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How to bring out muscle definition?

Ben Miller , Jul 09, 2009; 07:19 p.m.

Hi I am an amature bodybuilder and need to send in some photos to a potential sponsor. I don't have any camera equipment aside from my Sony Cybershot p&s...I am tyring to bronze or tan the skin, and bring out definition with what I have...Any suggestions? I don't have photoshop but have Gimp which is a free photo editing software.

Responses

Max Surikov , Jul 09, 2009; 07:35 p.m.

Ben, I once did bodybuilding contests before kids and had moderate success at All Natural Events, but now I am a photographer. The way to accentuate muscle striations is to have the light fall on your body from different parts of the body. You then have to balance all the lights to make sure that light areas and contrast areas are well defined. You can get some spot lights at Home Depot instead of strobes as indicated in the diagram.
Good luck with the competition and upload the pics once you are done.

Charles Webster , Jul 09, 2009; 08:02 p.m.

Cross lighting is the best way to show texture, regardless of material. Using a softbox for fill and regular reflectors to provide harder cross light will give the hardest shadow edges, and the most definition.
You'll have to be careful to balance the lights so the fill doesn't wash out the shadows needed to show texture.
The book "Light - Science & Magic" explains this in excellent detail, with examples.

<Chas>

Bob Bernardo - LA area. , Jul 10, 2009; 07:08 a.m.

Baby oil also work wonders on bodies, properly placed lights reflect promoting muscle definition.

Nathan Meador , Jul 10, 2009; 10:24 a.m.

You might check around to see if there are any photographers in your area that can help you out that do have some of the equipment needed. Using the flash on your p&s won't do much for you, you need directional lighting as indicated. If you can get ahold of some work lights, you can get fair results...just be sure to adjust white-balance as needed.

Charles Heckel , Jul 11, 2009; 11:18 a.m.

Just before you shoot, pump. Take a headstand and execute fifty pushups with a handclap between each one, then pose with the muscles still twitching. Don't need baby oil if you got sweat. ;-)

Bob Bill , Jul 11, 2009; 05:12 p.m.

Definitely get pumped. several 15 rep exercises for chest and arms, dont pump legs, it removes the cuts and dont work the legs a for week before the shoot, it does the same. Be sure to be carefully shaved and have done so for a few weeks so there is no razor burn. Use your stain of choice, Protan is probably the most popular, I prefer Jantana Competiton Tan, darkest color because it wipes on like sun screen, just wear rubber gloves and doesnt smell like fishoil. You can get them on line or at your local bodybuilding store like Max muscle. You need to tan before hand. A tanning booth for a month or two would be good for a base. But stop a few days out to reduce any subcutaneous swelling. Rather than the high shine given by baby oil, I prefer a sheen that doesnt hide those hard, I mean hard, earned cuts under a specular reflection, I like Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil. Advantage is it doesnt run under hot lights either on stage or in studio. Spray Pam is another popular choice. Just not to heavy. I like side lights winged as in Max's diagram to give a rim light on that V taper. Note the stage lights are hard and high front. Might want to start there, add the rim. I like minimal fill so those cuts and striations arent lost. Next, posing. Every bodybuilder has his best and favorite body part. Be sure to shoot in the mandatory pose that displays them. Consider an isolation shot of that body part. Bodybuilders also have a favorite noncompulsory pose or two. Get those. Consider black and white on some, particularly the isolation shots. Turn yourself into a work of art. Its a good idea to practice posing hitting each pose hard for 10 seconds, 30 minutes a day for a few weeks before the shoot to really bring out the cuts. But rather than photo yourself since sounds like you may not have too much experience, Check modelmayhem, it is a site for models/photographers/makeup/wardrobe people to hook up. Its photographers looking for models and if you find some sample photos you like from someone in your area email the person and see if they will shoot you and provide you with a cd in exchange for you posing for them. They will often have good gear and sound lighting ideas and are in need of models to build their portfolio. You can model and you too need photos-a fair trade. If I can be of any help on the prep, staining, posing, shooting, let me know.

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