we know is very difficult to control and master. Ledger’s work is bright and crisp, as well as varied, thanks to his use of different lenses and techniques.

Who knows, maybe you’ll follow in his footsteps and be at the next Olympic games?

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I photograph a variety of different sports and really enjoy those that rely on the participant’s fitness, strength, and skills such as Athletics and Gymnastics. I then started photographing their training regimes, and that’s how I started with fitness photography.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘My advice would be stick to sports that you have played yourself or understand. Speak to the sportsmen and women, especially the coaches and trainers, and really get to understand and appreciate the sport.’

 

Colin Morley

© Photo by Colin Morley

Instagram: @colmorley

If you see Morley’s portfolio, you’ll fall in love with cycling just as much as he did when he first photographed it. His shots are that candid yet well-thought out, that you’ll wonder how he even took them in the first place. How can anyone get THAT close to a speeding bike without getting taken out?

His photographs are enchanting, especially when he produces them in monochrome. They offer a sort of historical charm, and a whole different tone to the collection.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘For me there is nothing more beautiful, more graceful and pleasing on the eye than a photograph of an athlete in peak fitness. I have photographed many types of subject matter from landscapes, weddings, to interior photography and everything in between, but nothing captured my gaze as much as seeing beautiful photography of athletes and their sculpted bodies. It’s an appreciation of the time taken in their making through years of pain and sweat and ambition.

I admire the dedication to reach these levels of fitness, how far they push their bodies. So for me as a photographer my continued challenge and passion is trying to make those moments I share with these athletes to create something beautiful and iconic.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Do it for the LOVE of it, not anything else. There are times when you have to travel at 3am in the morning to get to a fitness shoot on time.

It can be freezing or raining heavily, creating conditions in which many would just turn around and go back to bed, BUT the drive and love of creating something new, something dramatic, something iconic and powerful keeps you going and going. Striving to produce something ultimately YOU are proud of and the people/client will love too.’

 

John Heald

© Photo by John Heald, Players: Holly Huddleston, Katie George, Sarah Taylor.

Twitter: @JohnHealdPhotog

Heald is an accredited photographer with Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and the ECB (English Cricket Board). He produces top-notch sports photography, and has thousands of sports photographs in his portfolio from years of experience shooting in this environment.

This photograph in particular is from a cricket match between England and New Zealand on Women’s One Day International, and Heald describes it as ‘as reflection of how far women’s sport, and cricket in particular, has come in the last 10 years or so’.

Knowing the right moment to hit the shutter is a skill to have in fitness photography; you want each image to tell a story. Heald’s work is a great example of visual storytelling; make sure you take note of this!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I have played many sports throughout my life, but various parts of my body retired from the action before I was mentally ready to give up!

Sports photography has kept me involved and, to some extent, in the thick of the action. I have recently returned to golf, cycling and using a gym after a total knee replacement in February 2018, but a lot of other sports are now out of the question.

I have long had a love of photography, so it seemed natural to combine my love for sports and photography.

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘One piece? I suppose it has to be to get out there and take photographs, don’t just think about it!

Further to the ‘one’ piece of advice, the following is relevant. Take photographs of as many different sports as you can; learn the basic rules of the games you photograph but perhaps start with a sport you already know well. Talk to other sports photographers, we are usually more than happy to offer advice! Be patient and don’t worry if you ‘only’ have a small handful of keepers from a whole match or fitness shoot.

A great beauty of sports photography is not knowing exactly what you’ve captured on your memory card until you return home and look at your images. It is most often the image that captures a fleeting expression (invisible very often to the naked eye), a freeze-frame of action or a pattern of interacting players and/or equipment that ‘wins the day.”

 

Scotland

Simon Murray

© Photo by Simon Murray

Instagram: @smurrayphotographer

When wondering how to capture movement without a blur (probably one of the hardest things to do in sports photography), Murray’s portfolio is a fantastic place to start.

This photograph was taken at a Spartan Trifecta Race, which as you can imagine isn’t like photographing a landscape. How did he manage to capture every detail perfectly, from the crispness of the subject to keeping the water droplets in focus? It comes with practice.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I wanted to try something new, as for years I had done mainly fashion photography. I admire the definition in the human figure which makes for an intriguing look when sharply lit from behind or a 45-degree angle.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Know your studio lighting techniques like the back of your hand as photographing in daylight gives you a lot less control’.

 

Paul Roberts

© Photo by Paul Roberts

Twitter: @DMAyrshire

The man behind DMAyrshire, Paul Roberts, is responsible for some intense fitness shoots. Deadlifts, pull ups, and turning over tyres that are fit for a tractor… these are just some of the activities that he has captured, to name a few.

His images are dark, grungy and very well-edited. If you’re looking to get into fitness photography and want some fantastic work to refer to when you’re editing your first set of images, then this is a must-see.

Roberts shows us just how important the editing process is, rather than just taking photographs on a whim and posting them straight onto Instagram. He also states how important it is to use equipment to achieve the best results, but that it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I’ve been into fitness in one way or another myself for 30 years or so now, and photography has long been an interest, so it was natural that the two would come together.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘There’s an abundance of cheap 3rd party lighting gear now; don’t waste cash on buying the big brand names, just get a good number of strobes stands and modifiers and find any excuse you can to practice with them.’

 

Tony Thompson (TT Image) 

© Photo by Tony Thompson

Instagram: @ttimage

Being active on Instagram, Thompson regularly updates his followers with a dose of gym photography. He is a firm believer in praising the human physique through his work, and we can see why – his clients are always in peak condition.

