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Fitness Competitors - First Timers


Emmanuel body builder


Julie Taylor


Warren Payne


Monika Kuligowski


Danielle Dacosta

First Time Competitors

I am a Kingston based photographer. Recently I photographed five athletes entering their first fitness competitions.


Fitness competitors - first timers

Fitness photography is interesting. The competitors are always extremely passionate about their sport and a passionate subject is always an interesting subject. I have photographed many very experienced fitness competitors. But I became quite curious about why people would enter in the first place. The commitment is huge. They are on a strict training program and meal plan. The mental challenges to stay the course can be bigger than the physical challenges.

Athleletesandmodelsmag was interested in running an article on the first timers so I contacted Sean Tierney at Team Trex. Team Trex is a Mississauga based company that specializes in Elite Contest prep and body transformation. He put me in touch with several of his clients about to enter their first competitions. 

Initially I had thought it would make sense to shoot them all the same day. Obviously this would be the most efficient way to do it. But I soon realized that they all had different competition dates with different schedules and I would have to shoot them all separately. In the end this turned out to be a blessing. I shot in gyms, photo studios and even in a downtown Toronto Dance Studio. Because of this we ended up with 5 completely different looks.

Take a look through the photos above:

01 - Emmanuel was my first subject. He had been bodybuilding for 4 years and he wanted to see if he could take it to the next level. He wanted to challenge himself. The photo setup was very simple. I used a plain black backdrop. I shone a light through some slats to give the backdrop some depth and texture.

02 - Julie had been a competitive horse back rider. She is very focused and very determined. With Julie I wanted a very clean look. The white background gave me that.

03 - Wayne had always been athletic. He also wanted to challenge himself. He wanted to see if he had what it takes. When photographing male bodybuilders I tend to stay away from the typical flexing pose. So I photographed Warren in an old pair of jeans in front of a plain white backdrop. I thought this suited him well.

04 - Monika had been a power cheerleader. She was a performer and enjoyed being in front of an audience. This was her comfort zone. With Monika the set up I used was simple but effective. She is standing in front of a bright window. The outside is overexposed and is completely white. I placed a black foam core backdrop behind her to add contrast.

05 - My last photoshoot shoot was with Danielle. She was a gymnast, but she had been out of it for 14 years. She wanted to get back in to gymnastics and get her old form back. Danielle was fun to shoot . She always had that grin on her face. This was shot in at Dance Annex, a dance studio on Bloor Street in Toronto. The main lighting was natural lighting from the windows behind Danielle. I used a small amount of fill in front of her to reduce the shadows. 

These athletes are all very competitive. They are also driven and focused. They had all found the mental discipline required to compete.

When photographing any group of people it is easy to fall into a cookie cutter approach.  But I believe each subject is unique. So I wanted five different looks. That is why I shot in five different venues and used different lighting setups for each one.

I am a Kingston based photographer. I shoot fitness photography as well as portraits, families, business, corporate, weddings and couples. I cover all of southern and eastern Ontario. Talk to me about your photography requirements.


Contact Bryce Murdoch Photography

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