Photo Shoot, Technique & A Composite: British Champion Bodybuilder

Hi Folks.
Thought for today I’d post a new composite and a few other sample images, along with some B.T.S. (Behind the Scenes) info, from a recent photo shoot with British Natural Bodybuilding Champion Nigel Saint Lewis

This particular shoot was to capture Nigel’s incredible physique after all the the hours of sweat and tears he’d put into the gym plus being on a strict diet to get in shape to compete in his first ever Bodybuilding Competition, so naturally we worked on some physique shots but once we’d done that we then moved onto taking shots that were going to be edited a touch more than normal, such as the composite above and one I posted earlier…

Lighting Set Up:
Here’s a B.T.S. (Behind the Scenes) shot to show the lighting set-up that I used throughout the shoot. This is one of my favourite set ups because of the flexibility it offers i.e. The different looks that can be achieved by shooting with all 3 lights through to just using the one is limitless, plus the ‘Octa’ on occasion was swapped out for a beauty dish with honeycomb grid.

Also as I was shooting everything from headshots to full length I used the large soft boxes but positioned the black V-Flats/Gobo’s in such a way to make strip lights; no point spending £££’s on purpose built full length strip boxes when the same result can be achieved by simply positioning kit you already have…aahhh Zack would be proud:)

Composite Before/After
The 2 images below show the Before (Out of Camera) and the After (Final Edit) so you can see the kind of editing that was carried out in Photoshop to make the composite…

Composite Bits & Pieces
Below are the images that were used in the composite in addition to some techniques to create the shooting stars etc:

Same Set-Up, Different Looks
Here’s some samples of what else we got up to by making use of the exact same lighting throughout the shoot all except for swapping the Octabox for the Beauty Dish & Honeycomb Grid in the first two images below…

Post Production for this series of shots was minimal:

  • Double Raw Conversion
  • Dodging & Burning
  • B&W Conversion
  • Desaturate
  • Sharpening
  • Vignette

For those of you who don’t know, there’s a series of rounds involved in competitive Bodybuilding; compulsory poses to show the main muscle groups, a free round where each competitor will go through a choreographed routine to music of their choice to show their physique’s strongest points, symmetry etc and then a comparison round.

I clearly remember from my days as a Competitive Bodybuilder that the ‘posing’ is every bit as hard if not more so than the training that was involved to build the physique in the first place, because of the restricted diet and subsequent lower energy levels.

Anyway the reason for me telling you this is that if you do ever find yourself photographing a Bodybuilder, a good way to start the shoot is to get them to go through their routine which has the benefit of:

  1. Getting them ‘In the Zone’
  2. Warmed Up
  3. Gives you the chance to see and choose poses that would be great to photograph
This can take some time and if you have no knowledge of bodybuilding you’re gonna need to show each pose that you’ve photographed to the subject because they’ll want to make sure feet are positioned correctly, body angle is correct and so on. To an ‘outsider’ for want of a better phrase, this may seem a little O.T.T. but when you think about the effort that’s gone into building such a physique and then the diet involved you can understand the need to get the shots spot on!

We finished the shoot with a more relaxed and not so ‘in your face’ series of shots; again with the rim lights and the Octabox on the boom as in the B.T.S. (Behind the Scenes) shots above…

Post Processing for this series of shots was pretty much the same too:

  • Double Raw Conversion
  • Dodging & Burning
  • Black & White Conversion
  • Desaturate
  • Sharpen
  • Vignette

In addition to this though, a little bit of a glow/softening was added as a final touch…

So there you have it…one lighting set up and a whole series of different looks.

As always, if you have any questions about anything in this post be it the photography or editing side, or you just want to leave a comment, then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.

Oh, and incidentally just incase you missed it, with regards to the composite image and how it was put together, on the 4th September at 8pm BST (UK) I’m doing a ‘live’ webinar where you’ll get to see a lot of the compositing and retouching techniques from start to finish; you can find out more at this [Link]


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  • August 12, 2011 - 11:16 am

    govind vekaria - 3 light set-up gives beautiful results – not only for body-builders. And the octa is awesome to have (but I don’t have a boom :-( ).

