Muscles…

As a photographer, it is necessary to analyze what is really going on below the surface and utilize lighting that communicates this mood, feeling or message.

These well-toned muscles are the result of many hours spent sweating and grunting in the humid, odorous high school weight room.  Flat lighting would not do the subject justice since it would minimize the lines and curves of the muscle sets. Give credit where credit is due by adding a back light to accentuate the hard, strong look and portray a more dramatic image.

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Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 24-70 L lens, Alien Bee lights with umbrella bounced left of camera and through a softbox from behind subject and to the right of frame. Converted to black and white with bronze god Kubota Action added.

Is the image perfect? No. I am never totally satisfied with an image and always analyze to see what I could have done to improve it. I’d maybe add two back lights from each side and one front flash a little to one side. Or, add a little fill with a large reflector to bring a little definition to the torso. Hmmm…

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Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush…

~ Ruth Bernhart

Below we see the final results of off camera flash edited with Kubota Actions in Photoshop CS5.  I like how the lighting from behind accents the “guns” which are the result of many hours in the weight room. The rusty stairway frame on the side of the old Legion hall adds to the texture and character of this shot.

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How is this done?  Below we see the original, straight out of the camera shot…

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Utilizing a pose that used this muscle set, I had the subject flex his muscles to accentuate the hard tone.  Dad is holding an off camera Canon 580 EX2 off camera flash set at ETTL, triggered with Pocket Wizards.  F2.8, 1/250, ISO 200. Front was lit by available light only.

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In Photoshop CS5 I added the Bleach Mike Kubota action.

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Removed Dad but left the flash. I think it adds a special “spark” to the image.  Another option is to remove the flash of light, as well, to not compete with the subject.  Cropped a little, as well.

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Hmmm… maybe black and white would look good.  Bronze God Kubota action.  This is my favorite black and white action.  I have found it best to desaturate the image first before applying the action.

Considering  light, whether it be available or flash, as a paint and brush on canvas is where you begin to think like an artist.  Experiment and learn through trial and error.  You may be surprised to find an artist inside of you, too!