Photo shoots can be so valuable to your business and your brand as a fitness talent or entrepreneur, but there are a few things you should know before going into it. Check out these tips and tricks to prepare like a pro!

Have a Plan. Research, research, research. What shots do you want in your portfolio, or what images will you need to submit to magazines? What outfits will you need to get those shots? What photographer should you hire? Research every detail of your shoot and have it planned out. Pinterest is great for this because you can create a whole board for the shoot that will show what style and looks you are going for. Plan beyond the shoot too. Have an action plan for what the images will be used for and make sure that they are in alignment with your brand and your end goals.

Choose Your Photographer Wisely. Seriously. Don’t just jump in front of the camera because it’s free or because it’s your cousin’s sister’s husband and they gave you a killer deal. This is your brand and your image. Hire a trusted photographer who already shoots the style you’re going for. I can’t even begin to express how important this is. You truly will get what you pay for.

Know Your Market. Flip through the pages of the magazine you want to be in or research the current images of companies you want to work with. What style do they have? Each magazine and company has their own, specific brand. If you submit out of that brand style, not only will the answer be no, but you’ll look like you have no knowledge of the company.

Practice Some Poses. So now that you have a general idea of the look and shots that you’re going for, practice, practice, practice! Practice those poses and facial expressions. It’ll feel funny, but get in front of a mirror and just do it. You have to know what your best angles are, how to move, and what poses to avoid. Get to know your body and how different shots will look. It will make a huge difference come shoot day!

Plan Your Outfits. Plan out which outfits you’ll bring and which ones you know you want to shoot in. Try to plan out which pieces will look best together, and make sure that they’re in alignment with the goal of your shoot. Always bring a few extra outfits too, just in case. It’s better to have too many than not enough! Don’t forget about the shoes either! For white backdrop cover-style fitness shoots, make sure that you bring a pair of heels. Even though your feet won’t be in the shot, it helps with the look and definition of the legs.

Don’t slack on your sleep. You want to feel refreshed, energized and show up as your best self. Sleep will help you accomplish all of these. Don’t skimp on it. This is especially important on the week leading up to the shoot.

Hair and Makeup. I highly, highly recommend getting your hair and makeup done professionally. At least for your first shoot. Makeup artists know exactly how to apply makeup that will look flawless under the lighting and conditions of your shoot. Again, do your research! Make sure you find someone who knows what they’re doing and has worked on the type of shots you’ll be shooting. Usually the photographer has a makeup artist they work with or can recommend, just ask.

Spray Tan. For fitness shoots, I usually recommend a spray tan, just because it helps bring out the definition. Plus with all of the lighting, it usually washes you out a little, so the spray tan helps give you a little boost. If you do decide to go with a spray tan, just be sure to find a good place. Research some places and find one that won’t leave you looking like you just left Willy Wonka’s factory. I’ve been there and it’s not a good look.

Nails. Some ladies decide to get their nails done and that works.  If not, just make sure that you don’t have chipped polish or any crazy colors that might clash with your outfits. I usually opt for neutral tones or unpolished.

Exfoliate & Moisturize. For the week leading up to the shoot, be sure to exfoliate and moisturize.

Brows. Don’t forget to tweeze or wax your brows before shoot day!

Don’t Forget the Snacks. This one isn’t always necessary but if you’re shooting for a full day, or even half day, it’s a good idea. You don’t want to lose steam and get hangry mid-shoot.

Shave / Wax. Don’t forget to wax or shave a day or two before your shoot including underarms, legs, and bikini area. If you’re getting a spray tan, make sure you shave/wax beforehand.

Drink lots of water & eat a healthy, balanced diet. This is more of a life tip but it’ll just help you feel happy, healthy and confident come shoot day. The better you feel, the better those images are going to come out.

Avoid Hair Ties & Elastic Bands. The morning of the shoot make sure that you don’t put hair ties on your wrist or wear anything that will leave marks on your skin. This just creates extra work for the photographer who then has to edit it out.

Hopefully these tips help you to feel confident and ready to tackle your next photo shoot!

Good luck and happy shooting!

Ashley Azevedo is a fitness personality who helps individuals and organizations develop the habits they need to get fit, both mentally & physically. It’s her mission to help others unlock their potential to create a truly happy & healthy life! She is a NASM certified personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist. She has been featured in fitness magazines such as Oxygen, Women’s Health & Fitness, Train For Her and Max Sports & Fitness, as well as various fitness companies including Lorna Jane, Gold’s Gym SoCal, and Powertec. Ashley can be found on her website at www.ashleyazevedo.com, or via Instagram @ashley_azevedo