This post is brought to you by Lee Archer of Photo-Flex.co.uk. Lee is a photographer, and has covered many bodybuilding shows across the UK. I’ve been bringing you alot of posts about getting ready for to compete as a bodybuilder over in my NABBA Training journal. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what else goes into a bodybuilding show, from a non-competitor stand point. Along with these experiences, i also wanted to receive some easy bodybuilding tips from someone who watches and attends many bodybuilding competitions.
Sam has recently shared some of his bodybuilding posing tips. Expanding on that series are some tips to help you stand out on stage at your next bodybuilding competition from the eyes of a bodybuilding contest photographer. With that being said, let’s take a look at what it’s like for Lee to cover a bodybuilding show as a photographer.
Hi to you all. Adam asked me to write a little on my views of bodybuilding shows and I thought it would be a good idea to add my view and also some tips that will not only help you get better photographs, but get noticed by the judges at your next bodybuilding contest.
Firstly a little more about me. My name is Lee and I started loving photography back in 1997 when I took a trip to New York to see my cousin. I took a rubbish film camera and took around 6 rolls of film. At this time I had no idea what I was doing. Having said that I had a good eye for a good shot. It was with regret when the photos came back that I realised my skills and camera were rubbish.
I did very little more for a few years but always wanted to do more photography. I started going to bodybuilding shows to watch friends and to support Gary Lister at the Pro Am Birmingham. I took a slightly better camera but struggled to get the sharp shots, I got the popular orange and blurry shots.
This started something and I haven’t looked back since. I bought a canon 300d from ebay for a few hundred quid, bought a lens and away I went to practice. The next set of images were miles better. I was talking to Foodtech owner Ken Roscoe one day and mentioned I was playing with photography. He invited me to Goodbody’s gym at Retford to photograph a training session with his main guys. It turned out the photos went down well and Ken helped me start photo-flex.
Since then Ive worked with some of the best bodybuilders and fitness athletes in the Uk. I photograph some fantastic shows and write for the Nabba Health and Fitness and work on photographic assignments for Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazine. I love it.
So enough waffle, sorry. I love the shows, the atmosphere, the chance to witness history and also catching up with friends. Its always relaxed at the shows and people have a good laugh too,. It’s a little different backstage where nerves are high etc. But in general its fantastic. Going backstage at shows like the Mr Britain and Universe is a real pleasure. It’s a place not many get to go. And its gives me some great candid shots.
4 Easy Bodybuilding Tips To Help You Stand Out On Stage
My first tip from the second you walk on stage, SMILE. People in general warm to positivity. This goes without thought by many competitors. So much focus is put into straining and hitting each pose correctly, that facial expressions on a bodybuilding stage go without as much of a thought. I can guarantee you that bodybuilding judges at any contest will notice a smile before a frown. This will put you in an immediate positive light. If someone has a positive first impression of you, then it will make the rest of your on-stage judging a breeze.
From a photography stand point, there is nothing that ruins an awesome bodybuilding pose, with perfect lighting, than a grimacing face. Many competitors eagerly wait to the preview photo’s of them self on stage, only to be abused by friends on Facebook with comments about constipation because of their facial expression.
You’re Always Being Judged
Every second a competitor is on stage at a bodybuilding show, is a second they are being judged by the prying eyes of a panel of experts. This includes the initial walk out. When you’re in a call up, when you’re not in a call out. When you’re told to relax, you’re still being judged.
Your face expressions, your reactions, everything. Be professional even if you’re a first timer. You’ve spent months training, hitting cardio, and dieting. Make sure you work your ass off the same way you prepped for the show when you’re on stage. Even after judging is over, maintain a professional and friendly attitude, on-stage and back stage. Judges remember faces from show to show. If you have a bad attitude over your placing, and act like a dick, you will be remembered – for the wrong reasons.
Pick The Right Tan
In my opinion, if you’re not totally shredded, then choose a water based tan. If your slightly off then a greasy tan will just hide even more. Prepare your skin for the tan. We see blotchy tans, and tans running off, all because people didn’t prepare the skin to take the tan. Read the tan instructions fully. Make your base coat perfect.
Take Center Stage
Get your self in lots of photographs. Hit your poses quick. Hold for a split second where possible. If it’s a posedown, get in the centre. Going far left or far right means youll not be in the main photos. Don’t go too far forward where the stage loses light. Using the middle third of the stage for most poses means youll get more photos taken. The sides are usually dark and don’t provide the best light. I know its cool to give family a quick close up pose, nothing wrong with that.
Those are my main tips when I photograph a show and I think what people could do better. You can use a similar approach to photoshoots as you would to going on stage. You want to look your best Right?
Carb depleting and loading as well as water manipulation are good things to look amazing on your shoot. The problem is that many people will start messing about, and can actually mess up their physique for the day. Its always advisable to practice this approach first, and if possible, use the help of an experienced coach. The last thing you want to do is throw in a bunch of cheap supplements to your stack the last week of a show to try and get rid of water, just to make your physique look stringy and destroy the past 3-4 months of preparation. Plan your shoot so your prepared. I always like to talk over ideas and pass on tips.
I hope some of this was helpful and if anyone would like to talk more my website is www.photo-flex.co.uk you can fill in the contact form and il reply prompt. I also have some videos on my youtune channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Leearcherphotography/feed
Thankyou Lee Archer