Bodybuilding: Lean to Mean

If you’ve been reading our fitness blog I know what you’re thinking: “Uh oh. Foxhound with their shirts off again.” Yep. Our first official bodybuilding photo-shoot has become our second official Foxhound-team-effort-photo-shoot (if you missed our first one, the grad shoot, it’s right here).

So what makes this one special? Well. It took a lot of work, mostly in the gym. The photo-shoot itself was also rather tough. Flexing isn’t as fun as our smiles make it seem. But that’s the test of a true bodybuilding pose, right? Can you hold it while smiling. So we tried our best to smile our hearts out. A lot of effort went into the poses themselves, too. There are a lot of particulars to each pose.

The photography is probably what you’re curious about though. They aren’t HDR photos and they aren’t painted—in fact, they aren’t even touched up! We got this effect by combining four things: Dynamic lighting, olive oil, boosted clarity (Adobe Lightroom) and Jared’s Photoshop sharpening algorithm. I know everyone paints on muscles these days, and it’s more or less accepted. But this isn’t 300 or Twilight, this is our attempt at a legitimate bodybuilding shoot, so we tried to keep it real. We didn’t brush on muscles with make-up, we didn’t paint them in Photoshop, we didn’t selectively boost shadows—we didn’t even remove pimples or smooth out pores. This is us . . . albeit well lit and covered in oil.

Why It Works

We've gotten a lot of feedback on these photos, so I know full well that my shorts aren't a hit. The bodybuilding world just doesn't like tight denim short shorts. The world at large, actually, it seems, is rather unimpressed with my shorts . . but this section is about what works, not about my questionable fashion decisions.

What makes these photos work is that they're both real and surreal. Without us having to modify the photos they have a dynamic painted look. The composition is simple but complicated. We're standing smack in the center of the stage but our office adds lots of interest to fill out the photo. It's a photo-shoot and we weren't trying to hide it, so you can even see the light on the left and the reflection of the other light on the right. All of these elements combine to make photos that are pretty darned interesting to look at. And more importantly, the deliberate lighting has managed to catch all of the muscles so that four months from now, when we do our next one, we can really see the changes.

Other Notes

Art Director: Shane Duquette
Photographer: Jared Polowick
Editing: Shane Duquette
Lighting: Jared & Shane
Models: Willem Shepherd, Jared & Shane

Shot on a Canon EOS 7D using a 16-35 2.8L. Shot raw and processed in 16bit in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

The poses are the 8 mandatory bodybuilding poses (See all 8 here). These poses are required in every bodybuilding competition and showcase every major muscle group. This photo-shoot was taken after four months of rigorous training and dieting. We started off rather emaciated, so it took some serious work to get even this muscular.