Chances are, you already have some photos on your gym, yoga studio, or other fitness business on your website. However, with all the other million things fitness business owners have to take care of, it’s understandable that something like photos wouldn’t get much of your attention.
Like a lot of things in life, it’s easy to assume we can DIY the “simple” tasks like taking photos. And while that’s definitely possible with some planning and the right equipment, it can end up costing you more than if you’d just hired a professional. In the following blog post, we’ll give you some tips on DIYing your gym or studio’s photos while also providing some insight on the benefits of hiring a pro.
Planning Your Gym Photo Strategy
With certain endeavors, it’s best to just jump right in, however not with this type of photography. Even if you’re going to hire a professional, you’ll want to do some planning first.
If you already have photos you like on your website, do they highlight the aspects of your gym you want highlighted? What do prospective clients visually respond to when they first see your location? Do they fall in love with the pool? Photograph it. Do they like how bright and inviting your front desk area is? Photograph it. If you're not sure what really grabs people's attention, the fix is simple: ask around! If you don't personally do the tours or handle intro offers, consider making an email survey to send to current members.
Speaking of people and what they like to see, did you know people respond more favorably to pictures with people in them? It's a good idea to feature some actual members as you take your photos. Show a class in session, a trainer working with a client, or members participating in your most popular fitness class. Something else to consider if you feature members in your photos is to show different body types. This will help prospects of all shapes and sizes feel welcome.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to optimize your photos when you upload them to your website. This will help you gain traction on search engines and, over time, boost your rankings even higher.
Photography Equipment and Accessories
Nowadays, we’re all walking around with powerful cameras in our running shorts or yoga pants: smartphones. If you’ve followed our advice above by planning out the photos you’d like to take, you should also be able to gauge whether a smartphone camera will be able to produce the quality of images you want. Looking to feature a very active dance class? Your smartphone’s camera may not be able handle the motion. Are all of your photos going to be taken inside? You'll need to think about lighting.
Speaking of lighting…
You’ll need it. Unless your gym or studio is full of rich, beautiful natural lighting for hours on end, you’re going to need some lights, or to at least employ some simple lighting techniques.
- Lighting Technique 1: You can find some surprisingly reasonable lighting packages on Amazon. Just search “photography lighting” and you’ll see thousands of results.
- Lighting Technique 2: “A light, some poster board, and a friend.” This technique is pretty simple and definitely inexpensive. You may even already have the three items needed—a powerful flashlight, white poster board, and someone to hold them. Your helper will simply shine the flashlight onto the poster board so that the light then reflects onto the subject of your photo.
- Lighting Technique 3: Hire a professional so this can get done correctly, quickly, and professionally the first time around. Photographers aren’t nearly as expensive as you think! The prices you paid for your wedding or bar/bat mitzvah will not be the prices you pay for a few hours at your business.
Hiring a Professional Fitness Photographer
Let’s face it, sometimes hiring a pro is just the right thing to do. If you’d like to save yourself some time and maybe even money, consider hiring a professional photographer to come in and knock out your photos. You'll end up with higher quality photos, have access to a professional’s eye and lighting, and some even include free editing and touchup services. Best of all, it’s one less thing you have to do.
There are several resources for finding professional photographers in your area. To get started, here’s a link to the Professional Photographers of America “find a photographer” service. You can also use services such as Angie (formerly Angie’s List) to find photographers. Be sure to look at photographer reviews when you're using these sites to see if former clients have had positive experiences and if they have experience in the fitness/wellness industry,
Bonus Tip: If you do hire a professional photographer, schedule a staff photo day! Invite all of your staff to your location to have the photographer snap their photos. These photos will be professional and, most importantly, cohesive, so they’ll look great on your staff page as well as on any social media platforms.
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