When it comes to working out and living the fitness lifestyle, motivation helps you get started, and discipline helps you stay consistent with your diet and exercise. But as time goes on both motivation and discipline can easily start to wane, and an additional boost is needed to help keep you on track – and that’s where booking a bikini photo shoot can be a big help.

If all you’re looking for is some shots of you on the beach you can have a friend with a good cell phone or camera shoot some shots of you in your new bikini to post on social media. Those shots are also great for ‘Before’ photos, to show where your latest exercise path began.

But for shots that truly inspire you and others, for bikini photos like the pros use, for those shots you’ll want prints of for posterity, you’ll want to book your bikini photo shoot with a professional fitness, glamour or bikini photographer. Yes, it will take a lot of work and determination to prepare, but you’ll find it so worthwhile.

To get the most from your bikini photo shoot, do it the same way the professional bikini models do when they’re preparing for shoots for publicity or magazine ads. Speak with a few professional photographers who specialize in the field, looking through their portfolios to see their work, and settle on the one you feel most comfortable working with. Discuss the shoot with them, learning the cost, the location of the shoot and what rights you have to using the photos personally and commercially. Then book your shoot for 2 – 3 months down the road and start preparing for your first professional bikini photoshoot!

Now you start using your bikini photography to motivate your fitness workouts. You have a firm goal date, knowing when and where the shoot will take place. You know the shape you want to be in and how you want to look in your bikini by that date. So get a couple of quick snaps of your current shape, front and back, and decide what changes you want to see over the next 8 – 12 weeks. Plan your nutrition and design your new workouts to meet that goal.

Write down what you want to achieve between now and then. Then figure out what your workouts need to look like for the next month to be 40% of your way to that goal by the end of the first month. What does your nutrition need to do to support those workouts and those goals? During that first month you’ll want to achieve 40 – 50% of the journey because results slow somewhat as time goes on, so getting a jump on it is your best path.

Once your workouts and nutrition are on track and progressing all that you need to add in is to start practicing your bikini posing during the last 6-8 weeks before the photo shoot. You can practice in front of a full-length mirror, but for best results set your cell phone or camera on automatic and try as many poses as you can think of, from prim and proper to as bare as you dare – remember, no one is going to see these photos unless you choose to show them. Then go through the photos as objectively as you can, choosing the poses you like best and noting any further prep you need to achieve the look you want.

Fine tune your diet and nutrition to meet your goals and continue to practice your posing until it feels natural. And don’t worry if you’re not overly creative with your posing – a professional bikini photographer will be able to guide you throughout your shoot.

Best of all is you’ll be in the best shape you’ve achieved to date, will capture that in photos that can last forever, and will be ready to now move on to bigger and better goals, having the confidence this whole experience has fostered within you. All because you used bikini photography to motivate your fitness workouts and keep you on track with your fitness goals and lifestyle. And it won’t hurt the ego to have all eyes on you at the beach next summer either, right?