  • August 12, 2011 - 2:59 pm

    DaveT - Great images Glyn, and thanks for the BTS lighting pull back shots – very useful.

  • August 17, 2011 - 10:51 am

    Glyn - @Govind…Yeah I just love the flexibility of the set up :)

  • August 17, 2011 - 10:52 am

    Glyn - @DaveT…Glad you like it mate ;)

  • August 17, 2011 - 2:26 pm

    Mark Bush - Great images, Glyn. And thanks for the BTS. It is VERY helpful to have your commentary on the lighting setup and process of the shoot. When I first saw the DIY Strip boxes tag, I was curious how you made them: bread boxes with a “space blanket” lining, lit by speedlites or some such? (Too much time on DIY Photography sites, I guess.) I have to admit to a “Doh” moment when I saw that you just flagged your softboxes. The most elegant solution is so frequently the simple one. Thanks for a great article (and for the reminder not to make it so complicated).

  • August 22, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    Glyn - Hey Mark thanks for your comment and yeah I agree totally…best solutions are usually the simplest (and cheapest) lol :)

  • September 5, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    My First Webinar: Q & A’s, Feedback & Lessons Learned » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] Q: I’m wondering what shade of Grey Glyn shoots on. Light, medium, or dark gray? I had to miss the first few minutes of the webinar so my appologies if he already covered it?  A: The grey seamless I shoot on is just a touch darker than mid grey which works great for most of the compositing work I shoot but to be honest for this one a darker grey would have been better; one is now on order I hasten to add. BTW you can see the set up I used in this earlier blog post [Link] [...]

  • February 10, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    Some Friday Bits n’ Bobs » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] Really looking forward to working with Nigel again in the not too distant future on a couple of themed shoots but in the mean time you can check out the article here [Link] and also read the B.T.S. (Behind the Scenes) of the studio shoot and the retouching here [Link] [...]

  • February 10, 2012 - 4:56 pm

    David - I am relativley new to this photography lark and am grateful for any tips and tricks. I am trying to soak up as much as possible. Brilliant and thank you. Do you have any suggestions a budget lighting starter kit.

    P.S. I particularly like the stripy socks!

  • February 27, 2012 - 5:58 am

    Funny Pix Blog - Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for novice blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  • August 17, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    Bodybuilder Promo: Sneak Peek » Glyn Dewis - [...] Yesterday I was back working with Natural Bodybuilder Nigel St Lewis who you may remember I photographed in the studio last year [Link] [...]

  • October 9, 2012 - 8:23 am

    Photo Shoot: Bodybuilder (Nigel St Lewis) » Glyn Dewis - [...] Nigel before following his first ever competition. You can check out pictures from that shoot here [Link] and what you’ll notice is how much Nigel’s physique has moved on since then; geez what [...]

  • May 18, 2013 - 5:47 pm - Just desire to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i could assume
    you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  • May 23, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    jo rutherford - Glyn , this is fabulous, have started using Google + more and so I am now even more distracted by your work!!!

  • September 9, 2013 - 5:07 am

    DR - I’ve been shooting bodybuilders for nearly a decade, and these are some of the best shots I’ve seen. Thanks for this, very interesting read!

    When you are using this 3 light setup, do you mind if I ask what sort of ratio you use on the front light vs the kickers?

It’s ‘Heads Up’ Wednesday…My ‘Live’ Webinar + A New Book by @mattkloskowski

Hi Folks,
I’m just in the middle of writing a walk through for a new photo shoot and composite for posting later on but in the meant time I wanted to give you a ‘heads up’ on a couple of things…

My ‘Live’ Photoshop Retouching and Compositing Webinar
First off, a few people have asked if they can download the recording of my ‘Live’ Retouching and Compositing Webinar as they’re unavailable the time it airs. Well, in a word…Absolutely!

All you need to do is to register [Link] for the webinar as normal and the download, along with a few other things, will be available after the webinar has aired.

One more thing…
For those of you who join me ‘Live’ I’ll be running a couple of competitions throughout the webinar and thanks to the folks at the N.A.P.P. [Link] and Kelby Training [Link] I’ve a few prizes up for grabs!!!

