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8 Tips for Great Health Club Photography on a Budget


Most health clubs need photos to promote instructors, programs and private training. However, professional photography can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider keeping photography in-house.

Many elements go into creating outstanding photography, but for the health club, a few simple tips and tricks can get you the results you are looking for to help increase non-dues revenue.

  1. Purchase a DSLR Camera.

An entry-level Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) will have a larger lens and sensor to bring in more light when you shoot. A DSLR can be intimidating, but it is always the best bet, plus many come with video capability. Beginner DSLRs have auto-shoot features as well as the same shooting modes you typically find on a point-and-shoot, including sport, portrait, low light and evening modes.

  1. Shoot with a triangle set up.

If you are shooting a group fitness class, it is best to look for a triangle where one person is the focal point and two other people are behind that person on either side.  The triangle method, with three people, frames a photo perfectly. If you are shooting two people, then shoot on an angle.

  1. Prepare the area before you shoot.

Health clubs photo shoots are notorious for having towels, keys and water bottles all over the floors of a studio or class, so it is best to prepare the area by taking away these extra items that may cause your shot to be messy. Be sure to check the background for anything that will clutter your image.

  1. Look for emotion and intensity.

If you can capture people in their workout zone, you will have unique picture. So look for and anticipate emotion when you shoot.

  1. Plan to have a trainer or instructor available as your “Exercise Stylist.”

Have someone on hand to correct posture and form as well as look at clothing and hair. A workout photo will be ruined if the form is not correct. Take multiple shots to be sure you are getting the right one.

  1. Plan clothing in advance.

Ask your staff to wear black tights or pants rather than shorts. Shorts can potentially be problematic if they are too short. I always recommend bringing a few different solid colored shirts as options. I have had all three models show up in red shirts. If they come in with options, you can switch people into different colors.

  1. Negative space or white space.

Shoot with the flyer or poster in mind — you will need room in the image for text. Plan to shoot with an empty wall on one side, so you or your designer can lay text in that area instead of over equipment in the background. You will notice many stock photos are taken with a white background or negative space as well.

  1. Create a shot list.

It is always best to come up with a shot list before you shoot. When yoga, Pilates or personal training photos are needed, it is best to get a minimum of three potential exercises sent to you in advance. That way, you see what the postures look like before you shoot. Often a posture may sound like a good idea, but the exercise may not look great for the person you are working with. Exercise shots may have to be adjusted for the models you are using.

If you need vertical or horizontal photos, you may want to look at the exercises so you can plan what will work for each direction. If you have a specific look in mind, find the right stock photo for inspiration and duplicate it in your club.

Always remember, just have fun!


Tiffany Slitkin Levine is the director of marketing and public relations at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, Colorado.


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