Interview With PictureGroove Photography

We at AmandaLouise are so incredibly lucky to have some wonderful friends in the fitness and fashion industry. One particular woman who is not only a friend, but a business partner in our Epic Tulum All-Inclusive Photo Shoot Experience (go to for more info). We decided to sit down Sarah Lyons of PictureGroove Photography for an exclusive interview to share with our community. If you are looking to start or expand your portfolio, she is an absolute wealth of knowledge! We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.
1. Why did you become a photographer?
"I was  a business professional in real estate, then when the market began to crash in 2007/2008, I knew I needed to find another career.  I had somewhat of a fitness modeling background in the past, and during the 2007/2008 time frame, MySpace was very popular, and I saw all of this beautiful photography work being posted from other photographers.   It had been nearly 10 years since I did any photo shoots, and I was blown away by the work I was seeing.  So, I thought...maybe I will purchase a camera and a basic lighting set, and give shooting a try!  As soon as I started seeing what I was capable of, I was hooked.  I had always enjoyed photography as a kid, and growing up...but never in a million years did I think that my company would take off, and I would be able to do this full time.  I absolutely love what I do, and couldn't see myself doing anything else."
2. How did you choose to get into fitness and fashion photography?
"It was an easy choice for me, because I've had experience in fitness myself.  The human physique has always fascinated me, and having competed and modeled myself, it was a very easy segway for me.  The fashion part really just came in to play over the past five or so years.  I love how the fitness industry is all merging fashion, fitness, and edgy glam all together."  
3. We all know photo shoots can be quite the investment, how should a model determine the value of what they're getting?
"I think the number one thing a model should seek in any photographer, is the level of experience that they have.  Picturegroove has been in business for almost ten years, and has seen the goods and bars of what some models have been through with other photographers.  When a model is making an investment, they should expect a high level of customer/client service to go along with their shoot.  I provide somewhat of a one-stop-shop for all of my clients that come to shoot with me.  My shoots can include a professional spray tan, professional hair and makeup, and also the possibility of being fully outfitted with PictureGroove wardrobe and styling too!  They can just show up, and PictureGroove takes care of the rest.  The model should also expect to receive their proofs and retouched images in a timely manner.  I an't tell you how many times I have heard some models telling me that they did a shoot with so-and-so two years ago, and never saw any of their proofs, let alone retouched images...and this photographer is quite well known, and not cheap either!  I run a business, and it is very important to me to treat others as I would expect to be treated myself.  I also do magazine submissions on the model's behalf, I shoot for large fitness-related companies, and I am always on the lookout for sponsorships as well.  With that said, I can pass that info along to the people that shoot with me, so that they can grow their own brands!"
4. Tell us about the experience of shooting with PictureGroove
"I wish I had 20 testimonials for this...I myself, am a very chill person.  I hate pressure, impatience, cattiness, rudeness and all of that.  When someone comes to shoot with me they can expect a very relaxing environment, conversation with me about WHY they want to shoot in the first place, overcoming objectives, working on facial expressions and posing, and constantly showing the model the back of my camera to instill confidence in what they are doing.  Most people that shoot with me once shoot with me time and time again, just based on their initial experience alone."
5. What do you recommend a model consider when choosing wardrobe?
"Great question!  The model should choose something that makes him or her feel confident, vibrant, and gorgeous when they shoot.  Loud patterns are sort of a no-no when you shoot with me, unless it is on a bikini.  Something that flatters the model's physique, and looks good on camera."
6. How should a model prepare for the days leading up to their shoot? Skin prep? Hair Prep? Other things?
"Whether or not the model is being spray-tanned for their shoot, they should exfoliate their skin well the few days leading up to their shoot.  If they are receiving a spray tan, it is important that the skin is non-moisturized and no deodorant when they go to get their tan.  The following day, they can rinse off and lightly soap up in the shower with no washcloth or sponges.  If no spray tan is being received, make sure the skin is exfoliated and well-moisturized when they arrive to the shoot.  Hydration is KEY!  I can tell when a model is "dried out" when shooting.  Hydration affects the skin immensely, so it is important to stay hydrated.  Femail models should come with clean, dry hair...I find that if your shoot is on a Wednesday, it is good to wash and dry your hair on a Tuesday then show up to shoot.  Guys can have clean hair when they show up to their shoot"
7. How should the model arrive to the shoot?
"Energized, with snacks to get them through the day, hydrated, and looking and feeling confident and ready to take on the world."
8. Obviously we're excited for the Epic Tulum trip... Why should a model invest in a destination shoot?
"Even when I do a wedding shoot, I cannot emphasize enough, that the photographs from that day/time are the ONE thing that will last forever.  I have done destination photo shoots before, but nothing of this magnitude.  The Epic Tulum trip is ALL-INCLUSIVE, AND we are seeking sponsorships from specific companies that will see the model in this amazing element!  So, if you are going to shoot with PictureGroove, go all out!  As I said prior, I want to treat people the way that I would like to be treated...and if I was still a model, I would DEFINITELY invest in going to Tulum.  When we get all of those shots taken, we will all be able to look back collectively, and say...not only was that an awesome shoot, and Sarah really knows what she is doing, but we can look back 20, 30, 50 years from now, and still have these amazing memories of an awesome shoot.  And if all goes well, I presume we will be able to thumb through the pages of magazines and experience those same feelings!"
9. For many, the goal is getting published. What are your three top tips for getting published?
"The three top tips that I have is 
1) The model needs to figure out where they see themselves being published, and how they would feel if they actually WERE published in that specific magazine/website/blog/publication.  THEY are the ones that have to do the work, and contact these publishers that are out there.  These days, the publishers DO want to here from the models themselves.  They are thinking..."well, how bad does this model really want it?  How can this model benefit my publication?"
2) Take on a second job...your own social media!  It's all fun and games until you really want to get your name out there!  It takes WORK, guys!  Follow those that inspire you.  Follow the pages in which you see yourself!  COMMUNICATE with people that are doing what you see yourself doing!  There are NO shortcuts to success, and YOU have to do the work!
3) Approach the situation with confidence!  Only a handful of photographers that you work with WILL do their best for you on your behalf as well.  When you are communicating with a publisher, do not ask too many questions.  Follow their lead and listen to any advice they may give you.  Be confident and secure in your approach, and you can't go wrong!"
10. What is your best advice for someone wanting to get into modeling?
"If you really want to model, be sure that you contact the photographer that you feel will be a great fit for YOU.  Everyone is different, and I may not fit perfectly with everyone out there wanting to get in to modeling.  But all you can do is reach out to those that have shot with photographers that you admire.  Approach the situation with confidence!  I LOVE working with newer models and helping them to achieve their best version of themselves on-film.  I help with posing assistance and also help with facial expressions too, to help the model tap in to more of an internal personality that they never knew they had.  Check out my site, to see more of my work, and see for yourself!"