** Full details of the Webinar and what I’ll be covering can be found in an earlier post by using this [Link]

Killer New Book on Compositing by Matt Kloskowski…Coming Soon!!!
Now this I can’t wait to see…My Buddy Matt Kloskowski (N.A.P.P. and Kelby Training) has a new book on ‘Compositing’ called ‘Compositing Secrets‘ coming out any day now!

I’ll have a review of the new book as soon as it’s available but for now here’s a short video to give you an idea of what the hype is all out, and from what I know so far this book is set to break some records and be a MUST have!!!

Right, that’s all for now so have a great Wednesday and I’ll catch you soon,

•     •     •

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My first ‘Live’ Compositing/Retouching Webinar…Coming Soon!!!

Hi Folks,
I just wanted to give you a date for your diaries and a ‘heads up’ that in a few weeks time on Sunday 4th September thanks to ‘Bernskiold Media’ [Link] I’ll be running my first ‘Live’ Webinar …

During the hour long webinar I’ll be showing the kind of Photoshop retouching and compositing techniques that I teach in my ‘From Concept to Print‘ Workshop [Link], and for this very first webinar I’ll be taking you through each and every step involved to make the Bodybuilder picture above.

I’ll cover everything…taking the ‘Out of Camera’ image through all the stages in Lightroom and Photoshop to end up with our final composite


  • To watch and join in you’ll need to Register at this link [Register Here]
  • Price: $24.99 (£15 approx)
  • Time: Sunday 4th September 8pm (UK)BST, 3pm EST
  • Duration: Approximately 1 hour
  • I’ll be able to take questions during the webinar (So long as they’re easy:))
  • Registration includes access to an ‘On Demand’ (download) of the entire webinar

Note: If you can’t make the live Webinar but would like access to the full download, register in the normal way and it will be available shortly after it’s aired;)

I’m really excited this (don’t you just love technology) and I look forward to catching you online, but in the mean time if you’re on Facebook you can check out the Event Page here [Link].

Right, with a few weeks to go I’m off to work on my  pronunciation of ‘Opacity’,

•     •     •

Keep up with Glyn ‘Day to Day’ on Twitter
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  • August 8, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    Gene McCullagh - EXCELLENT!

  • August 8, 2011 - 2:43 pm

    daniela - the link to the facebook event page isn’t working for me but i have registered. whoohoo!

  • August 8, 2011 - 6:35 pm

    David Hodgins - Sorry Dude, would love to join in, but that’s my travel day for #PSW. Wish we were gonna see you there.

  • August 10, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    It’s ‘Heads Up’ Wednesday…My ‘Live’ Webinar + A New Book by @mattkloskowski » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] ** Full details of the Webinar and what I’ll be covering can be found in an earlier post by using this [Link] [...]

  • August 12, 2011 - 7:04 am

    Photo Shoot, Technique & A Composite: British Champion Bodybuilder » Glyn Dewis Blog - [...] Oh, and incidentally just incase you missed it, with regards to the composite image and how it was put together, on the 4th September at 8pm BST (UK) I’m doing a ‘live’ webinar where you’ll get to see a lot of the compositing and retouching techniques from start to finish; you can find out more at this [Link] [...]

  • August 12, 2011 - 12:16 pm

    Jonathan Thompson - What’s wrong with your oh-pay-city? ;) Good luck with the webinar, great to see your success & stunning imagery too.

  • August 17, 2011 - 10:51 am

    Glyn - @Jonathan…You’re a star mate; thanks for the ongoing support ;)

  • August 17, 2011 - 2:20 pm

    Ivan Boden - I like seeing the before and after photos.

    Well done.

  • September 1, 2011 - 6:29 am

    A.J. Wood - I hope to login Sunday. I’m crammin’ a lot of work through the doors trying to make for available “fun” time at PSW, but I figure if Erik can work up to minute before he boards a plane well then I best to a bit better. ;^)

  • September 2, 2011 - 7:29 pm

Photoshop Tutorial: Applying Texture to a Contour

Now the very first TipSquirrel Workshop [Link] being held at the incredible Peterborough Cathedral is fast approaching, I took a drive over there recently to get a feel for the place and narrow down what kind/theme of portraits I’ll be working on; needless to say a gothic/vampire theme was screaming out…for want of a better phrase:)

So, that being said I thought for this month’s tutorial I’d expand a little on a use for my ‘Pain Free Tattoo‘ [Link]technique to create an effect I may well end up using on an image taken during the Workshop.

