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Progress pictures, progress pictures, progress pictures. Probably one of my clients most dreaded things to do, but one of the best tools for showing them how far they have come!

At first, progress photos can be discouraging. I remember when I took my first “before” picture. I was mortified. I couldn’t believe how I looked. It was not the image I had of myself. That is the beauty, and the beast, of taking that very first picture. It was beastly because I was embarrassed, but I found the beauty in it when I realized it could only get better from that moment! As the weeks went by, with each progress picture I took I began viewing myself differently. As each image changed I grew more encouraged, more determined and more disciplined. The process was powerful.

The process can only be powerful if the progress pictures are taken correctly. I have noticed, with each new client that joins the Arise Fitness team, progress pictures are a struggle. After all, how are we supposed to take progress pictures if we don’t really understand the purpose and/or understand HOW they need to be taken. Here are 5 tips to ensure a great, powerful progress picture journey.

Choose a place with great lighting.

Lighting matters. Dark photos do not show results. They may hide what you don’t want your coach or anyone else to see, but they do you no justice in showcasing your hard work. To see results you need to take your picture in a place with great lighting. The best light for snapping these shots is natural light! So, pick a room in your home, or your gym, where there are windows. Turn all the lights on, open the curtains and make sure there are no shadows being cast on your physique before you take the picture.

 Once you have found that spot with great lighting, stay there for every single progress photo.

Your coach needs uniformity in lighting and background when reviewing your photos. It is important for photos to be taken in the same place with the same lighting every single time. Since progress pictures are used to analyze progress it needs to be easy for us to notice the differences. If the lighting varies from image to image it makes it very difficult for us to see changes.

Choose your clothing wisely.

The best progress photos happen when the client is not trying to hide anything. How can your coach help you if they don’t know what you look like/where you struggle the most? The point I am making here is don’t wear clothing that hides your most hated part of your body. We need to be able to see the entire picture here, not just what you want to show us. The best thing to wear for progress pictures is a sports bra and spandex shorts or a bathing suit for you gals, boxers/briefs or shorts for you guys. Keep in mind your coach may want to use your pictures to show others one day (with your permission of course). If you don’t want to be seen in your actual bra and panties (or underwear for those men out there) choose a different outfit.

Stand in the same positions for each picture.

Your coach will need a picture of the front, side and rear of your body. The pose you will be in will be determined by your goals. If you are planning to compete your coach will need you in the respective poses. If your goal is to improve your physique without competing you will need to stand in the same pose for every picture. This preferred pose may be different from coach to coach so be sure to ask what they prefer if they do not tell you. One thing to note here is the side image. If you are just taking one image of one side of your body be sure it is the same side of your body! If you take an image of the left side of your body one week be sure the next week you take the image of your left side again, not your right.

Your photographer needs to take the picture from the same place each time.

One week I will get photos of the entire body and the next week I will get a picture from the knees up. This is not good. Again, your coach needs uniformity with progress photos. Pictures taken from different places, zoomed in and zoomed out, are not helpful in tracking progress. Be sure the photographer is standing in the same place each time as they take the picture. If you are your own photographer the same thing goes for you. Place your phone in the same place each time and stand the same distance away from the camera.

If you make sure these 5 things are done each time you will make your coaches life a lot easier AND you will be able to see all your hard work! Now, go take some awesome pictures.

If you have any other tips for great progress pictures let us know! We would love to hear!