- How long have you been enjoying photography?
Wow. Awhile now! Growing up I always had a cheap disposable camera at hand. I loved sitting down looking through photo albums (yes, the old ones that have the adhesive film to keep the photos in place) and seeing moments frozen in time.
In 2006, I deployed to Iraq for the first time and went over with my first "pro-sumer" camera. That's when everything really fell into place. It spiraled from landscape during my deployments, to portraiture when I came back, to events and eventually fitness,once I started CrossFit in 2013.
- What interested you in photography?
I love being able to capture the moment. To be able to freeze a moment in time is amazing. I once photographed a celebration of life ceremony which was a new experience for me. But to see the range of emotions run from sad to joyful and to capture it was amazing. In fitness photography, it’s very similar. You get to capture an athlete in the midst of a grueling moment and at the end in their moment of joy. I love seeing their faces raw with determination and then elation.
- How would you describe your photography style?
No matter what I am capturing, I am very candid and casual. I hate poses and making people contort into something that makes them uncomfortable. I give minimal direction in my sessions and find that it puts the client at ease and gives them a better end result with their photos.
- What are 3 tips you could offer an athlete who is preparing for a fitness shoot?
1) Try not to be nervous! Just think of it as another day working out. Do what you do best and forget everything else.
2) Don’t starve yourself going into it. Chance are you will bloat and feel worse. Eat normal!
3) Now is not the time for changing how your hair/makeup/apparel are from your usual. Don’t try bootie shorts for the first time or wear your hair down when you normally wear it up in a bun or are in tights. It will make you more uncomfortable and will show in your photos.
- What do you think the best backdrops are for fitness photography?
I love a gym, alley, or stadium. Whatever is natural and normal for the type of fitness I am working with that day. I use strictly natural lighting so that adds to the moment.
- What kind of props do you recommend for a fitness photoshoot?
Since I am mostly capturing CrossFit and youth sports, it’s whatever is part of their routine. Barbells, wall balls, pull up bars, soccer balls, whatever! Use what is familiar and clients will be happier in the end.
- Do you prefer still photos or action shots? Why?
Action for sure! It’s more difficult, but it expresses more. It shows the true strength and passion of the athlete.
- How long is a fitness shoot, typically?
Around an hour. Anything more than that and people tend to get bored, tired, or frustrated.
- Share an experience you found inspiring/interesting/humorous/shocking at a photoshoot.
It actually happened just recently! I was covering a team from my gym at a competition and they went through unbelievable odds to get to the competition field. From injuries, to a death in the family, to people filling spots at the last minute. It was a struggle up to the last moment. It was WOD 3 and the last workout of the first day. The girls on the team had to swim laps during the workout in addition to a calorie accumulation on the assault bike and deadlifts mixed in.
It was grueling and none of them had much chance to practice laps before. 15 minutes of perseverance later, it was over and one of my best friends was mid lap when the time was called. She started pulling herself backwards down the lane dividers all slow and with the biggest smile on her face. At the end of the lane, my other best friend on the team reached down to help her out of the pool and they hugged and smiled together at the edge. They knew they didn’t place very high up, but their smiles and emotions were just amazing! They were embracing the moment, not the result. This is what CrossFit and my fitness photography is all about. That moment in time.
Thank you, Amber, for the amazing photos you create and share with HandBand Pro®!