I met Helen before she officially set up Fitness with Helen at a fun networking group I’m a member of. At the time she was approaching redundancy and looking at going solo for the first time. Surrounded by self-employed business owners, she was completely in the right place. After the giddiness of being showered in referrals and recommendations, Helen and I met up for a coffee. Here, we could have a bit more of a chilled chat about getting her Headshots right the first time.
THE INSPIRATION & MESSAGE
During this meeting Helen told me more about her story, to give me a real context for her headshots. Fitness for her was something she said she wanted to bottle up and be able to show in this condensed way. She wanted to give this to people who were afraid of even trying it, people who had become so entrenched in the philosophy of getting a new prescription. Or to show it to those avoiding the responsibility of trying to take some action on their own. How did she know about this? She’d gone through it herself. This wasn’t just any normal personal training business, Helen wanted to really niche down into a specific service, for a very certain type of client. I had the challenge of helping her deliver all of these messages through some headshots.
I tossed around a few quick hair-brained ideas that were literally off the top of my head – I have a bad habit of doing this sometimes as soon as I meet new clients. Its the creative equivalent of going to an audition for a Shakespeare Role and knowing NONE of the lines. I get too excited and far too talkative, this results in my clients or prospective clients getting either gold dust (great for them, bad for me) or the pap before the gold dust (bad for them, and bad for me – as I look like a muppet).
Luckily, in this case, Helen found my weird little process endearing and so we moved on to talking about the rest of her overall branding strategy (this can hugely shift how we position your headshots). I recommended some of my trusted people in Website Design, the logo element of branding, and we discussed business coaching too.
THE COLOUR PALETTE
A few months later, Helen got back in touch and gave me an update on all of the startup work she had been getting on with. She was thrilled at being made officially redundant from her job, and she told me she was also quite scared all at the same time. We booked in a Skype chat with Helen’s Graphic Designer who was going to talk me through a colour palette and how the branding of Fitness With Helen was starting to divide up the business into different areas of service.
With these colours and areas of business, I was now able to start narrowing down my headshots ideas into how a shoot might start to flow together. It was at this stage, Helen had also started work with her Web Designer to get these graphics into a site and build further on her services. Whilst this work was starting, I engaged my creative team and developed a SCHWHAM Mood-board.
THE FITNESS HEADSHOTS PREPARATION
Helen told me she really liked the way that Katie Bulmer-Cooke had her headshots photography produced on her website. She had given me some more ideas on the range of things she wanted to incorporate into her overall photography set up. As Fitness With Helen is not as much about “smashing a fitness goal” and more about “getting going with fitness altogether” it was really important we take out the usual high energy and ideas of all fitness photography we instantly think as synonymous with fitness photography itself! Really, this is far harder to explain than it was to feel and “get the gist of”. Here is our SCHWHAM Mood-board, see if you “get the drift”.
So on reflection of these ideas, we decided the best way to get everything she loved, would be to work on an action-packed half-day headshots service with me. AKA – The Sch-Wham Service.
It was really important for Helen to have real models in her shoot. As you can see from the mood board above, the “LA look” reigns supreme when it comes to any fitness ANYWHERE in the world. That’s just not real (nor is it geographically true either). Having her friends and people she enjoyed working on her own fitness regime with would reveal some of the honest fun within Helen’s brand and ease her nerves about half a day in front of a camera. What’s more, her real brand could be flourished upon with some beautifully real bodies too.
At this stage I got my stylist Wardrobe Provocateur to do her thang. After an Intro meeting on how to carefully combine brand colours without ending up to “matchy-matchy”, Nichola and Helen had a marvellously fun time getting up to mischief in some sports shops. I’ve heard there is a story about some kind of changing room antics. I will let Nic tell you that story over on her blog right here:
With an unsuccessful time of group meeting on SKYPE, we moved over to my new beloved ZOOM to do all of our prep chats where we hammered down a fully bespoke social media plan for Helen for before the fitness headshots shoot, during it and afterwards.
