Posing for Photographs

Posing for Photographs

In many respects, preparing for a photo session is much the same as getting ready for a bodybuilding contest. You need to master the individual bodybuilding poses, choose the proper posing trunks, and get a good tan. However, the bodybuilder is dependent to a great deal on the skill of the photographer. A top pro photographer will help you adjust your bodybuilding poses, make sure you are flexing properly from head to toe, and position you properly for the light. But if you are being shot by somebody not as experienced, you have to be sure that you keep all of these factors in mind if you want the best possible photographs.

The background is extremely important as to how a bodybuilder appears in a photograph. When you pose with a huge building, a large bridge, or anything else big or confusing behind you, your body will tend to be dwarfed by the background and look smaller, unless the photographer is very careful in his choice of lenses and his composition. We discovered that a neutral background, like the sea or sky, usually works the best for physique photography. Also, having huge mountains far in the distance can make you appear enormous.

Getting the right angle is also important. If the camera is pointing down, the body will look small. But if it is at waist level or below, and shooting upward, the physique looks that much taller and more massive. For outdoor shots, time of day is also vital. Around noon, the sun is straight overhead, which creates harsh and unflattering shadows. Your photos will look better if you do your photo sessions when the sun is close to a 45-degree angle, before nine or ten in the morning or later than three or four in the afternoon, depending on the time of year. Overcast days are generally better for color shots than black-and-white. A good photographer will often use fill-in flash or a reflector to get rid of the shadows under the eyes that can occur even when you are shooting at the right time of day.

The way your physique comes out on film is dependent to a large degree on the lens used. The longer the lens, the less distortion. With a wide-angle lens, you introduce curvature into the picture that can create an unpleasant effect. In 35mm photography, unless you are looking for a special effect, never use a lens shorter than 50mm, and even then the photographer must be careful. You are much better being photographed with a 90mm or 135mm lens (or their equivalents in other formats), which makes distortion virtually impossible.

Sometimes, bodybuilders pose with props or in unusual locations. In doing this, care must be taken that the photo really works, that the props, buildings, or whatever is in the picture makes the physique look better rather than distracting from it.

Shooting in a studio is an art that requires an experienced professional. There are many different approaches to studio physique photography. We always liked to shoot against a white background. With the right lighting, this can make you look huge. However, the most dramatic results are achieved by using a black background - a favorite technique by professional photographer which makes the muscles look even harder and more defined.

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