In a recent fitness photography shoot I worked with a male fitness model to create this image.
I wanted the final image to capture and reflect the subject of the photo. And when I say “subject” here I’m not talking about the person, I mean what the photo is about.
This photo is about fitness, bodybuilding, strength and hardness. The model is irrelevant, we don’t even see his face because it would detract from my true subject.
When I was thinking about how to light the subject I wanted to make sure that there was a lot contrast and plenty of hard shadows. This not only helps bring out the definition in the muscles, but on a metaphorical level it reflects the hardness of the muscles and the difficulty (‘hardness’) of the training.
I had pre-visualised the shot I wanted, so on the day the shoot was very fast. I knew exactly how I wanted to pose the talent, where the light needed to me, and what angle I was going to shoot from. I knew I wanted nothing else in the shot, so that the subject was isolated. Once I had nailed the shot I had in my head I did try a few other ideas for variation, but my planned shot turned out to be the one I liked best.
The final part of this process is in the post-production work. Here again I already knew what I wanted to do. First of all, this was definitely going to be a black and white image. I wanted it to be contrasty, but not excessively so – it’s easy to overdo this. And it needed to be gritty, and to bring out texture throughout the image. This included the sky and the clouds, and I was grateful it hadn’t been a blue sky day!