With that, our social media machine was kicked off by Emily Emmett. Our Hair and Make Up Artist for the shoot posted this on Instagram:
FITNESS HEADSHOTS SHOOT DAY
Shoot day was militantly planned. To the last minute. This was for a few reasons, and I think it’s great to note these here, to give you a wider insight into how a great shoot becomes great, instead of remaining in the grey and murky waters of “hmmm, K”.
MAKEUP & HAIR
First of all Emily, MUA extraordinaire is a full-on chicca. When I say this, I mean in every sense of the word. To work with her is always a pleasure, she is always fun and vibrant on a shoot. When you get to know her a little more, you see that this vibrancy leaks through into every part of her life. That includes her social and working schedules. This girl NEVER Stops. So on Shoot day, Emily was working a wedding from around 4 am. Then she met with Helen to get her ready for when we were starting. Once we had completed our half-day shoot, it was essential that Emily had to be off to her next job about 45mins away. This was then going on through till about 1 am. Like I said. FULL. ON.
Next up, we had models in a certain part of the fitness headshots shots. So as not to have them hanging around too much, I booked all of their shooting together in the schedule. As I mentioned before, we were not going to be using professional models (who -like actors- are fully skilled at hanging around for long periods of time between sets) it was important that we used their time effectively.
Finally, the compounding factor on our time was the half-day element of this shoot. We had set up an ambitious course of shooting and I was determined to get as much of our headshot list complete as I could, in the time allocated. This is always tricky for me (a bit like that creative stuff I revealed at the beginning of this blog). From a photographic point of view, I’d happily keep on shooting and shooting (probably till dawn the next day). From a logistical point of view, that’s just silly sauce!
We got started out on the Beach. King Edward Bay in Tynemouth if you know it?
We then had the models join us now to capture some of the group elements of Helen’s brand. Here the ‘Fitness with Friends’ ideas of the Headshots began to take shape.
We then had an outfit and look change for Helen, and a scenery change. We headed to a park.
I got Helen to begin to put the models through their paces now. Everyone was warmed up and into the shoot. You can see here she really went for it!
For a final set and outfit change, we moved back for our final scene in the overall story of Fitness With Helen. Whilst we had been shooting fitness headshots in the park, Nichola had been styling the life out of a table and some food…
A final outfit change for everyone culminated in our finale shot. Everyone gathered around a table of delicious and healthy-looking food, being social and just hanging out together. This is such an important part of what Helen’s brand and business are all about. We had to have a homage to it in our grand finale.
With a bunch of great snacks to the round of our “That’s a Wrap!”. Helen and I made plans to re-convene and narrow the images down together after she had been given access to her private fitness headshots gallery. I sent this as soon as I had edited my first cut of the work.
THE FITNESS HEADSHOTS EDIT
We sliced things down really well over a couple of cups of coffee and a green juice. Then we got to that awful place of cutting the last two or three. So Helen and I took to Facebook Live to see what Helen’s current following thought about it. As delivering fitness online is something Helen is looking into, we agreed this quick foray into FB Live might be a fun way to dip our toes into the water. Here is the link, and apologies for the sea-sick phone movement…
The votes came pouring in and Helen was helped with selecting her final image for the Orange top Headshot. She picked the one I featured earlier on in this post (in case you voted and you were wondering).
THE HEADSHOTS FINISHES
What really helped at this stage was that both Helen and I had been back in touch with Gerry about Website Design. We knew exactly what sorts of headshots were going to be needed and where on the website. This was hugely important when it came to making a final selection cut. I will recommend this way of working to future clients who either have a website they are happy with, but especially to those who plan to feature my work on a new website. This will work so smoothly when it is being built at the same time.
I was able to feedback important technical photography layout information -on Helen’s behalf- straight to Claire who was ready to rock with business cards design. Helen has reported how much time this has saved her.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how Helen’s very clear brand message is received. If you haven’t taken a look at her around on social media you can now. Stay tuned for her online fitness updates too. Wherever you are in the world, you can be filled with the joy of fitness.
If you would like to find out which headshots package is right for you, look here.