Outfits To Enhance Your Fitness Photography Shoot

Photo by Karl S

With the rise of social media and consumers looking for advice on varying subjects from online influencers, it’s crucial for these online celebrities to have a lot of content. By capturing and shooting enough content for their pages, influencers can help navigate followers through specific fields of interest – categories like fitness. Whether it’s featuring key workout routines, body form, tips for a specific sport, nutrition, or lifestyle; fitness influencers are constantly on the ball (… speaking both metaphorically and sometimes physically) to capture fitness photography for their blogs, social pages, and branding affiliates.

With these high demands, it’s important to create different looks while also showing shape. This is where wardrobe and outfits come into play. Below, we outline everything there is to know about dressing for your next fitness photography shoot. Whether it comes to tops, bottoms, or even accessories, there’s always an avenue to chose to differentiate your look.

Knowing Fabrics

Even when picking a narrow avenue of wardrobe like athletic wear, there are still many fabrics to choose between when deciding which outfit to wear during a fitness photography shoot. From cotton to material like bamboo, not only does the choice of fabric affect workout performance but determines how the outcome of an image will turn out. Read on as we detail six of the top fabrics used to make workout gear.

Cotton 

A crossover fabric that is in both casual wear and athletic wear. Cotton is a great choice as it offers a wide variety of selections, cuts, and colors. The one advantage of using cotton for active wear (that, unfortunately, will not show up when shooting fitness photography), is the fabric doesn’t absorb odors like others. A disadvantage that comes with using cotton is that while it absorbs odors it does not absorb sweat. Also, it will show up on the camera which you do not want to see. So if you’re planning on shooting in-action fitness shots, cotton may be a fabric to avoid.

Nylon 

Where cotton falls short, nylon is a great option for those looking to shoot fitness photography while capturing in-action content. Nylon as a fabric is breathable and absorbs sweat quickly. So there’s no need to worry about stains in your images. Because of the fabric gaining popularity in the fitness community, many active-wear brands are creating blended fabrics including nylon.

Bamboo 

Believe it or not, people in the fitness community are now wearing activewear made of bamboo pulp. The reason for the trend in sporting the latest bamboo styles in the fitness community is due to its material. When it comes to aesthetics, bamboo pulp is moisture grabbing and won’t show up on camera. Plus, given natural material of the fabric many brands are utilizing bamboo and creating stylish and versatile designs.

Polyester 

One of the most durable fabrics, polyester is used by many in the fitness world. For those venturing into extreme spots, polyester outerwear is usually the optimal choice. Its ability to stand up to weather conditions like rain (water repellant, not water resistance) and wind. Bonus points, don’t wrinkle out your skin for pictures to come by staying out in the sun, polyester is UV ray protectant.

Spandex 

Also known as Lycra, is a great fabric to use for a fitness photography shoot. Due to the material’s stretchy nature, it can show a true range of motion during a fitness routine – making spandex preferred for coaches, trainers, and influencers. Additionally, while capturing imagery spandex is a great fabric for displaying definition. Bonus points, if shooting over a longer period of time, spandex happens to have antibacterial properties. Meaning, it’s preferred over other fitness gear to stay in after working out for a longer period of time.

Polypropylene 

Many compare polypropylene to polyester due to its root material, plastic. Unlike polyester, polypropylene is completely water resistant. It’s perfect for those performing various exercises or routines during a fitness photography shoot because no matter how much sweat you produce on set, it won’t show and you’ll feel comfortably dry. You should also use polypropylene as a base when layering outfits for a fitness photography shoot. It is important to note when showcasing material like cotton (as the sweat tends to transfer).

To Use Or Not To Use Color

More than blending in or making a statement at your daily spin class, when it comes to a fitness photo shoot, there are many considerations to keep in mind when picking out your outfit. Especially when it pertains to colors. On camera, color can affect your size, definition, subject, and background. Read on as we review the basics of the color palette, as you decide which is best for your particular shoot.

Black, White, and Grey 

Don’t let these colors fool you, while yes they’re basic and neutral. They can have many positive outcomes when it comes to photographing on camera. For a fitness photography shoot where lean is the desired end look. The color black is a great choice as it slenders the body. The only complication that can come from wearing black, is the loss of definition on camera. Additionally, you will blend into the background if the set is darker. If any of these apply to your shoot, try working with the colors grey and white. These colors match with any set and show definition in the muscle extremely well.

Primary Colors 

Taking ourselves back to elementary school primary colors consist of reds, blues, and yellows. These work great as their bold on camera and can work to compliment your body’s natural tone. For example, those who are a cooler tone (with light eyes and hair), can pull off blues very well on camera. Those who are a warmer tone (tanner skin and darker eyes) can complement the color yellow very nicely. Reds are great for those who have neutral skin tones without too many undertones.

Bright Colors 

Fun and vibrant, bright colors work well at a fitness photography shoot. Whether matching your brand’s color tones and themes or trying to stand out, bright colors are great for sending messages to your audience. One word of caution is to stay away from utilizing every range of bright colors. It’s best from an overall viewership perspective to see a cohesiveness in your content.

