Photography by Ian L. Sitren

Posts tagged “fitness photographer

Film Was Is Good

I was still shooting film for my gym features long after everyone else went to digital. Here my buddy Jake Sawyer was the subject for me shooting a Leica M7 with Kodak Tri-X film. I love the look of film shot with a Leica and still do.

I did have to go digital to accommodate the need for fast turnaround when I was shooting bodybuilding and fitness competitions. Most of the time the photos were uploaded and online for my client, Bodybuilding.com, by the next morning. More of the photos would then go to the magazines and be in the next print issues. I was shooting 25 – 30 competitions per year all around the country.

Jake Sawyer


Curls and Pivotal

Among the things I do best, bodybuilding and fitness photography. And that is where I have been published many thousands of times over around the world.  This photo of my friend Travis Ely doing curls from one of our shoots a few years ago.

However this photograph has another point to it that was pivotal for me. This photo was done with what was at the time, the latest Hasselblad digital camera. Although I had been shooting other digital cameras at the time, for shoots like this I was still shooting medium format film. The Hasselblad gave me the colors, skin tone and look that I preferred in film.

For you photographer out there; this was shot with the Hasselblad H4D-40 with the HC80mm lens. No additional lighting, just the overhead gym lighting and natural light coming in from the large front windows. ISO 800, f2.8 and 1/60th second, processed in Hasselblad Phocus. Hasselblad files processed in Phocus create an almost magical perfect result. Thanks!

Travis Ely


Is This 6 ft?

Trying to figure out how to do some photo shoots. Is this 6 ft? OK, sheltering at home. Thanks!

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Not Shooting – Sheltering In Place

I had wanted to be shooting over the next few weeks. Sheltering in place for now.

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The Collapse Of Bodybuilding.com

As many of you know, I was closely associated with Bodybuilding.com for a number of years as their primary photographer shooting shows, features and advertising for them. As well as closely involved in marketing, social media and more. So closely involved that I was often and regularly asked if I owned it. Working with them was joy and the family ownership was great, Ryan and Jeremy DeLuca, and their dad Russ who to this day I count as one of my great friends over the years. I was there when we covered the Olympia for there first time, and they almost threw us out, to when it became the driving force in the entire bodybuilding and fitness industry worldwide.

Now many have been asking me what do I think happened. Bodybuilding.com has been collapsing over the last couple of years and now seems at the door of total collapse. I find it very sad but even more sadly we totally predicted it some time ago. Many of you will remember as we talked about it back then, seeing into the future.

If I were to sum up in one sentence; Bodybuilding.com abandoned all of the things that got them to the top.

BBcom Shirt

Bodybuilding.com once had an incredible reputation and word of mouth identity that translated into hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of sales. The stars of fitness and bodybuilding sung their praises, the athletes all wanted to be a part, the consumers went there for motivation, information, stories, peer to peer relationships and everyone bought everything from them. Prices were the lowest, shipping was fast, customer service beyond reproach.

The online content of Bodybuilding.com was the key. Endless feature stories, articles, workouts, photographs, videos, competition coverage, product reviews. Contributed by stars of the industry, the fan favorites; all of it great, new, exciting and top quality. And everybody was paid for it, and paid well and paid fast. The top athletes loved doing things for Bodybuilding.com. When other companies treated them like just a commodity, Bodybuilding.com paid them well for everything they did, paid all of their expenses and paid fast. Even other companies loved doing business with them, everybody got paid within days. So when it came to recommending where to spend your money, everybody said, Bodybuilding.com. When other companies, vendors were asked for the lowest prices possible, they said yes! Because they got paid now. And the savings were passed on to the customer. And yet Bodybuilding.com was still making a ton of money.

Bodybuilding.com had a presence at almost every bodybuilding and fitness show of any size around the country and many around the world. Something like 300 per year. And they gave out everything from free merchandise to free t-shirts designed specifically for that show. The athletes in those show booths were also paid well. So guess what; they had nothing but good to say too and did their absolute best. And they were again paid fast along with all of their expenses from hotel rooms to food. By the way, at big shows like the Arnold and Olympia, we would give away thousands and thousands of t-shirts.

Every magazine that was somehow related to fitness and bodybuilding around the world had monthly Bodybuilding.com advertising and sometimes features. Even better for some time it was all photographed and sometimes also written by me. Hundreds of magazines, also major sports magazines and even mainstream magazines and major newspapers. Actually Bodybuilding.com made me one of the most viewed bodybuilding and fitness photographers on the planet.

Within a decade of it’s start in a garage, Bodybuilding.com was seen everywhere, all the time by everyone. You would even see homeless people on Venice Beach, Muscle Beach, wearing brand new Bodybuilding.com t-shirts. As my buddy Russ said, they need the shirts and it is still good advertising.

