Every Thursday, Svveat Stories tackles your most pressing fitness questions—this week, Svveat founder Johanna Robles Tam grills fitness photographer Jess Baumung for his pro tips for nailing that perfect workout shot.

My Instagram feed is filled with glamour shots of people running through the city and taking fitness classes—and they’re not even models or “influencers,” they’re just regular people. Is hiring a personal photographer to accompany you to workouts a thing, or what am I missing? My race photos definitely do not look that good. Is there some secret class teaching people how to look attractive while they sweat? And if so, where do I sign up?
— Camera Shy

All photos by Jess Baumung, courtesy adidas Runners Toronto

Hey, Camera Shy.

You’re not wrong. Fitness companies have realized that social media is a powerful tool for advertising, and that people love nothing more than sharing a good photo of themselves. So it’s not uncommon to see a professional photographer snapping away at local Toronto run clubs and brand-sponsored fitness events. But the thing is, it’s their job to make you look good. Just focus on the workout, and they’ll do the rest.

Jess Baumung is adidas Runners Toronto‘s resident photog, and here are his pro tips for those who are not yet accustomed to having their workout documented on camera.

  1. Trust that the photographer has your best interest at heart.
    With every great photo, there are 10 others taken in the same moment that don’t quite make the cut. There are really only four different positions in which running photos look great. In every other instance, less flattering moments are captured. Trust that I and other photographers have your best interest at heart when shooting at your local run or fitness event, as we have our reputations to maintain. The better we make you look, the better we look too!
  2. Be open to getting your photo taken.
    From time to time, you may be surprised (or excited!) to see myself or another photographer while you’re working out. I’ve been approached by some who were initially nervous to get their photo taken, who end up tagging me in photos they post on social media soon after. If you truly don’t want to get your photo taken, it’s OK to ask the photographer to remove your pictures from the final set. But I’d suggest being open to the process, as you really never know what might come of it.
  3. It’s not just about looking good for the ‘gram.
    There’s nothing quite like having a photo memory of your first few kilometres with your run club or your first workout at a studio. Every so often, I see throwbacks to my previous work from Toronto athletes, reminiscing about how far they’ve come. Another lesser known advantage is that a photographer and his or her camera popping mid-workout (sometimes seemingly out of nowhere) actually helps remind you to straighten up and fix that stride mid-run or refocus on your form.
  4. Smile and have fun with it.
    Whether you decide to look into the camera, look away or even jump as high as you possibly can, remember that you have full control of what gets captured with the shutter button. Have fun with it and know that the person behind the camera is having as much as fun as you are.

Follow Jess on Instagram @JessBaumung for some serious fitspo.

Have a fitness question you’d like us to answer? Email us at stories@svveat.com or ask us in the comments below.

Leave your comments