Patterns

Adding personality and character, patterns can be great when shooting content at a fitness photography shoot. Along with appearing whimsical, it can always take away the intimidation of fitness. To many, fitness can appear overwhelming, scary, or unattainable. By bringing patterns into the mix, like these donut running shorts from Sparkle Athletic, you can humanize your relationship with your viewers. A caveat, when using patterns make sure your background it not too busy to over complicate the image.

The same can be said about wording as well. While showing words on clothing may be too busy for more professional photos, content looking to be shared on social profiles (whether posts or Instagram story) can benefit from showcasing your personality through phrases or sayings. It can help create an identity and drive likes to your posts and page. Some examples, include Sarah Marie’s Designs, as these products are not only made with great quality – but the sayings are guaranteed to draw both laughs and relatability.

How To Choose The Brand

When choosing a brand of apparel or accessories to showcase to your viewers, it’s important that the brand’s messaging and beliefs align with those who follow you. As consistency is a crucial element in maintaining a connection, cross your t’s and dot your I’s before dressing in your next fitness photography shoot. For example, if you’re speaking to a crowd of budget-friendly active enthusiast who looks for at home workout tips and free hiking trails in their area. Then, wearing $100 leggings may not connect you to your viewers.

Lululemon

A noticeable cult favorite of millennials. Lululemon has risen in popularity due to their accessibility in products as well as their hands-on approach when it comes to pop up classes and one-on-one customer care when looking for gear that’s right for you. The only downside? Dollar signs. This brand can run on the pricier side. So if you’re audience can’t afford to dish out over a hundred dollars on a gym outfit, this may not be the brand for you.

Fabletics

Started by everyone’s favorite romantic comedy actress, Kate Hudson, Fabletics was initially designed as a monthly subscription service where individuals could pick their workout outfit of choice every month with credits. The concept evolved and there are now storefronts in certain locations. Fabletics is all about having fun (with bold colors and bright patterns) and being accessible to your fitness attire with easy online delivery. Because of the rotating box service, this may not be the brand for you. That is if your audience and your particular core branding speak to minimalism (as the fabletics concept is a new outfit every month).  

Nike

Considered one of the OGs when it comes to performance wear, Nike will always be a heavy hitter when it comes to brand love and loyalty. Many individuals know about Nike when it comes to shoes, but often at times aren’t aware of the attire Nike offers as well. While maybe not the first choice when it comes to yoga and barre work attire. If your audience is runners, strength trainers, or tennis pros –  Nike may be a great fit for you and your followers.

Sudara

We all hear about the importance of being an ethical consumer and shopping smartly, but these lines may become gray when buying workout gear due to lack of knowledge. Fortunately for us, we know of Sudara. Partnering with a sewing center in India back in 2006, Sudara taught six women to sew and gave them a job and opportunity out of a high-risk area (as most of the women were working in sex slavery).

The company has since its opening, hired more workers at good wages. Additionally, it has opened a non-profit called the Sudara Freedom Fund which helps educate women to find safe housing and escaping trafficking. Plus! Their workout gear is great quality and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. This brand is perfect for those of you with followers that are looking to get with an ethically conscious business’.

Under Armor

Known as a favorite to athletes, Under Armor, in particular, is preferred among men viewers. If you’re looking to speak to a more wide audience (which includes both men and women) Under Armor may be a great brand to consider. Plus, with their recently launched campaign featuring Misty Copeland and Gisele Bundchen, their message of ‘being pretty’ also created a fan base amongst their female customers as well.

Do Not Overlook Accessories

When it comes to our fitness, we know the importance of our accessories. This same mindset should be applied when setting up for a fitness photography shoot. The imagery produced on set should be a reflection on the average workout – accessories and all. Whether tech gadgets, supporters, muscle easers/enhancers, or even our nutrition/fluids, should be captured on camera. If you are trying to encourage your views to reflect your habits, then you should hope to see the same performance results. There can’t be anything hidden behind the curtain.  

Female Attire:

Dressing the female body for fitness attire is very different from men. The female body between women can also vary greatly. 

Leggings or Joggers

The difference between the two has to do with the fabric. Joggers (hence the name) are for jogging. While creating the feeling of sweatpants, joggers are more lightweight and allow you to breathe while jogging. Leggings, on the other hand, are for more range of motion activity. Additionally, it gives the performer the control and compression to the body during a wide variety of exercises. When shooting fitness photography content, match the item with the activity you plan to engage in. Many also like to shoot more wellness and relaxing images, in joggers versus leggings or sweatpants.

Shorts and Skorts

One of the only ways you may hear the term skort is if someone is referring to tennis. But for the sake of fitness photography, and capturing in-action content, it may be wise to use a skort in images for certain angles – this way you’re guaranteeing no ‘un-wanted’ outtakes.  

Sports Bras

An extremely important item when it comes to fitness. There is a harsh truth that not all sports bras are the same. Some are purely cute and decorative while some hold everything in place. While for a photo’s sake the latter may not be as crucial – it may be wise to caveat to your readers. 

