Establishing a TV network for personal gainz
How do you stay motivated? When I was in top physical shape I was producing in-store advertising for a big box retailer. I'd pitched a fitness channel for selfish reasons. I wanted to create my own content with my own style, and I wanted to produce motivational and positive messages.
What started as monthly fitness content to sell products inside the electronics section of the store turned into a dedicated channel in the fitness department. The company, whose stores can be as big as a big Target, wired my TV channel into the fitness department. Permanently. As a side note, they eventually built new fitness departments around this TV concept.
I loved it - creative directing my own channel, within the branding parameters of the business, and light need for approval. The business I worked for didn't have a strong branding department, but it was important to me that what I created made sense for the company.
The video department didn't interact much with the branding fitness department. I found the people and made the connections to understand what the fitness branding meant, and applied it to the channel. Sponsors paid for product placement and gave me clothing and equipment to use in ads. My channel brought in money for the company, elevated the business's brand, and delivered content worth watching to customers. A win, win.
When I left the company I didn't want to leave my channel. I'd worked really hard, and had fun working with Olympic athletes, models and actors, and other creatives. It was my baby, but it was time to move on to other adventures.
I wrestle with the content to create now - I love telling real people stories, but need a budget to do it well. I miss having a DP to collaborate with, and sponsors to pay for travel and clothing. It doesn't take a million dollars to create compelling content, but it requires a few dedicated, talented and intelligent people to make it worth watching. A few months ago I started to get the itch for fitness lifestyle photography. I'm completely obsessed with anything Nike puts out into the world. Their creative is lovely to look at, their video content is gritty and relatable - and it's motivating. Their stuff makes me want to get out and do something, and believe that I can do it.
Capturing movement on camera is interesting to me, more interesting than capturing someone standing there - I enjoy the challenge of getting just the right hair flick, the limbs in the best positions, and it's so much fun collaborating with the team to get the right shot, and celebrate in the end. After reaching out to the Kim Dawson agency about a model who would be a good fit, I met Rachael. She is a fitness model who can mov
I ordered a mix of styles from Nike, and asked On Set Management if any of their makeup artists would like to collaborate on a fitness shoot. Natural makeup that let the skin breathe is important to me - I'd rather retouch a few blemishes but maintain real skin texture. One of their artists, Heather Fitzgerald, loved the concept and was on board.
These are the resulting images from the test. I rented the Profoto D2s - I don't think they were the best choice for the fast action because I still captured motion blur in the fingers and hair on the high jumps, but the TTL Air Remote made adjusting the lights super simple. The size of the studio was a struggle - it was challenging to light her in a way that would allow her to jump and move. Changing light set ups wasn't practical. When it's just me on set I don't want to use energy to change up lighting midway through a shoot. I prefer to dial in the light before shoot day, so when everyone arrives I can use my creative brain to focus on the poses, how the light is striking the face, how the hair and clothing are flowing, and the mood of the composition.
When a light change is required I have to worry about sandbags, taping down cables, moving lights - this can be exhausting and lengthen the testing day for everyone. This type of shoot is better executed with a team who can help keep the set safe and organized so we all can work at our best.
The first round of images I edited myself. But I was curious how a few images would look with the expertise of a retoucher. The first go around was heavy handed. He smoothed out too many wrinkles and lost shadows in the cheeks and chin. The second round he brought back the model's features, and I'm happy with the results, but I'm not sure the added retouching did anything compelling to the images. The editing makes them look more beauty than fitness. But I still like them.
Next time around I would shoot fewer outfits and more people. I'd also like to try this with the Profoto Pro-10 pack. It'd would be completely amazing to also shoot video at the same time, but right now that would be much easier to execute outside with the sun - in Colorado or on a beach...to be continued ;)
Fitness Lifestyle Photography, Video Direction and Creative Direction: Me, Jami Clayman
Talent: Video - Kim Dawson Agency. Still images talent, Kim Dawson Agency Rachael Turner
Hair and Makeup for still images: Heather Fitzgerald with On Set Management