My friend and fellow Chicago photographer Jeff Haynes tried to get me to join Instagram over two years ago, but I didn’t really want to add another social media app to what seemed like an already crowded landscape of options. Boy was I wrong!
I joined the social platform a year ago and after 14 months I have accrued more than 7,800 followers. If I had started when he told me about the site I might have more than 15,000 supporters. Though the number isn’t some sort of boost to my ego. From a business point of view, the more people who know about me and my work, the more people who may someday be in a position to hire me.
In addition, Instagram allows me to crowd source the editing of my portfolio by giving me instant feedback about the likeability of a particular image. As photographers we all have images we love because of what we had to do to create the image. But Instagram doesn’t care about our feelings and our followers will tell us what they think of our hard work with a single double tap, or lack thereof.
Before Barack Obama was our president, I had a large presence on the website Model Mayhem which allowed photographers, models, fitness models and crew members to connect and work together on special projects. As the popularity of the site waned and as I became busy with other things. my personal work started to become stale. Thankfully Instagram provides us with a new outlet to create new work, in this case Fitness Model Photography. That’s how I met fitness model Tristin Johnson, who was also the first person I worked with from the platform.
I started off indoors using a Profoto Softlight Reflector (Silver)that I masked off with tape so that the light that emitted from the modifier was about 6 by 24 inches. That way it would light the middle of Johnson’s fitness physique and then fall off dramatically towards right and left edges of the frame. it also helps with fitness model photography to have dramatic angular light to bring out the edges of your model.
Next, we took Tristan to a few of the many colorful murals in my gritty and artsy Rogers Park Chicago neighborhood where I then used my Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep OctaBox and a Photek Softlighter II 46-Inch Umbrella and my Profoto D1 Air 500 Monolights to perfectly light our fitness model.The light units were powered with two Paul C Buff Vagabond mini lithium batteries and all of the images were captured on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera.
Fitness Model Photography Behind-The-Scenes