Gym Shoot Behind the Scenes: Lighting Set Up

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: April 29, 2015

Category: Photography

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing Glenn Richards; newly crowned Pure Elite Physique Champion, Bodyzone Gym in Bracknell, Berkshire.

I’ll be posting some of the results from the shoot later this week, but yesterday I posted one of the images on social media asking what folks thought the lighting set up was…


The gym was packed with equipment, had low ceilings and due to being open for business as usual, was becoming quite busy at times, so the key here was to keep it simple. We’d tried a few lighting set ups when the gym wasn’t quite so busy but decided to opt for natural light when it started to fill up.

As luck would have it, a shaft of light from the sun, coming in from windows high up in the end section of the gym came through, so with the use of one silver Lastolite reflector positioned on the floor in front of Glenn, we had a great light kicking up onto him giving great contrast and the metallic look I favour when shooting for Black & White. As I knew that I wanted the final images to be Black & White I shot my Canon 5D with the Monochrome picture style selected; I like to do this so that I can see exactly how the contrast affects the look of the Black & White…does that make sense?


As for the reflector it was positioned to the front of Glenn with the furthest edge raised up about 6 inches so that it was angled towards him, by resting it on a dumbell. Highlights on Glenn’s shoulders came from the ceiling lights in gym, and as for lens choice I used my Canon 85mm f/1.8 and shot in AV Mode at f/1.8 and iso 1600 which gave a shutter speed of 1/400sec.

Hope that all makes sense.

As always if you have any questions/comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below but in the mean time, have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.


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  1. Mike Gray

    Boy i hate you Mr Dewis lol you make things look so simple and here was me thinking you had used flash from below.

    • Glyn

      Mike…I need to keep things simple for me…keeps me sane…just 🙂

  2. Graeme

    WOW, thanks for posting this Glyn.
    I thought there was a softbox in front on the floor, and I thought there must have been a second light behind due to the highlights on his shoulders and the top of the dumbbells.
    Never expected that the main light was a silver reflector!

    Did you need to flag the ceiling lights to stop any spill coming to far into the shot (hitting his arms etc)?

    • Glyn

      Hi Graeme, thanks for looking in an the WOW 🙂
      As for flagging off the ceiling lights, no mate, didn’t need to.


  3. srinath pm

    nice work …mr glyn…..the final image is after retouching or its a raw one?

    • Glyn

      srinath The B&W image is after retouching

  4. Susan Mueller

    Thank you the helpful insight, love the image results!

    • Glyn

      Thank you Susan

  5. Jonathan Thompson

    I love the simplicity. It takes a skilled eye to see what you can achieve with such a setup.
    Nice work as always.

  6. Snuffy Sims

    Thanks Glyn, great info as usual!

  7. Wendy Lilygreen

    Well here I am in 2018 feeling very happy I have found this article. It’s going to come in useful very soon when I shoot my pal in the gym. I have no lights so using available and a reflector should work well. Thank you x


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