Mark Umbrella

It’s not enough to have muscles for a stunning bodybuilding photography. In fact, it needs almost none. What is essential when it comes to bodybuilding photography is mastering the light



Sometimes, when looking at all the glamorous people in magazines, we find our selves thinking we could never look like that. Even if we hit the gym twice a day. Then we think – these were shot and edited to perfection, they are professional models with teams of stylists working for them; That’s the life of the rich and famous; That’s not something I could ever do. Well, that’s where you would be wrong! The privilege of looking your best is no longer reserved for the rich and famous. With the right photographer you can look just as glamorous while keeping your unique beauty and charm.

We don’t mean editing and generic model looks. We mean photography that always sees your best side. Photography which brings out your best features. Photography which lets you be you, and makes you go “wow”.

“Is this my good side?”

Such a phrase is a common question posed by people having portrait photography done. But it is also something that must be asked by the subject of bodybuilding photography. After all, even the most toned or “cut” bodybuilder could fail to photograph well if they are not in the proper pose.

However, it is not really the responsibility of that individual to worry about the result of any bodybuilding photography session – it is the job of the photographer. This means that anyone who wants some bodybuilding photography done will have to take the skills of the photographer into question.

Now, that does not mean that the photographer has to have an enormous portfolio of bodybuilding work under their proverbial belt. In fact, this is the one type of photography in which there doesn’t necessarily need to be a history of work. What you want to look for in the portfolio is the photographer’s skill with texture, light, and things such as highlight and shadow.

Why? That is what the essence of any bodybuilding photography session is going to capture. Unlike more traditional portraiture, the photographer seeking to document a very muscular human form is going to have to emphasize something other than the face. They are documenting something similar to a landscape, or a textured surface. That means that a mastery of light is key.

Take this illustration: A photographer met a son’s friend. This friend was very lean, almost too lean, and yet the photographer thought that the young man might make a good subject for some studio shots. The photographer decided to shoot in black and white and to use very targeted lighting to emphasize the man’s muscularity. Though he was on the slender side, the lighting was able to draw out and define the man’s form with dramatic impact.

In essence, the photographer used their photographic skills along with very effective lighting to create a good bodybuilding shot. However, even that would not have worked if the subject did not assume an effective pose and have the appropriate amount of definition as well.

So, take a look at any photographer’s portfolio to see how they work with contours, contrast, and line. Have they captured animals with muscularity? Have they been able to document shadows and use light effectively? If so, they are probably going to get the good side of a bodybuilder as well.

Mark Umbrella

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