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."



  • Once 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 magazines


    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 books and 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 someone else.


  • 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 pertinent information, 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.


- WF Team

Dated 30 December 2011
 

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