Commercial Photography for Physiotherapy Business

By Douglas Gritz

Denver Photographer

Although I work mostly as a photographer in Denver, I do travel as needed for my clients. Last week I traveled back to Washington, DC, where I lived and worked prior to moving back to Denver. Just outside DC in Alexandria is Spark Physiotherapy. Owner Carlos Berio is a big fan of my photography work. For the last few years Carlos has been developing a robust marketing campaign and he knows how much quality commercial photography plays a role. Four years ago he called me to come into his business dynamic photographs of him and his staff working with clients and showcasing their therapy techniques. And he wanted portraits. This all amounted to a large shot list, but I thrive on packed days with a lot of variables so I was game.

He was so pleased with those results that when he moved into a new sparkling and larger facility he called me back to update all his photography. The results below are the photographs are the updated photographs.

 portrait of fitness business owner

portrait of fitness staff member

portrait of staff members

For the photography portraits of his staff, business owner Carlos Berio didn’t want a neutral background, opting instead for something showing off his space. I said I can do that but I warned him that a busy background will be distracting for portraits. We could utilize his space but I would make the background for the photos more abstract and soft. He agreed. His new space has a lot more windows than his previous space, so I was able to utilize window light in the background to help give the portraits a lively feel.


 fitness studio therapy portrait of exhausted customers

fitness staff member working with clients

In addition to staff portraits, Carlos wanted a few portraits that were a more playful. These are a couple of the photo ideas we came up with.


fitness therapy arm strengthening

The remainder of the photography are shots of Carlos and his staff working with clients and demonstrating therapy technique. I worked with Carlos to plan out a schedule of all the set-ups he wanted to do. Carlos then had four of clients volunteer to come in and model for the setups. Carlos had a long list of shots to get through for the day, so I didn’t have time to get complicated with lighting setups. So at the start of the day I set up four lights — — a 2×3 softbox as the key light, and a 1×1 softbox for edge light, and a continuous Arri 1K  and Arri 650 for highlighting the elements in the background. I utilized existing house overhead lights for fill. Since we were shooting in winter darkness came quick, which meant the house lights would come more into play, and thereby, their green color cast. I carry an assortment of green color correction gel with me just for this reason. I have them in different intensities allowing me to match the existing lights of offices to taste (not all fluorescents are the same).

So that’s the lighting. Now let’s talk about the modeling and posing. For posing, we wanted to see Carlos and his staff engaged and attentive to their clients. For the clients (models) it was important that they be smiling. Of course, very few people are smiling while they are working out, so this is not exactly natural. But this are commercial photographs and their primary purpose is to sell, not document reality. The emotions of people in photos while influence the emotion of viewers. So we wanted potential customers to come feel happiness when seeing the photos.

 fitness studio client working with stretch band

This one of the models demonstrating technique. I go for dynamic photographic angles as much as possible.


fitness studio therapy back exercise

man helping woman orientate spine

arm strengthen machine

fitness studio therapy steps

range of motion test

man lifting kettle bell

teenage pitcher getting arm looked at by trainer

These photos are more examples of making sure the models the commercial photography images are smiling, enjoying themselves, and connected to each other.

woman lifting barbell

man doing pushups

guys lifting kegs

Now that I have said that, models don’t have to be smiling all the time. It was also was important to show the models engaged intensely in some of the activities to show they were getting a quality workout.


man moving ropes in exercise with trainer

This is one of my favorite photos from the commercial shoot. The challenge was showing two people plus long ropes in a single photo. So I down to the ends of the ropes so I could show the action of the ropes leading the eye toward the models where the one on the left is focused intensely on the activity.


receptionist taking notes

Included on Carlos’ shot list was a photo of the receptionist in their office area.


dry needling of hip

dry needling of calf

One of the most important techniques Carlos and his team use with their customers is dry needling. Carlos wasn’t sure how we could capture it in photo since the needles are so small. I said we’ll be able to show it by getting strategic with angles and using closeups.


trainer staff poses like ninja turtles

This was the final shot of the day. Carlos wanted some kind of fun photo of his team. So they all came with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. The original thought was to shoot this outside, but it was well after dark by this point. A background with fitness equipment wasn’t going to work either. At one end of the space was a black wall so I thought we could use that as a neutral backdrop. I required some work in Photoshop to paint out some elements and seams in the wall but it ended up working well.


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