Photo Shoot & Technique: Muscular Male

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: June 20, 2011

Category: General

Hi All.
To kick the week off I thought I’d share some Male Physique shots with you and also cover a little ‘Behind the Scenes’ (B.T.S.) information with regards to the lighting that was used and also run through of a couple of tips/techniques…

This particular series of shots are of model Steve Lewington who if you’re a regular reader of the blog will recognise from my ‘Concept to Print’ Workshop [Link].

Working with someone like Steve has it’s obvious advantages in that he not only has an incredible physique to photograph, but in addition to that Steve is very aware of his strong and weak points. The big advantage of this is that Steve has a very good idea of how he photographs best…what angles to shoot and what body parts to concentrate on.

This makes for a very interactive photo shoot, and also makes it a heck of alot more enjoyable, with both photographer and model coming up with ideas/suggestions as opposed to having to really ‘work‘ the model to get them to not only pose, but also (and most importantly) to look comfortable…

You’ll notice that in all except for the last image in this series, Steve’s hips are angled away from the camera. This goes back to a tip from my own Bodybuilding days [Link] when on stage you would give the illusion of having wider shoulders by having your hips angled away from the camera and then twisting your upper body ‘square on’.

Now obviously Steve doesn’t need any help in the shoulders but this is just a handy little ‘trick’ I always use when photographing physiques as shooting with hips directly toward the camera can give a ‘chunky’ feel to the abdominal area even when it clearly isn’t …

In this final image Steve is facing ‘square on’ to the camera which could potentially make his abdominal area appear ‘chunky’ but this can also be reduced by using shadows to your advantage by naturally hiding parts of the physique…

Ok so moving on let’s take a quick look at some of the lighting set ups used during this photo shoot…

Another little tip/technique to think about using when photographing muscular physiques is to make good use of shadows i.e. don’t flood the physique with light. By positioning the light so that we create more shadows we will further enhance the definition and size of our model by darkening the areas inbetween the muscle groups.

Lighting Set Up 1:
Really simple set up here using just one light and a large reflective umbrella.

Ordinarily this would give us a very soft light, but in this case the light was positioned some 10ft away from Steve so that we got coverage from head to toe. This also made the light much harder which created more defined shadow areas; again helping to enhance the definition of Steve’s physique…

Lighting Set Up 2:
With this particular shot, care was taken with the strip box/light positioned behind Steve to not flood his back with too much light.

To show off the definition of his back muscles the light was positioned so that it was virtually going straight past him, skimming across his back so as to create shadows and added depth and dimension…

Lighting Set Up 3:
For this final set up I again used the strip lights/boxes but this time they were facing each other so that Steve was ‘sandwiched’ between them to give even rim light on each side of him.

A beauty dish fitted with a honeycomb grid was also used and positioned directly infront and above of Steve and angled down slightly. This helped to add a little bit of much needed ‘fill light’ to the front and again because of it’s position helped to create shadows and add extra depth and dimension to Steve’s chest and abdominal area…

• • •

So there you have it … 3 lighting set ups and some tips/techniques for photographing a muscular male physique. Of course there’s loads more tips to get the most out of such a physique when photographing it, such as applying a deodorant stick in between the muscle groups; then as your model begins to sweat, those areas remain ‘dry’ and appear deeper and more defined than they actually are.

So, as always if you have any questions or comments or maybe even tips of your own, please feel free to make use of the comments section below, but in the meantime,

Enjoy 🙂

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  1. Sebastian

    Well done Glyn, good posts!

    • Glyn

      @Sebastian…Cheers Buddy

  2. Jonathan Thompson

    Another great post Glyn. Interesting techniques most specific to athletic subjects, especially the deodorant stick, I would never have thought of it. Great use of your body building experience.
    On the last shot, were the strip lights vertical or angled as it was in another post? They look vertical giving a bit more light to subjects arms but creating more shadow on the shoulder and a little more power camera right than left.



    • Glyn

      @Jonathan…In the last shot the strip lights/boxes were vertical and to be honest I thought the power was the same but hey I could be wrong…lol 🙂

  3. sanjay shrestha

    Plez send me pic of how to pose in front of camera

  4. Rob Grist

    Great info and pics. I have a shoot coming up with a couple from my gym and this has really helped me prepare. Thanks for sharing.


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