Be A Fitness Icon: 33 Essential Do's and Don'ts of Fitness Modeling
Ever stare at a magazine cover and wonder, "How did that person hit it big?"
You're not alone.
But the answer may surprise you. It's not dumb luck or a miracle.
Fitness supermodels don't pop out of someone's head fully formed in all their hotness. Sure, Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare, popped right out of her dad's head (Zeus's) like it was one of those giant surprise birthday cakes.
Good luck pulling that off.
Truly, there's just no substitute for hard work and preparation when it comes to making it as a model. Behind the scenes there is real determination, focus, and drive. If you have those, it'll pay off big time.
But first, you've got to get the basics down. Here's a list of important Do's and Don'ts of the modeling world. Read them and get a step ahead of the competition.
Choosing a Photographer
» DON'T: Waste time shooting with photographers who aren't good enough to do you any good! All photos are not the same, and shooting a lot of pictures with mediocre photographers is just going to get you a lot of mediocre photos.
» DO: Introduce yourself to local photographers and alert any out-of-town photographers when you are travelling. Let them know you are ready to shoot!
» DO: Get the photos you were promised! When photographers shoot with you on a trade system, make sure they send you the photos they promised. Nag them, if necessary.
» DO: Give proper photography credit.
Posing, Movement, and Facial Expressions
» DO: Practice moving in front of a camera without inhibition. You need to be able to create a variety of visuals and feelings in any given setting or theme. True, your photographers might take care of this for you, micromanaging the shoot. But not always, so be prepared!
» DO: Practice expression and versatility of movement. Use a mirror and practice different types of smiles and emotions. I like to use the vowels A, E, I, O, U. Also, focus on a few different memories when you need inspiration.
» DO: Learn to breathe during a pose while holding your expression steady and stomach in. It needs to appear effortless, even though it's really hard!
» DON'T: Squint! This issue should be dealt with ASAP. Sunlight, spotlights, and flashing strobe lights can all be used as part of photo shoots. Practice looking past those super-bright pops of light.
Gorgeous Skin 101
» DO: Exfoliate! Skin cells are fresh for 3 days before they slough off. So for best results, scrub, spray tan, and moisturize all 3 days before.
If you're using body paint, remember to blend lightly from the leg down to the ankles and feet. Ankles, knuckles, and bottoms of feet and hands tend to absorb body color more, so they need less.
Remember to wear disposable gloves to apply color. Do you really want bright orange, Oompa-Loompa hands?
» DON'T: Try a new self-tanner or lotion the same day as a photo shoot! Do you want to deal with weird coloring, a tan gone bad, an allergic reaction, or a massive break out? Didn't think so. Perform a test run a week ahead of time.
» DO: Moisturize with your own products the morning of your photo shoot. This can go under any other oil application applied later.
» DON'T: Forget your feet! If they will be on camera, get a pedicure or do one yourself. Scrub away any calluses and trim nails.
Photo-Friendly Wardrobe and Accessories
» DO: Find out what your backdrop and lighting will be. Figure this into the color schemes and themes of your outfits (3 to 5 outfits, or more).
» DO: Accessorize with the rule of 3. Find 3 things that go with each outfit of your photo shoot wardrobe. Choose things like earrings, necklaces, sheer scarves, cover-ups, anklets, hats, sunglasses, flowers, themed items, and props.
» DON'T: Forget the tennis shoes and high heels! Bring your own even if there is a stylist booked. That way you may avoid any wonky shoe issues.
» DO: Have the time of your life by building your personal style and watch it materialize in pictures!
Make-Up: "All Right, Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready For My Close Up."
» DO: Invest in a professional stylist, if you can. The pros are pros for a reason. They're artists and can make you look perfect for any shot.
» DO: Pick the right shade of foundation, one that blends well with your neckline. There's nothing worse than a beautiful photo that looks like your orange head is on somebody else's normal-colored body. Creepy.
» DON'T: Over-do the glitter! Unless it's part of a theme-forest nymph, perhaps?-it's flashy and tacky when overdone.
» DO: Use false eyelashes. They look better than the 5 layers of mascara some people wear. Seriously, you look like fuzzy wolf-spiders just crawled onto your eyeballs. Gross.
» DO: Bring your own make-up kit. There are times and circumstances when your make-up artist is a no-show! Be prepared. Also, this leaves you open to change your make-up shades and colors to add variety during the photo shoot.
Guys: Yes, you will likely wear make-up. It's okay. It washes off.
» DON'T: Wash your hair the morning of the photo shoot! Super-clean hair is slippery and doesn't hold style as well. You may feel dirty, but you'll look a lot sexier.
Lights, Camera, Pose! Once On Set...
» DO: Start your shoot with the most natural or low-key look and build to your most dramatic makeup or look, including really oily or wet shots.
» DO: Fill the pose. Change one thing at a time, either a head angle or arm placement. But don't change both at once. Use all angles, not just the ones you are comfortable with. Know what happens when you move your angles, such as bringing your elbows closer to the camera to appear bigger, or bending away to minimize.
» DON'T: Change poses dramatically. For example, going from standing to sitting in one shot is a big no-no.
» DON'T: Be afraid to touch your own body with care. For instance, when placing your hand on your hip, don't push, grab, or pull your skin. Use the same care when touching your face.
» DO: Practice hand and foot placements. You can spot an amateur model by the unaware claw marring an otherwise beautiful photo. Make sure your fingers are extended and relaxed. Also, pointed toes usually look better than flat feet. It elongates the legs.
Nutrition On Set
» DO: Prepare portable snacks that will keep you from being hungry for 3 to 5 hours. Even if it is just coffee, a protein bar, or raw nuts, these things will help you avoid the end of the shoot droop. Modeling is an energy burner, so feed your fire!
» DON'T: Starve yourself. You'll disconnect from the shoot, and nobody wants to work with ol' "Dead in the Eyes." You should be full of vitality and energy throughout the shoot. Take breaks for water and snacks when you need to.
For All Models: Final Do's and Don'ts
» DO: Realize that you are in an industry that will present your body to the world. So don't shoot photos (e.g., nudes) that you won't want to see on the web in five years.
» DO: Maintain control of your image. Promotion of your name brand includes protection. Buy your domain name.
» DO: Prepare various promotional packages of your work in paper and digital forms. Superior pictures are a huge plus when being considered for sponsorship.
» DO: Use websites, social media, and fitness expos to be visible to as much of your fan base as possible.
Now that you've gone through the essentials of becoming a model, you just need to apply them to your life. And remember, stars aren't born--they're made!