Behind the Scenes PLUS Tips: Muscular Physique Photo Shoot

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: February 13, 2013

Category: Videos

Hey Everyone,

Today as promised I’ve a little Behind the Scenes post from Sunday’s Art of Physique Photography Workshop.

I’ll give you a look at how a couple of the pictures were lit plus a couple of tips and techniques too that will help you get the very best results when photographing muscular physiques.

Hope you like it.

So first of all let’s take a look at the studio set up for this picture of Natural Bodybuilder Nigel St Lewis that I posted on here yesterday…

When I’m photographing someone with a muscular physique 99% of the time I’ll use something I call ‘Bathroom Lighting’.

So what’s Bathroom Lighting?
Well this basically refers to having a light source high up and pointing down. Think about it…a small(ish) light source high up and pointing down will add highlights to areas that stick out and put shadows into the areas that are recessed. So when we use this kind of lighting on a muscular physique such as a Bodybuilder this highlights makes the muscle stand out more and the shadows help to exaggerate the separation and condition of the muscle. Every Bodybuilder will know what I mean when I say that when they turn on that light above the bathroom mirror they’re like “Hey…looking good” 🙂

Heck I even had a Bodybuilder ask me to photograph him so it looked like the light in his bathroom…hence why I now refer to it as Bathroom lighting.

For this particular picture which I’ve called ‘Intensity’ I also used two strip lights either side to add some rim lighting onto Nigel’s Physique. A Beauty Dish with Grid was used to the front in the ‘Bathroom Lighting’ position on a relatively low setting as I just wanted it to add a kick of light on his chest and face but not so much as to overpower the rim light. In fact the Beauty Dish was angled so steeply, a reflector was placed just out of camera so that light bounce off it and upwards.

In the photos below you can see where the silver reflector was positioned and also the angle of the Beauty Dish which was the same for when Nigel was both seated and standing.

So for this particular workshop we worked on a few lighting set ups ranging from 1 light to 3 lights; all of which give a completely different look but still sticking to what I prefer when photographing muscular physiques and that’s minimal lighting.

For the larger picture below that you can see in the screen grab, the bathroom lighting was used with just the Beauty Dish and no rim lights:

During the day the focus was on both the lighting and also how to pose a physique model and we also went through a few tips and techniques that can help your model look their very best.

The first, and one I always show because it was taught to me when I was a competitive Bodybuilder, is how to make the abdominal muscle stand out that much more and rather than me try and explain it in writing, here’s a short video I recorded where you can see it in action:

Of course if you’re photographing muscles, at some point you’re going to want to see some sweat beads too so here’s another little video tip for exactly that I recorded a while back:

As always if you have any questions, comments or feedback then please feel free to make use of the comments below but in the mean time if you’d like to come along to the next Art of Physique Photography Workshop then keep and eye out here or better still, sign up to my FREE Monthly Newsletter [Link] and get to know of workshop dates in advance.

Right, whatever you’re up to today, have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.


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  1. Alexandra Way

    Nice blog, and the tip about holding the breath for a few shots is a good one! Never thought about that, but we are definitely going to use this in the future. I hope some day we can meet with you. It’s always nice reading your blogs and seeing your face book posts. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stewart Wood

    Oh man, Glyn I wish I could have made it for this (dam car) I’ll try to catch you some time later in the year.

  3. Todor

    Thanks for sharing these tips and the set up. Out of interest the studio I use does not have strip boxes which you have, just large softboxes. Can the same be achieved using two softboxes and a beauty dish?

  4. Katie Pryor

    I would love to watch the videos but they are just showing up as blank spaces between paragraphs. Would you be able to add links to view them? Thanks for the article!

  5. O'D

    I wish there was actually a link to the videos, but I guess I found this years too late. Do you have any video tutorials for sale?



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