If you’re a photographer, whether professional or hobbyist, it’s clearly a passion of yours. But are you fit to click? You have all the gear – an arsenal of lenses, an on-camera flash and a great body. Well, camera body that is. The fact is, carrying heavy equipment, working long hours and getting into crazy positions to ‘get the shot’ is much more physically demanding that one might think.

You might be surprised to know that increasing your physical strength can improve your photography and reduce your chances of injury. Whether you are an event or portrait photographer, or happy hobbyist, increasing your fitness abilities can improve your photography and reduce your chances of injury.

For example, doing simple exercises to increase your arm and shoulder strength, will not only make you stronger, but more stable and less likely to fatigue. So you can hold that camera steadier, and longer. Not only that, you will be less likely to feel stiff and sore the following day. And (event photographer take note!), it will reduce your risk of an injury due to overuse.

And what about those legs? Can you get down to make eye contact with a toddler? Or get down low on your tummy for a rockin’ silhouette?

Or get a wicked macro shot of a creepy crawly little bug? Yes, you guessed it, stronger legs can help you too! (and it helps you get up faster too!)

Increasing your fitness means you can hold your gear longer and steadier with less post-event stiffness.  Also, it will reduce your risk of injury due to overuse.  Overusing your arm and shoulder muscles can lead to soreness and possibly injury, which can also affect your neck and possibly cause headaches.

In the big scheme of things, it’s important to be healthy for a lot of reasons, not just photography. After all, we’re moms, right? We need to take care of not only ourselves, but our families. I hope this has given you some extra motivation to set some goals and achieve them!

Get Fit to Click! Here are some exercises to try at home and get started:

Please read my disclaimer first:  I am a big believer is developing strong core (tummy) muscles and teaching clients to be mindful of their body position while exercising. Exercises should be done with a purpose should be intentional (as opposed to sloppy form to just get done); this helps with improving posture, and building long, lean and balanced muscles.

To engage your “core” imagine pulling your navel up towards the middle of your rib cage while you breath out. Don’t think you have ab muscles? I promise you do! (they might just be hiding or not listening to you…). The main core muscles, the transverse abs, span across your tummy and don’t get challenged by regular ab exercises. However, they actually help to flatten out your tummy and support your back, so they are very important. You can trick them into working – fake cough and they will work a little. Don’t worry, you’re at your computer right now and no one can hear you. Or, pretend you’re tightening up a belt around your waist.

Shoulder Press

  1. Begin with your feet about shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent
  2. Engage your core so your torso is supported (imagine pulling your navel up to the back of your ribs).
  3. Grip your weights with your palms facing forward and your hands in front of your armpits.
  4. Inhale to prepare and as you breath out, press your hands up and forward (still in your peripheral view)
  5. Inhale as you return.
  6. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Things to watch out for:

Keep your back and shoulders still throughout the movement. Ideally, just your arms move up and down.

Raised Bicep Curl

  1. Begin with your feet about shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent
  2. Wrap an exercise tube around a steady pole or secure hook
  3. Engage your core so your torso is supported (imagine pulling your navel up to the back of your ribs).
  4. Extend your arms forward, palms up
  5. Inhale to prepare and as you breath out, bring your forearms up to the sky (elbows stay put!)
  6. Breath in to return to your starting postion and repeat!

Things to watch out for:

Keep the shoulder blades down and elbows up! Easier said than done, but helps to isolate the correct muscles.

Squats

  1. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing forward
  2. Breath in and lower down, as if you’re going to sit in a chair (in other words, get your bum back!)
  3. Go as low as you feel stable, building up your strength so you can eventually get your bum down as low as your knees
  4. Breath out and push back up by pressing into your heels (and don’t forget about that core! Squeeze your tummy as you come back up too)
  5. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Things to watch out for:

The hip need to stay back, so your knees don’t go in front of your toes.

Keep the tummy muscles pulled in, which will help support your low back.

Lunges

  1. Start with your legs hip width apart, staying close to the wall or something else you can hold for support if needed.
  2. Take a big step forward with one leg, and a big step back with the other.
  3. Keep your hips and shoulders facing forward (not rotated)
  4. Breath in and lower down, as if you were bringing your back knee towards the ground (like you’re going to propose!)
  5. Exhale, engage the tummy muscles and press back up tall

Abs

(because more abs exercises never hurt, right?)

  1. Lay on your back with your legs bent and lower back gently pressed into the ground
  2. Breath in to get ready!
  3. As you breath out, engage your core first by pulling your navel diagonally towards your rib cage
  4. Then, curl your head and shoulders slightly off the mat (tucking the chin gently)
  5. Inhale and the top, then breath out again and squeeze up just a little higher (already doing crunches, might as well burn off as many calories as possible and make it worth your time)
  6. Breath out to come back down (gracefully!).

Things to watch out for:

The chin should be gently tucked, not sticking way up in the air, or squished down into your chest.  Please note – it’s normal for the neck to get tired, since it’s exercising too. But it shouldn’t be more tired than your tummy. If it is, check your position and take lots of breaks as you need to.