Then it happened, not all at once, but identifiable. Liberty Media bought Bodybuilding.com. Liberty Media is a behemoth owning at the time everything  from the Atlanta Braves to the Home Shopping Channel, QVC, the History Channel and more. Back then revenue was $8 billion per year as I recall. Everything remained the same for about a year. But then Liberty started moving in their people as the original Bodybuilding.com management were replaced. And people who did not have their roots in bodybuilding and fitness. Maybe they had a gym membership but that’s it. They were pencil pushers and retailers.

I started hearing from athletes and vendors. Slow payment became the standard, 30 days, 60 days or more. “Could I call someone and see where their check was” was something I would often get asked. “They only want free from me now” “They want me to work the show and not even pay for expenses” “They want to pay me with a coupon on purchases”. Yes that is more of what I heard.

Bodybuilding.com stopped going to shows; “everyone there knows who we are anyway”. Ads, features and stories became mediocre and far from original. Online content which used to be new almost daily went well less than frequent.

My own ending with them came when getting ready for a new year of scheduling for shows and ads and features, I was told my rate was going to be cut to something like 20% of what it had been. I said no and that was it. Actually I went back to them once with a feature and photos and video with a major rock star into fitness. They actually offered me $50… yes $50. The person who had to tell me was an old friend from the company and he expressed how embarrassed he was to carry the message. Anyway it went to a magazine for my usual fees. By the way, after they covered their first major bodybuilding event without me, another insider friend informed me that they found it took a dozen people flown in from the company in Boise to replace everything I did by myself. So much for cost savings.

So there is the collapse of Bodybuilding.com, I can almost remember the day it started. And yes you can chart it from then financially and statistically. Now owned by Expedia. How much do you think they know about bodybuilding and fitness.

People who did not know bodybuilding and fitness were put in charge of relating to people in bodybuilding and fitness. And along the way they left behind all of the things that made Bodybuilding.com work. Will it recover? I doubt it.

Thanks!

 

 


Two In The Gym

Photo shoot with a Hasselblad digital camera system and Broncolor lighting. Thank You!

At Cruz 2 Fitness personal training gym here in Palm Springs with Naomi (and Naomi). Best personal training ever!

Naomi Molina In The Gym


Fit In The Gym

What a great overall look of fitness! Weight training has done good for Naomi. From our photo shoot at Cruz 2 Fitness gym in Palm Springs. Real personal training that really makes all the difference. This is that on your refrigerator photo for after the holidays, new year fitness motivation!

Naomi Molina In The Gym

Photo shoot notes… Hasselblad digital camera system and Broncolor lighting. Thanks!

 


Behind The Scenes In The Gym

Behind the scenes in a gym photo shoot at Cruz 2 Fitness in Palm Springs. Naomi worked hard for almost 4 hours. You really lift in my photo shoots. My friend Aaron Cruz has built a tremendous personal training gym. More to come. Thanks!

Behind The Scenes In The Gym


Gym Photo Shoots

Of all the bodybuilders I have photographed, amateur and the biggest name pros, it is Dan Decker who has probably appeared in more magazine features than any other.

Bodybuilder Dan Decker In The Gym


Striving Toward Mediocrity

I used to photograph and write for Iron Man Magazine before it was sold a few years ago. I hope the photography in the magazine has fared better than the writing.

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T-Shirts T-Shirts T-Shirts

T-Shirts! Sorry no I don’t have any left to give out as of some time ago. In the prior decade I did the advertising, features and bodybuilding show photography for BodyBuilding.com when they grew into a huge company.
 
It was brilliant marketing that they gave away thousands and thousands of t-shirts at bodybuilding shows around the country every month. And people would specifically look for my photography from bodybuilding shows and more so much that it became part of the marketing as well.
 
So BodyBuilding.com printed these shirts for me to give out. To my astonishment when Fedex delivered a room full of boxes of shirts to my house one day. It was very cool to see so many people wearing these shirts in the stands at the Olympia or Arnold and at other shows and gyms all around the country.
BBcom Shirt

A Favorite Cover

I have had my share of covers; but this one always remains one of my very favorites. Maybe because of the back story about how it landed the cover and a multi-page feature just before deadline. With my longtime friend, bodybuilder Robert Hatch.

Want to shoot with me or have a photo or ad assignment? Send me a note and Thanks! Ian@SecondFocus.com

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Lousy Marketing Start

I cannot imagine how someone spends the money to buy an operating business like this and then throws it all in dumper with worse than an amateur marketing start. The e-mail I received and my reply. Although I guess it worked; it says they were hoping to hear from me soon, and they did.