Now the main body of this technique is nothing new but I thought I’d show you how I’d approach it to maybe look at adding a little more realism or believability…if there is such a word:)

Step 1: Duplicate your image
The first thing to do is to duplicate your image as we’re going to create a Displacement Map. To do this simply go to IMAGE…DUPLICATE

Doing so will open up the following dialog box asking you to give your duplicate image a name. In this case we’ll call it something creative like ‘displacement map’ and click OK.

Step 2: Prepare the Displacement Map
The image in front of you is now the duplicate so we’re going to make this a displacement map by turning it to black and white. This doesn’t need to be an award winning black and white conversion so we’ll just go IMAGE…ADJUSTMENTS…DESATURATE then boost the contrast a little by IMAGE…ADJUSTMENTS…CURVES and choosing Medium Contrast from the presets menu…

Next go to FILTER…NOISE…DESPECKLE and apply that about 3 times, and to finish off the displacement map all we need to do now is to save it as a .psd (Photoshop) file.

Step 3: Add texture
Now that you’ve saved your displacement map close it and then left on your desktop is your original image. We’re now going to place a texture ontop of this image and in this case we’re going for a peeling paint image which will be used to give the final impression of peeling skin…

With the peeling paint layer uppermost in your layers panel and positioned to where you’d like the finished effect to appear, first off desaturate it by IMAGE…ADJUSTMENTS…DESATURATE and then change it’s Blend Mode to Multiply View full post »

  • August 5, 2011 - 9:21 pm

    Russell - Thanks for sharing this Glynn,
    only problem is my skin looks like this girls BEFORE i get any texture added !!

    Great tutorial as usual.


  • August 10, 2011 - 11:04 pm

    Glyn - Russell…Very funny but I don’t believe a word of it…lol :)

Join me in Oxford for Scott Kelby’s 4th Annual World Wide Photo Walk

No matter what level of Photographer you are…from the seasoned Professional to someone who just likes to take the occasional snap with their camera phone then you’re not going to want to miss this…

The weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October sees the 4th Annual Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk: an event where last year in excess of 30,000 photographers or to say it in it’s broadest terms ‘People who like to take photographs’ in cities across the world took part in the biggest social event of it’s kind in the World taking photos, making friends, winning incredible prizes and what’s more…all for FREE !!!

Each year the event grows and grows in popularity as word spreads about how good it actually is and this year is yet again set to be another record breaker with even larger numbers expected and even more incredible prizes on offer.

To give you more of an understanding of what this is all about, you can check out the Official World Wide Photo Walk website at this [Link] and to give you a glimpse at what goes on here’s a short video from last years’ Photo Walk which I lead over in Windsor, UK:

Come to Oxford and join the Party
I’m really excited that this year on Saturday 1st October I’ll be leading a walk in the gorgeous City of Oxford; a City steeped in history with beautiful architecture, Universities, stunning Gardens, a famous indoor market and of course the home of Inspector Morse:)

It’s guaranteed to be a fantastic, fun social day of Photography and meeting and making new likeminded friends so don’t whatever you do miss the opportunity to come and join the party. Walks are limited to 50 participants and spaces have already started being filled so make sure you head on over to the Oxford Photo Walk page and reserve your free space [Link]

Look forward to seeing you there,

ps> In addition to the prizes that are up for grabs Dave Clayton of N.A.P.P. Member UK [Link] and myself will be running a few other competitions on the day with extra fabulous prizes available plus I’ll be adding a few extra surprises…maybe a mini Photography and Photoshop editing workshop for those who want to hang around a little longer afterwards.

World Wide Photo Walk website [Link]
Oxford Photo Walk page [Link]

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Keep up with Glyn ‘Day to Day’ on Twitter
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