His shots are very inspirational, and certainly capture the essence of strength and perseverance when it comes to achieving fitness goals. We love the creativity that he breathes into his images; definitely refer to his work when you’re practising your angles!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I got into fitness photography through a love for fitness itself. As my photography journey progressed, I very quickly fell in love with how creative I could be within this industry.

Creating a flattering physique is an artwork in itself, and this works as an incredible canvas to create some captivating and beautiful images. I also find everyone I work with very inspiring as it takes hard work and dedication to achieve the type of physiques that you see in my work. My clients are the real talent.’

Q. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘If I could give any advice it would be to learn everything you can about the fitness industry! Learn about the human body and how to pose, learn about muscles, learn about exercises, learn who people in the industry are, immerse yourself in the industry. Fall in love with it and that love will come through in the images you create.’

 

Wales

Peter Bounds

© Photo by Peter Bounds

Work that captures the fitness aspect to surfing, and all the colours that go along with it. Bounds’ work is impressive when it comes to capturing moving subjects, and makes Pembrokeshire look like Los Angeles.

The inspiration for his extensive collection of surfing/outdoor images comes from being an international competitor himself. He’s got tons of experience, especially from travelling the world in search of the ‘perfect wave’, which means he knows his positions. We can’t stress the importance of this; get to know what you’re shooting!

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘What got me into fitness photography was a lifetime love of sports, the outdoors, and surfing in particular. It does help that I’ve been a British surfing champion, and international level windsurfer, and regularly travel with World and British champion kitesurfers for photoshoots.

I currently run my own surfschool in Pembrokeshire;’Masterclass surfing’. I use both telephoto and in-water Canon and Nikon Cameras.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Try and work with high level sportspeople, e.g. champions, for the best results.’

 

Raymond Hayes

© Photo by Raymond Hayes

Instagram: @raymondhayesphotography

A quick scroll down Hayes’ Instagram will reveal some of his greatest work, including his fitness shoots. They are nothing short of being completely inventive, compelling and fresh when it comes to fitness photography.

As if we couldn’t stress it enough, Hayes is also fond of lighting when it comes to a fitness photoshoot. Originally into sports, Hayes ventured into gym photography by accident due to the needs of his clients.

Not being used to shooting in this kind of environment/shooting this element of fitness, Hayes states that lighting is what truly made it for him and helped him to achieve such brilliant results.

Q. What got you into fitness photography?

‘I was originally into sports photography, but I was approached by a good friend called Joseph Davies. He worked hard to get into shape and wanted photos. I met him and took photos of him, the next thing I started getting so many ideas about the type of shots needed. I ended up getting so much positive feedback from the photos that I edited.

I then went to a well-known bodybuilder called Christian Williams, who then guided me to get the right shots needed in a fitness shoot. Ever since then, I bought some lighting equipment and boom, I started to get some amazing shots from the equipment that I used.’

Q. What advice would you give to an aspiring fitness photographer?

‘Practice. Practice. Practice… Research poses to enable you to get ideas over what shots you would like to take. Don’t ever go to the gym and wing it as you will get yourself into a situation that you don’t want to be in, and make yourself nervous, especially when you’re working with clients.

Most of all, enjoy it. If you are happy, then your clients will be happy.

In terms of techniques, I have learned from other photographers. One example would be Sugarbox, with the way he uses his lights. Always learn and perfect your craft. You are always learning and want to keep learning as it brings out your artistic side. Just keep practising.’

 

Recap on Fitness Photography Advice 

And that brings us to the end of our Fitness Photography Awards UK! Let’s have a quick recap on our awards winner’s expert advice:

  • Cheap equipment, this is all you need when you’re starting out. It doesn’t make much of a difference to the high-priced stuff and achieves similar results.

  

  • Know what you’re shooting. This is vital when trying to capture good work; make sure you know what the subject is going to be doing for the shot, and if it’s a specific sport or exercise – learn about it!

  

  • Learn lighting techniques. You can’t do fitness photoshoots without knowing this, as it’s what makes this sort of work look as spectacular as it’s supposed to. How else are you going to achieve those 3D muscles, and make your clients look as buff as possible?

  

  • Be original. To quote Pete Bennett: ‘be a great version of you, not a bad copy of someone else.’ It’s important to be yourself when it comes to anything creative, just as it is during sports or athletics. Leave your mark on the world, in a way that hasn’t been done before.

  

  • Market yourself. We’ve had some fantastic tips on this, as said by Oliver Suckling of Cliqq; ‘develop a consistent and commercially viable style to your work and then relentlessly start pitching it to brands that might want that look’. If you analyse the market right, then you’ll be able to get commissions and wipe out competitors!

  

  • Enjoy it. Why would you pursue it if you didn’t? As John Heald said: ‘A great beauty of sports photography is not knowing exactly what you’ve captured on your memory card until you return home and look at your images.’ Surely this is something great to look forward to, especially when you’ve practiced a lot; it’s like seeing improvement from your hard work at the gym!

 

Before you go!

We hope you’ve been inspired by the wonderful work of our awards winners, as let’s face it; each and every one deserves their spot on our exclusive list.

Go follow them, scavenge their websites, and share them with your friends! Who knows, you might even pop into one of their studios for a fitness shoot yourself (or for some tips with your own fitness photography).

We’d love to hear what you thought! Are there any fitness photographers that we’ve overlooked, or has our list thrown lots of new faces your way? If so, leave a comment below!

We hope you got something great out of it, whether it’s a new passion for photography or a career in fitness modelling.

If you want more ideas or motivation surrounding health and fitness, then check out the OriGym Blog for new content every week.

Were you featured as a winner of our Best Fitness Photography Award?

If so, be sure to place our OriGym Awards badge on your site to share it with your audience!