I’ve always admired Mark and Kristie Stevens and the Anytime Fitness Franchise because of their dedication to hard work, health, and quality. The Anytime Fitness motto is “Work hard, play hard” as they strive to help people achieve a healthy and strong lifestyle rather than just make money. I was recently commissioned by Mark (aka Dad) to photograph all seven of their gyms. Yes, they did pay me like a professional photographer, and no they did not get a family discount.
So I spent a few days traveling around North Alabama and Mississippi. The photographs that I was commissioned to take were straightforward - location, club culture (environment), classes, personal training, and staff. Since half of these were about people, the staff’s assistance was vital. Acually, they were more like collaborators because they knew the members, had their trust, and were responsible for making the gym an encouraging and fun environment.
Staying true to each gym's specific community spirit meant working with the staff for to figure out what kinds of things they do to create that environment.
Ultimately, the gym itself and the amenities provided there also were very important. Anytime goes beyond just having equipment to also having personal trainers, instructor-led classes, and classes on demand.
Enough blurbing about how great Anytime Fitness is, this blog is about how I am growing as a photographer.
The hardest thing to balance was resecting people’s privacy, and asking them to be models. I did not want to interrupt their workout, but I did want to have the people shots and make them feel good about being a model. I found that while I dreaded it, people were much more enthusiastic to have their photograph taken than I had guessed. Lesson learned!
People like having their photograph taken. While they are helping me out, I’m giving them something to brag about to their friends and I'm making them feel good about themselves.
The location and equipment shots were easy and fun as long as I did the following.
The best way to take location shots is to walk around and find different interesting angles. In this situation it is important to always review the photos to make sure that there’s nothing awkwardly cropped out and that there are no distracting trash cans.
As photography is becoming more important in social media, photographers have to work hard to make sure that we are making attractive, interesting, and fun images so that people want to know more. Mediocre representations are no longer an option in today's world.