Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Big Book of Exercises Photo Shoot

In February when I went to do my photo shoot for my book I also ended up helping out another editor, Adam Campbell with an upcoming book called The Big Book of Exercises (out in the next few months). I had never been on a photo shoot so it was great experience to be able to work on Adam's photo shoot for a few days before my shoot(thanks for the practice Adam :)). And to tell you the truth I had a blast. It was a whole different day in the life for me than usual. I ended up staying for 2 weeks. You see Adam is trying to put every single possible exercise there is into this book of exercises. It is going to be the most comprehensive exercise book and should be extremely helpful. There is a women's version and a men's version.

Below is what it looks like on the photo shoot.

This particular shot was a pose and not an exercise. For the exercises I would go up and coach the model to do the exercise trying to get them exactly where I would want them. Then I would run back behind the camera and the computer and yell at the model to "tighten this or squeeze that or stand up taller or turn your foot this way, or suck your abs in or stick your hips out more or squeeze your butt more..." and when I liked the shot I would say- "Shoot!" and they would snap a few shots. I would look at the computer screen to see if the shot turned out ok and pick out which one to use and sometimes we would have to do more than one because many times what you are looking at looks different from what shows up on the screen and once we got it exactly right we would move on.

This sounds much easier than it was- you see, many of these models had never done any of these exercises before so no matter how good your coaching was you inevitably had a model who couldn't do an exercise or who you had to get to fake it or who even worse is more worried about how his hamstrings look than actually doing the exercise properly. We also had a few models show up with injuries- "By the way, I tore one of my obliques..." Huh? But you are our core model doing 77 Core exercises today... And when you are looking at the picture, you might be focused on- "Is their back in the right position?" because that's what you were looking at the most but in the mean time they moved their foot or something else. It isn't easy to get every single thing exactly right but I think we came extremely close for this book considering we had days where we would shoot 85 exercises with one tired model. By the 85th exercise the poor model was shaking and just needed some food. Not only did you have to make sure the exercise form was right but you also had a lighting guy who had to make sure the lighting was just right and with the females a make up person who needed the makeup and hair to look good. So every shot, one of us would go- Nope the lighting should be different, or nope her bruise is showing or nope he needs to stand up taller.... By the end we got it down to a science.

Things I learned-

1. Models look like that despite being able to do any functional exercise. Some of the models were amazing and made the day fly by because they obviously train with real functional exercises. But most of them I think have extremely good genetics and look amazing but don't have to train as hard as the average person does just to get somewhat fit.

2. To give them some credit- Those models worked their butts off! That is a tough job and I was just glad I was on the backside of the camera and not out there doing 85 exercises without probably having eaten for a few days. They work very hard! It is not all glamour as a fitness model.

3. Hanging out on a photo shoot with a bunch of Men's Health Models was not the experience I thought it would be :) It was work, I swear!

4. The female models have just as many insecurities as every other female I have ever worked with. Very interesting- the female psyche. Here are these women in amazing shape, models for a book and they even had hang ups about this or that about their body...

5. I have a whole new respect for any exercise pictures I see in a magazine or a book. It isn't as easy as you would think. Models show up with injuries or having never done an exercise before. Once you snap the shot and walk away from it, when you get the photos back- there is no reshooting, it is done. You have to get it right the first time.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience and I can't wait to see how the book turns out. Watch for it, The Big Book of Exercises.