Since I started shooting fitness photography, it’s always been a bit of a learning curve. It’s not something you can really study or just pick up and start shooting. Magazine after magazine I’d look at the photos shot by some of the best and kept wondering “how can I be editing fitness photos as good as these guys?!” Looking at the lighting and developing my style over the years, I’ve been managed to create a look I’m happy to apply to most of my editing.

Due to this, the most common question I get asked online by fellow photographers is – “What editing software do you use or how can I start editing fitness photos like this.” Seeing as when I started there wasn’t really the resource or information about, I thought I’d create it!

Editing Fitness Photos

Whilst editing can enhance a photo you need to make sure you have a good photo to start with. You can’t really add light to areas of a photo where there isn’t any already, so making sure you have correctly lit and exposed photo is always the best way to start. I did create a video last year about the lighting equipment I use in my fitness photos. Not much has changed since then as I’ve found something that works for me.

The software I use for editing fitness photos is Adobe Lightroom Classic. I know some people that use Photoshop for everything however, if you have a whole a shoot you’re working on, Lightroom and the sync option saves you a lot of time. Less time editing and more time getting out there and shooting. Don’t get me wrong there are sometimes when I’ll import the photo in Photoshop for some extra retouching but all of my colour work when editing fitness photos is done within Lightroom.

There are plenty of presets out there but what I’ve found, if you’re trying to create your own look, why use something else someone has created?? As then if you’re using it then more than likely someone else is! You can use it as a base of your edit, although in the video I demonstrate editing from scratch.

As you can see it’s nothing too extreme, a few simple tweaks and knowing how to manipulate colour to make your subject stand out. You could go in and start changing the skin detail with some extra dodge and burning or frequency separation but this all down to a personal preference.

Before / After

Use the slider below to see the before and after of the final photo. Shot on a Nikon D800 with Sigma 35mm f/1.4 [A] and lighting via Elinchrom ELB 400.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below or send me an email directly via the contact page.