POF E-Mail


My Buddy Randalene

I do not know how many times I photographed Randalene Sergent. I first photographed her for a feature in Iron Man Magazine for Bodybuilding.com. I remember being speechless, she was so breathtakingly beautiful as I looked through the camera.  We became steadfast friends and I went on to photograph her for more magazine features, advertising, company promotions and fashion editorials. Makeup and hair styling in this photo shoot by another of my steadfast best buddies, Natalie Lyle.

Randalene Sergent


Natalie Lyle Muscle Shower

One of my most requested photographs. “Natalie Lyle Muscle Shower”. The incredible Natalie Lyle, 6ft tall in her bare feet, but in heels and her long muscled body. Available high quality professionally printed and shipped directly to you. From 8×10 to 24×30. Also available for licensing. Go right here… http://bit.ly/2Gh2Z3o

Note: Your print or licensed image will be without the watermark.

Watch for more of my photographs to also be made available soon. Thanks!

Natalie Lyle Muscle Shower-wm


Nude, Instant & Fit

From our photo shoot with the gorgeous 56 year old Tammy Neslund. She is one incredibly fit Grandma and certainly a role model to be nude in our shoot. Love these throw back look instant print photographs with a Fujifilm Instax camera. The wonderful makeup by Estee Lauder featured artist Blanche LeBeau. At the Coachella Movie Ranch.

Tammy Neslund Car Nude 1-sm


An Extraordinary Woman!

Such an extraordinary individual. 56 years old and a grandmother. Tammy Neslund from our photo shoot at the Coachella Movie Ranch.
 
Makeup and styling with Estee Lauder featured artist Blanche LeBeau. Hasselblad digital camera system and Broncolor lighting.

Tammy Neslund At 56


Grandma!

Tammy Neslund, age 56, mother of two and grandmother. Being fit and healthy is better and is the fountain of youth!

From our photoshoot at the Coachella Movie Ranch. Makeup and styling with Estee Lauder featured artist Blanche Lebeau. Hasselblad digital camera system and Broncolor lighting. Thanks!

Tammy Neslund At 56


Over 11,000

We had over 11,000 live listeners on my most recent appearance on Blog Talk Radio with “Chatting With Sherri“. Actually that is my third time on Blog Talk Radio with Sherri.

“7th anniversary of award winning author’s Sherri Rabinowitz’s show Chatting With Sherri! Join Sherri as she chats with writers, actors and other artists about their work. A fun relaxing chat with all kinds of amazing exciting creative people. We also have a series shows under the umbrella of Sherri’s Playhouse; where playwrights and actors get a chance to strut their stuff! The home of The Chatty Award for most live listens and downloads!”

I hope I said something fun! “Chatting With Sherri

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Fit At The Windfarm

One of my favorite photographs that I have ever shot. IFBB professional bodybuilder Tina Chandler after her appearance on stage at the prestigious Olympia in Las Vegas. Here in Palm Springs.

IFBB Proferssional Bodybuilder Tina Chandler in Palm Springs


Amazing Transformation

From my photoshoot with my friend Jessica Holohan. I hardly recognized her, she built an incredible body. Perhaps one of the astounding transformations I have seen in my years as a bodybuilding and fitness photographer. Good job!

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No To Bullies!

While doing a publicity and workout photo shoot with my good friend Kerstin Schulze, she had a message to share. She was bullied as a kid too.

Now she lives her life to carry a message and be a role model to so very many as an actress, a fitness personality and a Mom. Take a minute for her very spontaneous and heartfelt moment…


Shoot With Me

Most of you know me from my extensively published work in Bodybuilding and Fitness. I have photographed and done video with some of the most famous as well the up and comers. To say the least my favorites include the incredible Ava Cowan; featured in magazines, ads and on stage at the Olympia and Arnold.

I would love to work with more of you, it is always great fun too. So whether it is for your own portfolio, your fitness career, your company ads, or magazine features; send me a note here or an e-mail to Ian@SecondFocus.com. And Thanks!

Ava_Cowan-Curls


Surround Yourself

Much of what Kerstin has to say is mirrored by me. “Surround yourself with people of the same powerful energy”. She is one extraordinary individual.

A tremendous photo and video shoot. Thank You Kerstin Schulze. Big Thank You’s to the wonderful Estee Lauder featured Makeup Artist Blanche LeBeau; my so very talented assistant for the day Shauna Toerner, amazing hair styling by Phata Chavis.

Photo shoot notes… Photographs with a Hasselblad digital camera system. Lighting by Broncolor. Videos shot on Fujifilm X-H1 and X-T1 cameras. Shot at FD Photo Studio in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks!

Kerstin Schulze