Male Attire:

Just like women, men’s bodies are not the same either. There are not only differences in preferences, but in build, height, and proportions. Below we review a few alternatives for men to feature during their next fitness photography shoot and which options work best for particular activities and workouts.

Shorts or Joggers

Most of the male’s joggers are made of 100% cotton (unlike women’s joggers which are primarily fabric blends), so there’s no worry about comfortability when choosing between shorts or joggers. This comes down to a preference and the weather. Many men like to keep their muscles warm when working out making joggers an ideal piece of clothing. Shorts are great for running outside in the summer months. Additionally, you want to utilize outside gym spaces for activities like Crossfit or circuit training. With both options, men can have fun with their choice in color and design, like these electric blue joggers from Into The AM.

Tanks vs Shirts

From a matter of direct wear, choosing between one or the other doesn’t have too much of a difference on the body (unless potentially the weather outside on a rather hot or cool day). Many men claim that they like to wear tanks while lifting weights at the gym for a couple of reasons. First, allowing them an ideal range of motion without constriction from the sleeve. Secondly, it allows you to see your muscle clearly when exercising it. Which in return helps with both form and performance. From a fitness photography perspective, tanks may also be ideal in helping show your audience your

Dressing For Your Sport

Depending on which area of expertise your fitness pertains to. There are many differences in attire, accessories, and overall information delivery to pass onto your audiences. Below we break down a few helpful hints, reminders, and products suggestions to consider adding to your next fitness photography shoot.

Running –  

One of the most popular and beloved sports featured on social media, there are many different avenues to speak to when connecting with your runner followers. Everything from music playlist to what new hot items came in the monthly Runner’s Box, runners are known to be a very collaborative community. During your next fitness photo shoot, try and demonstrate what went into your prep work, as running is very mental.

In addition to you wearing standard workout gear you’d wear to a gym, disclose what additional items runners may need including: compression socks (like these ones from Atom’s Compression Wear), electrolyte tablets for long distance runs, flashlights or headlamps (like this one from OV LED) for night time running, or even fanny packs and armbands.

Strength Training

Strength training may be one of the hardest areas of fitness to capture at a fitness photography shoot unless creating a set at a local gym. But even with securing a gym, there comes expense and interruption. A couple of ways to solve this include, investing in overall portable equipment. Having items like free weights, or a portable bar (like this one from ActivMotion Bar) allow you to bring your workout anywhere.  Crossfit gyms are also another great consideration, as there’s more space and some of the workouts are outside.

Barre

There’s so much beauty in barre. Maybe it’s because of its association to the arm form of ballet, bar can have a lot of moving elements when it comes to arranging a fitness photography shoot. From the fluidity of the movement to the control over the held positions. There are so many different vantage points to catch on camera. In addition to the movements, many enjoying having fun with barre attire – primarily in their barre socks. Influencers love picking out their signature barre socks to capture on camera. For examples of these, check out Tuckett’s barre socks. Barre is also one of those exercises where women may want to have their hair up or down depending on the pose or position, help add a layer of aesthetics to a hair tie by using Savi Style as it carefully disguises your pony on set.

Yoga

One of the most commonly followed sports and/or activities on social media, yoga has taken the internet by storm. One of the many reasons people love seeing yoga photo content is because of the bold and powerful poses. When shooting your next yoga fitness photography shoot, there are a couple of elements to keep in mind. Just like I said earlier about the color of your attire during your shoot, the same goes for a yoga mat. There a wide variety to choose from and there must be a level of personality, style, and cohesiveness your mat plays into your image and story. These mats from Supported Soul, offer a wide variety of calm and busy patterns allowing you to pick the perfect mat that’s right for you and your followers.

One complaint many have from shooting yoga on camera is their not comfortable with showcasing their feet (as barre is barefooted). TIME Slippers are a great alternative, as not only do they cover your feet in a chic way, they allow for your footing on the matt to be incredibly sound – allowing your photographer extra grace period time to capture you in your headstand.

Adventure Sports

There are so many different adventure spots out there: surfing, skiing, snowboarding, and even cliff jumping. Each one of these has an extreme following on social media. With that being said, there’s an element of personality that should be in your persona when capturing imagery. For examples: surfers can customize their board to their personality or have a set signature swink trunk or suit. Skiing and snowboarding can be quite technical when it comes down to gear, have fun by picking out signature helmets, or even colorful and patterned neck warmers from brands like  SKIDA to set you apart.

Wellness & Nutrition

While not directly related to a sport, many followers of beloved Instagram influencers like to be let in on their icons’ daily activity as it pertains to prepare them for their fitness goals – this can include both nutrition and wellness. A helpful tool to help display these performance qualities include Fitlosophy’s wellness journals, which outline your day to day physical activity to help prepare you for your upcoming goals. If looking to display nutrition, share some of your most beloved recipes, ingredients, or over the counter products during your ‘behind the scenes’ fitness photography shoot.


What is your favorite type to activewear to use when doing a fitness photography shoot? Share with us in the comments below.

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