How to shoot video and stills of a model in sportswear

We’ll review how to best showcase sportswear for e-commerce, including tips on
how to style, light, and direct your model.


The thing about sportswear

Sportswear is dynamic. It is designed for action, to move with the body. Keep that in mind when presenting it.

Whether you choose video, stills, or both, you’ll want to consider how your model will move and how you can integrate set and prop elements to create a visually interesting environment.

Getting started

Before you rock and roll, make sure you have:

  • A model that fits your brand look

  • Sportswear from your collection

  • Set elements and props with which your model can interact

  • A studio setup with lighting and pro-grade camera

  • A photographer and stylist

  • A hair and make-up artist (not essential, but very useful)

  • A style guide to keep your imagery consistent and on-brand

  • A good mood

Need some more in depth guidance?

Learn how to get started with making a style guide. Check here for our introductory guide to improving your e-commerce content.


Lighting your set


Set your key light

Begin by setting your key light, which is your primary light source and direction. Ours is coming from the front left of the model.

We went for an overall bright appearance with minimal shadows that are enhanced slightly by the angles of the set.


Redirect light with a reflector

Placing a reflector on the right side of the set, opposite your key light, helps to fill darker areas while still retaining some directional shadowing.

You may also fill a touch more light into the foreground and background to make sure the images are crisp and all the details of the sportswear are visible.


Directing your model

Prepare your look

Make sure your selected outfit matches the story you're trying to tell. Our model, Juliet, is out to kick some butt at the boxing gym.


Clarify simulated motions

You may want to decide in advance which activities your model will perform. When directing your model in a sportswear shoot, it’s important to understand the motions you’re trying to simulate. Articulate them clearly, position the model precisely, and do a quick rehearsal before shooting video.

Keep movements slow during shooting. This is especially helpful when snapping still photos.

Focus the model’s attention

Be clear about where the model’s attention should be focused. You may choose to direct your model’s line of sight toward the activity they are performing or to the camera. The latter can seem a bit forced, so in this tutorial Juliet is focused in her own world on the tasks she is performing.


Taking photos


Position the model

Giving good direction includes positioning your model so that her actions and poses are dynamic. We have Juliet both parallel and perpendicular to the angled bench for varied looks at the sportswear top.

Create a scenario

In order for movements to be believable, establish clear scenarios with your model. For example, in our photos, Juliet has just finished exercising and is taking a break. Scenarios allow for a range of organic behaviors such as untying sneakers or removing other equipment.

-create scenario.png

Embrace set elements and props

Sportswear on its own can look a bit static, so whether you’re shooting photos or video, introduce some set design and props in order to heighten visual interest and add posing opportunities.

Arrange your set so that the angles and shapes catch light and create a bit of shadow.

Dressing your set and providing your model with realistic props also help to provide a believable backdrop for the sportswear. Creating a sense of place can enhance the sportswear and enliven your images.


Keep the model’s movements slow

As we mentioned earlier, the model should move slowly and with intention while your photographer clicks away. This will allow for optimal clarity in the images. Remember: the emphasis is on the garment.


Recording video


The advantage of video

Video shows how your product looks in motion. It highlights texture and shows how a garment interacts with light. And hey, sportswear is all about action and motion, which is why we think video can give customers a more accurate impression of fit and material.

Use slow motion

When filming sportswear, slow motion video can be an excellent way to capture the actions of your model and make them look more fluid.

Focus on the garment

The individual piece of sportswear you’re shooting should be the star of the show. Focus in on the garment, in this case the top, and frame it centrally. Remember to adjust the clothing to ensure there are minimal creases and wrinkles and keep an eye on them as the model performs the activity.


Sequence clips

In your video editing suite of choice, import your files and arrange the clips in your preferred sequence.


If you can't do this by yourself, it helps to use a professional videographer or video editor. We're using a special studio setup called StyleShoots Live, which handles this automatically.