He’s quickly growing as the go-to “Fitness & Glamour” photographer right outside of Los Angeles, California. He has over fifty thousand followers on Instagram, and as a one man show he continues to carve his name into the industry. His work has been published in “Ironman Magazine” and “Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine”, and with his roots planted deep into the New England work ethic, he doesn’t plan on slowing down. He is also the photographer of my WordPress profile picture. His name is Samuel Lathrop, a twenty something hailing from Griswold, Ct and he agreed to take some time to answer a few questions I had for him.
What got you interested in photography? What/who were your inspirations?
“Initially I began in Videography. Over time I began doing weddings and it slowly became more about just earning money and no longer a passion. It was starting to feel like a 9 to 5 job and the artistic passion behind it had faded. I myself had been getting more and more interested in fitness and eventually got myself to compete in a bodybuilding show. During the process of training I was coming across fitness photography via Instagram. When I came across work that I liked it reminded me of sports ads such as Nike. I thought to myself, “wow, how come I never considered that type of photography?” It had a real dramatic look to it with unique style of lighting when mainly whenever I would try to do photography it was with natural lighting which usually just seemed boring to me. I think a lot of it too was the fact I was so use to doing weddings that I was usually just seeing wedding photographers work.”
How did you get “your name out there” when you first started? How did you initially start making money through your work?
“Once I decided to purchase some strobe lights that a friend recommended, I then did my first fitness photoshoot with my sister who is a crossfit coach. I remember taking a photo, looking at it, and right away thinking that it looked like something you’d see in a Nike AD. Ever since then I made that my primary goal. Not just to hopefully some day work with Nike, but many other of the top brands. So what I did was begin photographing anyone I new who would be competing in any upcoming bodybuilding shoots. I figured, I can’t shoot pro athletes now, so I’ll just shoot people with great physiques. Many shoots I did for free and some I charged very little. I began reaching out to people I’d like to photograph and some responded back and some others didn’t. Eventually I was able to shoot with a competitor who then grew very quickly through social media. My name of course began to spread on her Instagram and then slowly others began to contact me. It eventually turned into a chain of events to where now I am shooting for supplement companies, magazines, clothing brands, etc.”
What equipment/software did you use when you first started out? What do you use now? And why?
“I actually still use pretty much the same equipment I started out with, just added a little bit more. For lights I currently use Paul C. Buff Einstein lights. For my camera I am using a Canon 5D mark II and I own 4 different L Series lenses. And for softwares I work in Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom. With what I use, the images come out very sharp and are able to produce the high quality of images I am looking for. Of course I could always use more but as you know its a business that is very expensive.I’ve noticed all your photographs have a unique style, what do you look for while you are taking pictures? (Scene, lighting, angle)”
How do you make money today with photography?
“Currently I am making money through supplement companies, fitness clothing brands, magazines, and anyone who is just looking to shoot for themselves such as competitors.”
Why have you chosen the field of “glamour & fitness” as your main focus in photography? Why do you love that over other genres of photography?
“I am always looking on how to show off the models muscle definition or curves best. I love shooting with a wider lens and being closer to the model. I feel it really grabs the viewers attention because it comes a cross as if the model is almost popping out of the image.”
What has been the toughest obstacle you have encountered in your pursuit of freelance photography?
“The toughest obstacle I have encountered is being patient and sometimes still having to do free work. Not always, but if there is an opportunity that you know will help your business then how can it hurt? To learn the business side of things is a challenge as well. As time goes you learn from your mistakes. Sometime you may realize you miss charged someone and could have made a lot more, but it’s all a growing situation.”
Say I was a passionate photographer looking into making a living from my work like you, what would be one piece of advice you could give me that you wish you knew when you first started out?
“Never stop hustling and keep shooting”
Exactly what do you try say with photographs? And how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
“This is a tough question, but honestly I think in most of my images I almost try to make them feel as if you could imagine them in motion and not actually as a still photo. Like I said before, I think working with a wide lens shooting up close can do that very well.”
What motivates you to keep pursuing photography?
“I think it’s just in born as an artistic person. As an artist or even an entertainer, we are wanting to make our audiences eyes light up or there emotions to burst. To get that feed back is always rewarding. It’s almost a high that you can’t let go. When you are able to make someone react the way it made you react, then you know you did a good job.”
Follow Sam on Instagram! @SamuelLathrop