Photographer Bo Flores shoots for the stars of the bodybuilding world

2 Megan Anderson

Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor Megan Anderson and photographer Bo Flores have built up a friendly rapport that allows them more comfort when shooting together. // Courtesy Bo Flores

When Bo Flores first started getting into photography at age 35, he was working as a bartender and learning from YouTube University. Fifteen years later, he’s worked for Sporting KC, Kansas City Fashion Week, and the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation.

He was living in Leawood with a roommate when he began building his photography skill set. 

“All I knew is we needed light and something to take pictures of,” Flores says. “So I literally pulled my motorcycle into the living room, and we went out to KMart. There was one that was closing, so we just got some of those big ass fluorescent lights that they hang from the ceiling. We just pulled them down and used those as my lights. So it truly was just the most bastardized version of trying to get what I needed.” 

Back then, Flores was using a Canon Rebel 3TI that he had gotten from one of his regulars at YaYa’s. 

Flores still primarily shoots with a Canon, although he’s moved up to a 5D Mark IV. 

His work with Titan Fighting Championship, a mixed martial arts feeder into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has given him the opportunity to shoot with athletes such as Megan Anderson, Tim Elliott, and James Krause.

“I’ve been to 48 states and 23 countries,” Flores says. “So when it came time for me to work with these particular athletes, it was cool, because then I could relate to them on a larger grandiose scale, as opposed to just everything fighting related.”

Flores recently signed on to work for the National Physique Committee, which allows amateur bodybuilders to compete for top titles in categories for fitness, figure, wellness, and wheelchair users. 

He’s made a name for himself in fitness photography, but he also specializes in travel photos (often from his new home base in Puerto Rico) and “edgy boudoir” photos. 

No matter who he’s working with or in what arena, Flores believes in the importance of customer service and discretion. 

During his shoots, Flores takes the time to get to know his subjects.

“It’s almost photoshoot therapy,” he says. “I have clients where we’ll do a two-hour shoot, and honestly we’ll sit down for an hour and a half and talk and just chop it up about whatever it is that’s going on. And then we shoot for half hour. After that time, it’s significantly more productive than if we shot for two hours without having the conversation.” 

Flores adds, “It’s a very intimate thing, you know, clothed or not clothed, or whatever the situation is, to be very vulnerable when somebody is going to be taking pictures.” 

His partner Sarah Seatvet has been assisting him with his photography for years, but is now transitioning into doing her own shoots. Under Flores’s tutelage, Seatvet is snapping family portraits full-time for the company. 

For Flores, the joy of photography comes down to the relationships built with his subjects and his team. He hopes to empower his clients, whether they’re fitness gurus or families on vacation. 

“When people leave our shoots, usually it’s kind of rejuvenating. They have the biggest smiles and energies and everything because they’ve been so gassed up,” Flores says. “Then we let them know that we did nothing more for them than talk to them, you know, [and take pictures] so please continue that tomorrow, the next day.” 

Categories: Art