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How to Take Bodybuilding Pictures - Taking Great Before and After Shots

by Robert Woods

posted in Health and Fitness : Build Muscle

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Most aspirant or established bodybuilders take a lot of pictures of themselves during their quest for the perfect body. This is not a sure sign of narcissism though as these photos will be an excellent graphic record of progress during various stages of the process.

It makes a lot of sense then to invest in the best photographic equipment one can afford at an early stage and also to spend a bit of time perfecting the techniques needed to take good solo bodybuilding pictures.

Photography is making magic with light. Lighting is possibly the most important factor in any photographic genre, and particularly so in taking bodybuilding pictures where muscle definition is so critical in creating visual impact. Again it's not necessary to break the bank. Any fairly intense, directable light source will get the job done.

For best results try and get two separate light sources set up at approximately 45° to your pose position and situated behind the point were you are going to set up your camera. Try to avoid using flash unless you have a flash diffuser as flash tends to wash out too much subtle detail. Remember that a high light position will emphasise shadow at the bottom of the muscle structure while a lower position will do the same for the lower abs but also possible detract from your chest.

To appraise the progress during a diet or a weight training program, taking bodybuilding pictures can be very important and handy. One of the basics in taking bodybuilding pictures is to know the difference between overweight and normal by comparing the Body Mass Index (BMI) with the waist measurement. Below are a few techniques in taking bodybuilding pictures that will surely have your photographs look like those of a pro:

The Right Preparation

In bodybuilding pictures, muscles are everything. This is why body hair must be removed by shaving or trimming right before taking a bodybuilding picture.

The subject must not eat right before a bodybuilding picture is taken. Food can make the stomach look protruding or distended.

Before taking the bodybuilding picture, a short workout should encourage blood circulation and increase muscle volume.

To highlight and emphasize the curves and sinews of the muscles in the arms, torso, and legs, a thin application of baby oil or cooking oil should be done before taking the bodybuilding picture.

The Right Pose

The purpose of bodybuilding pictures is to show you at your best and in your best pose. So suck in your stomach by inhaling deeply. Keep your spinal column straight or slightly arched backwards for a trimmer look. Tense your arms, chest, stomachs, and legs to show off those muscles you've worked so hard to increase. And do all these simultaneously, smiling the whole time so your bodybuilding picture will look natural and even graceful.

The Equipment

Bodybuilding pictures are not very particular on the cameras you use. But if you're the type who likes to do a lot of editing works, then a digital camera would be the right equipment. The wonder of digital cameras is that you can directly upload your bodybuilding picture into your computer and use photoediting software like Adobe Photoshop to edit out that ugly mole on your left cheek, or to lessen the sheen on your muscles produced by too much application of baby oil.

The Lighting

Blurry bodybuilding pictures can be avoided by placing the camera on a tripod or a steady surface for better leverage.

Contrasts in bodybuilding pictures are achieved by the proper positioning of lighting and shadow composition. Lights from the top will produce shadows on the bottom parts of the muscle while lights coming from the bottom will highlight your lower abs and make your chest muscles look slimmer.

Never ever use flash in taking bodybuilding pictures as this will ruin the whole lighting contrasts. Once the pictures are taken you can use software to edit the results if you can and are so inclined. Skin blemishes can miraculously disappear and lighting and exposure adjusted to maximise the effect.

It is impossible to briefly cover all the different techniques and settings that can be applied to get great results in bodybuilding pictures. Experience will quickly teach you how to maximise the results though and if you use the preceding tips you'll soon be able to build a flattering portfolio.

And there you go: the four basic things to remember in taking the perfect bodybuilding pictures. So what are you waiting for? Start clicking!

About the Author:

Robert Woods invites you to try an explosive step-by-step muscle building program that shows you how to pack on solid muscle mass without using harmful supplements. Check it out at to read my review.

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