Preparing for Your Gymnast Shoot

Clothing Recommendations and Dress Code:

My favorite style of clothing for photographing gymnasts are street clothes: cute rompers, stretchy jeans or leggings, a colorful top or sweatshirt, . . . Gymnasts are of a different breed; in a leotard or not they are always a gymnast and that is what I love to capture! Strive Girl, Justice and Old Navy always have some great styles!

outfit by Justice

There is an abundance of beautiful leotards out there and I know gymnasts typically have a large collection of them. If leotards are your preference for the photos, of course your gymnast is welcome to wear them to her photo shoot. Please note, however, that no poses involving straddles or splits will be taken unless shorts or leggings are worn over the leotard.  I realize this is an unusual policy for a gymnastics photographer, but this is my personal comfort level given several reasons.  I am happy to share these reasons with anyone who asks, however, this policy is firm. Many companies (such as Plum and SylviaP) do make coordinating shorts for their leos. Please come prepared so that we are not restricted in our posing options.

leotard by SylviaP, leggings by Justice

Hair:

While most little girls look beautiful with their hair down, there are some difficulties with keeping the hair under control and out of the face while doing upside down and moving poses. I recommend wearing hair up in a fun style. If you’re handy with braiding, there are many cool possibilities for hairstyles. If braiding is not a talent of yours, bubble “braids” or elastic hairstyles might be something you can do. If simple is more your gymnast’s style, a messy bun always works great! Check out the Instagram hashtags “littlegirlhairstyles and #toddlerhaircreations for some fun hair inspiration. Strive Girl’s Instagram also has some neat hair tutorials on their account.

leotards by Ozone

Preparing for Your Shoot:

There is no limit to how many clothing changes you can do during your shoot, however, please be aware of how much session time you have and plan accordingly. No addition time is allotted for clothing changes, so time spent changing will take away shooting time and may affect the amount of final images you receive. Bathrooms also can not be guaranteed at any location, so please bring along changing accommodations (blankets, pop-up, etc . . . )

Please have your gymnast completely ready prior to the start of your shoot. Hair and clothing should be done before your session starts. Please arrive early to your shoot, so your gymnast has time to properly warm up before we start taking photos.

leotard and shorts by Plum Practicewear

Safety:

Safety is my first concern. I limit which skills I allow for the photographs, dependent mainly upon the gymnast’s ability and technique as well as the location. Typically, I will not photograph tumbling. Occasional exceptions are made for a standing back handspring and/or aerials for higher level gymnasts. If I am not comfortable with a gymnast doing a particular skill, I will not photograph it. Likewise, if the gymnast or parent is not comfortable with a pose or skill that I ask of her, please let me know and we will move on to something else. The risk of injury is simply not worth it for a photograph.

leotard by Snowflake Designs

Weather:

Typically, shoots will happen rain or shine. If you cancel your shoot due to weather, you will not receive your deposit back.