Getting into Fitness Modeling
There is no one way to become a successful
fitness model. There is no single path or magic secret. There are however
some key things a person can do to greatly improve their chances of "making it"
in the fitness biz as a model, and perhaps using that success as a launching pad
to greater things, such as movies, TV, etc.
First, being a fitness model means you stay
in shape all the year round. If you're
used to the bodybuilder's practice of having a "cutting season" and a
"bulking season" say goodbye to the bulking part. You have to stay lean all
year round or you will miss photo opportunities. When the magazine editors
call you, they want you NOW! If you're not ready, you lose because someone
else always is ready. You can't say, "ok, I'll do it, just let me go on a
diet for 12 weeks first."
you're in great shape, create your own photo portfolio. Research
physique photographers in your area and ask to see samples of their work.
Also find out whether you get to keep the negatives. Some photographers give
you the negatives and then you can make all the copies you want and use them
for anything you want. Other photographers give you only prints and if you
want more copies, you have to buy them. This is a common practice and I
respect the reasons why the photographers do it, but I'd recommend finding
someone who gives you the negatives. They're out there. Find out the deal
beforehand to avoid misunderstandings. Also get written permission to have
the photos published and you'll make sure the photo gets a credit in the
If you're not in shape now, I'd recommend you set a date for the shoot 8-12
weeks from now. Then pay the photographer in advance and tell them to keep
the money if you don't show up. Choose a photographer who specializes in
fitness, bodybuilding and physique photography, they'll be able to help you
regarding what to wear, how to pose, and what backgrounds / locations to
choose. However, don't leave it all up to the photographer.
Get a big stack of bodybuilding/fitness
magazines and clip out
all the shots you like Bring your folder of samples with you and be the
"director" of your own shoot. You're paying for it, so don't leave it up to
Pick out the best photos to get developed into prints - Get both, black
& white and color shots. If shots are taken indoors (like in the gym), make
sure your photographer has experience with indoor shoots, because to make
you look good indoors, lighting setups are a major production. When the film
is developed, you usually get a whole roll printed out on a "contact sheet,"
which is a single page with a miniature of every photo in the roll. Look
through the contact sheets and pick out the best photos to get developed
into prints. You might have to go through 20 mediocre pictures to find the
perfect one. Get at least one 8 1/2" X 11" print of your best shots. Put
these into a portfolio binder and also scan them into your computer. Now
you're ready to approach the magazines.
Get hold of one copy of every magazine you'd like to see yourself in.
Look for the publisher's information, which is usually in the first few
pages. Create a contact data base of all the
including their name, address, editors and e-mails. For a small publication,
you'll probably address your cover letter and photos to the editor in chief.
For larger publications, there's usually a full time creative director in
charge of photography and art. Now, write a letter, in your own words, to
the effect of: "I know you're always looking for new faces (bodies) to use
as fitness models in your magazine, so I'd like to introduce myself and
submit several of my photos for your consideration.... The shape you see in
those photos is representative of how I look all year round, and I am
available for photo shoots at a moments notice. If you like any of the
photos I've sent you, you'll notice I've also sent you a release form from
my photographer giving you permission to publish them as long as the
photographer gets a credit, of course...."
You can send this information, via e-mail , but keep in mind that some
editors/creative directors won't open attachments because of the virus
problem. If you want to be 100% sure your letter gets read and your photos
get seen, send it FED-EX. Yeah, its expensive, but when was the last time
YOU didn't open a FED-EX letter?
Above all, be willing to hustle. Being a beginner, The magazines are not
coming to you, you have to go to them. It's worth it to offer use of your
image for free the first time if necessary, because once you get that first
break and you've been in a magazine, it gets easier. The next time you send
your stuff to a magazine, you include your previous magazine spread, giving
you instant credibility as a published fitness model.
Capturing yourself in your best shape in photographs is a fantastic goal.
Set a date just as if you were going to compete (think of photo shoot day as
"the contest") and then train for the photo shoot. Go outside and do some
really COOL photos in some cool places... not just boring studio stuff. Go
do it! Capture yourself on film for posterity - you'll be so glad you did.
Before entering a fitness competition:
Find out exactly what the judging criteria is for that federation
Go see those shows as a spectator for several different federations and see
which one your physique, style, etc will fit into best.
You have decide if you truly have the athletic abilities to compete in a fitness
competition (which requires a routine) or a figure/bikini competition.
Dated 30 December 2011