What I Learned from my Recent Fitness Photo Shoot…

Here is post #23 in my 30 Days of Blogging Challenge.  I can’t believe we are nearing the end of this challenge!  You can click here to read more about this crazy challenge I gave myself to blog 30 days in a row.
Blogging ChallengeThis past weekend I was in Las Vegas working at the Olympia Expo.  I had a great time and will have a blog post up later this week talking about the whole experience.  On the last day, I was so excited for a photo shoot with James Patrick Photography.   James is one of the best and most highly respected photographers in the fitness industry.  Not only does he take amazing photos, but he has an awesome blog that he shares really great advice for people looking to get into the fitness industry, business owners, etc.

Natalie Hodson Fit Mom

I came into this shoot knowing I wasn’t as lean as I had been before having baby #2 six months ago, and that I wouldn’t be as toned as some of the other fitness models he shoots.  But, through this entire pregnancy I have really tried to focus on documenting what is normal for my body to go through after carrying a ten pound baby (click here to read articles where I talk about and show pictures of post baby body changes).  Even though I gained 65lbs during my pregnancy, I am really proud of how I’ve been consistent with my nutrition and workouts to get the baby weight off build some muscle back that I lost during the pregnancy.

In the weeks leading up to the shoot, James and I had talked about incorporating the baby into a few of the shots.  I was so excited for this!  I don’t have a lot of professional photos right now showing me with my kids, and I was excited for some new content that I could use on my website and FB pages.  I wish that I would have had my 3-year old with me in the pictures, but he had a soccer game and soccer pictures that weekend and so stayed at home in Texas with my husband.

It’s been almost a week since the photo shoot.  I had a great time and really enjoyed working with James and Jason Black (the two photographers at the shoot).  I had intended on getting some behind-the-scenes photos but we were so busy with keeping the baby happy I completely forgot!  Both James and Jason have very laid back, calm personalities and do a great job of making you feel comfortable right when they meet you.  James gave a lot of direction during the shoot in regards to how I should stand, where my hands should be, which direction to turn my face, etc.  Overall I had a great time and hope to work with James in the future again.  As I’ve reflected on the experience here are a few things I learned, would have done differently, and took away from the shoot:

-I am not a fitness model.  I’m laughing as I’m typing this.  It was so much fun getting dressed up and getting my photo taken, but when I look at the proofs of the photos, the ones I look most natural in are the pictures where I have a baby on my hip.  I’m a regular mom and I think that shows in the photos.  I’ve felt this way in other shoots I’ve done too.  Standing in a room having someone take my photo isn’t something that feels very natural to me, and sometimes I just feel kind of awkward.  I like doing photo shoots to record the hard work I have put in the gym, but I don’t think getting photos taken on a regular basis is in the cards for me.  I’m a mom to two young kids, and that’s where I feel most in my element.

-I did a lot of research on James and Jason Black (the two photographers at the shoot) before I came.  I really wanted to get a feel for who I was working with, their personalities, etc.  James and Jason have an awesome podcast they host two times a month called the Pro Exposure where they give all kinds of great advice for free.  They talk about a wide range of topics like: branding yourself, social media marketing, etiquette at photo shoots, etc.  In fact, in their podcast this week they talk a lot about Phoenix and how fun she was on set!  You can click here to listen to it.  I really wanted to talk to them about their blog, podcasts, etc and let them know how much I learned from listening to them.  I waited until the end of the shoot to bring all this up, but at that point it was almost 8:30pm, the baby was tired and crying, and it just wasn’t a very good time to talk about it.  In hindsight, I wish I would have talked to them about it right at the beginning.  We could have talked during the shoot, and they probably would have liked knowing I had done my research on them too.

-We did the shoot at 7pm on Saturday evening.  When we originally scheduled this, I was thinking it was a great time simply because I didn’t have anything else scheduled that evening.  I didn’t really think about the fact that I would have been working a booth at the Olympia Expo all day and that I would be really tired.  I had my hair and makeup re-done before the shoot (I will talk more about that in a second) so that looked fresh, but I felt like my eyes just looked tired in most of the pictures.  I know this sounds strange, but because I had been smiling and talking most of the day, I felt like in a lot of the shots it was hard to give a natural looking smile.  It’s hard to describe when I’m typing it out, but I guess my cheeks were just tired!  My little girl is also teething right now and so I was up five or six times with her the night before.  James did a great job and I am so happy with the photos, but this is definitely something I will consider next time with my scheduling.

We had so many great shots, and Phoenix was so awesome in front of the camera giving us huge smiles, but here are the six I ultimately decided on:
I want to real quick talk about the hair and makeup.  I had Lyndsey Yeager from Glossa Professional Makeup do my hair and makeup and she was wonderful to work with!  She met me at my hotel (next to the convention center) about two hours before my shoot and then I took a cab to the Hilton where James Patrick was set up at (on the strip).  Unfortunately, right when she got there Phoenix was really hungry, tired, and fussy.  She knew we were on a time crunch and was so awesome and let me nurse the baby while she was doing my hair.  Not only is she incredibly talented when it comes to hair and makeup, but she is also a super-mom with the cutest little 3-year old ever, she runs her own successful company, and is working towards her Masters.  I learned a lot from her about scheduling and time management while we were talking!  Lyndsey works with a lot of fitness competitors and I would definitely recommend looking her up if you are looking to get your hair/makeup done.  Some pictures with Lyndsey:
Lyndsey Yeager2Lyndsey Yeagerphoto 1Lyndsey Yeager3
My sister was with me this weekend watching the baby while I was working at the expo.  She came with me to the shoot and we had a blast.  By the time we were done, the babies were exhausted (she had her 11 month old with her too), and so we headed home.  We picked up some fun desserts on the way home, got the kids to sleep, and ate some fun treats (I am now obsessed with Nuts N’ More peanut and almond butter.  I bought the coconut almond and pumpkin spice flavors at the expo and they are so delicious!).  Here is a picture we took after the shoot back in our hotel, relaxing and getting ready to fly out early the next morning.
Lyndsey Yeager4My beautiful sister with her little baby boy:
Erica Erica2
And that was a night!  I had a great time, I am so glad I got these pictures while the baby is still so young, and I would absolutely recommend James Patrick to anyone interested in getting professional photos taken (he is located near Phoenix, Arizona).  I hope you enjoyed this post, I’m planning to finish up my 30 days of Blogging Challenge without any more long breaks like I’ve had the past few days.  Tomorrow I am writing about the new training program I’ve been doing and comparing it to programs I’ve done in the past.

Your Friend,

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  • those pictures are great! I can only dream (so far) to look similar to that after 6 months pp 🙂 I am 34 weeks right now.) Great Job Natalie 🙂

  • Natalie,
    Loved catching up on your blog….you are so beautiful inside and out!!!
    Shelley…and I must say guys she’s an awesome soccer mom too…giving her family a balance of health, nutrition, and of course fun!!!

  • Wow you look so pretty and it is so nice to see that you were able to get back into tip top shape in 6 months gives us hope :0! May I ask how expensive it is to do this shooting w/ them? Is there a range in price? Do you get a package deal like hair make up and the session? It would help to motivate me I know if I wasdoing a shoot Keep inspiring !!!

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I’m Natalie

Ten years ago I started out in the online world in the fitness space. I started blogging, sharing at-home exercises, and offering easy recipes. This turned into writing eBooks — one of which blew up in a way I could never imagine!

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