Lighting Set-up #4 ~ Muscle Definition

Just recently I was asked to photograph a body builder for a competition to appear on the cover of Mens Health magazine. Having never lit for muscle I found this a nice little challenge and I thought I'd share my approach here.

So the brief was ~ B&W images on a flat white background with as much muscle definition as possible. Surprisingly this was remarkably easy to achieve. 

After researching past covers of mens health It became clear that they tend to use a simple cross light set~up on the model, which makes sense as shape is defined by shadow, so if you start adding too many lights you're in danger of loosing the shadows and that all important muscle definition along with it.

What you really need is to have a main light with plenty of power to give you lots of contrast & shot bare bulb to give you a good hard light. That, as far as I'm concerned is the most important thing to achieve.

I used my elinchrom D~lite it2 head with a reflector and placed it approx 45 degree's camera right, about 2 foot above the models head and approx 4~5 foot away from him. I then used an Sb24 camera left behind the model as an edge light.

For the background I used two Sb28's . One was placed near the Sb24 but pointed at the curve in the backdrop and the other was hung from the ceiling and pointed at the upper part of the backdrop.

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