Do you want to look bigger, harder, and fuller in your next photos? I’m not just referring to professional photoshoots. I’m also not suggesting you learn to use Photoshop. This article is for everyone looking to up their selfie game, improve their social media engagement and simply look their best in front of the lens.
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR EVERYONE LOOKING TO UP THEIR SELFIE GAME, IMPROVE THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT AND SIMPLY LOOK THEIR BEST IN FRONT OF THE LENS.
At 6’6 and barely breaking 200 lbs, I struggled for years to look anything more than “that lean guy” in photos. My coach Jean-Jacques and I were able to put some great lean muscle on me over the last couple of years, but in photos, I often still came out as flat and nothing more than “lean.” Here are my top secret tips to getting more “savage” comments and fewer “are you a runner” questions that make you cry when no one is around.
1 – THE PUMP: I don’t know if anything is more important than getting pumped before photos are taken. Before you tell me how obvious this is, let’s discuss how to maximize your pump and not just cross your fingers that today is a good pump day.
PUMP (a) – the right pump supplements. What I am about to say is not just for men – the ladies look better with a pump too! A pump means your skin looks tighter, your muscles look worked and you look like you know what you are doing in the gym (and not just someone who must do lots of cardio). I personally never shoot without Magnum Volume, Magnum Pre Fo and Magnum Mimic. These 3 supplements increase vasodilation, blood flow and drastically improve vascularity. This trio will have you pumped and full of focus and energy.
A pump means your skin looks tighter, your muscles look worked and you look like you know what you are doing in the gym.
PUMP (b) – the right food. Most people don’t recognize how food can enhance your pump or take it away. The wrong meal, or too much food, will draw excess blood to your digestive system to help process – this means far less coursing through those pipes to give you the full look. Not to mention this same error just wiped out a bunch of the definition in your abs. I personally eat smaller meals, more often the night before and the day of the photos being shot. The morning of a photo shoot, I will have 1 cup rolled oats with 1.5 scoops Quattro (Salted Freakin Caramel), 1 cup blueberries and 2 tbsp jam. This is light and easy to digest. I have this one hour before starting to pump up, then I will eat a couple of rice cakes with jam every hour or so, just to keep sugars in my bloodstream and keep me going.
PUMP (c) – the right exercises. You’ve eaten the right way, you’ve taken the right supplements and now it’s showtime – you need to get the blood flowing to the right spots to present your best physique. First, some self-analysis is critical. Everybody is different, so you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. For me, my chest has always looked small in photos. This is my number one focus for pumping up – I need as full a chest as possible. In order to look my thickest up top, I pump up the chest AND my back to fill things out up top. I hit a little shoulder to increase the voluminous look, but I don’t do anything for legs or arms (ain’t nobody looking at my legs once my chest starts to pop anyway)! For arms, I know that when I pump them up, they look very big, but I lose all my definition, so I don’t pump them at all.
WHAT BODY PARTS ARE YOU MOST SELF-CONSCIOUS ABOUT? THOSE ARE LIKELY THE BODY PARTS YOU NEED TO PUMP BEFORE THE FLASH GOES OFF.
2 – KNOW YOUR ANGLES: I learned this one from Paris freakin’ Hilton of all people. There was a documentary on her and how 95 percent of photos of her are one angle, one look. Why you might ask? Paris discovered that look, that angle was her best. I’m not even a fan, but she looked great in that one pose. So I started looking through my own photos and realized I was always happy with photos shot from my left side and NEVER happy with photos shot on my right. So simple solution, don’t ever take photos of my right side!
But let’s go next level with our angles knowledge. Did you know as you change the angle of the photo just ONE percent, you create a completely different photo? So with that, you need to know what angle makes your physique look best. Is it straight on? Slightly shooting down? Aggressively angled up? Personally, being a tall and lean dude, I know that a slight upward angle makes my chest and shoulders appear wider and I love those shots.
DID YOU KNOW AS YOU CHANGE THE ANGLE OF THE PHOTO JUST ONE PERCENT, YOU CREATE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PHOTO?
To find your favourite angles, it simply takes practice. Is it that weird to ask your friend to shoot you for 10 minutes on your iPhone? Direct them to try every angle so you get to see what you like and don’t like. Chances are, if they work out too, they will be more than happy to do this for you if you offer to reciprocate. Show them this article and I promise your friend will be sold.
3 – LIGHTING CHANGES EVERYTHING: Lighting in photos is something that will never cease to amaze me. I have been in ridiculous shape, shooting with bad lighting and I look flat and definitionless. I have also shot in okay shape, with exceptional lighting, and was blown away by how full and ripped I looked (even though the mirror was clearly telling me a different story). Here are a couple of tips to use lighting to improve your physique:
I HAVE ALSO SHOT IN OKAY SHAPE, WITH EXCEPTIONAL LIGHTING, AND WAS BLOWN AWAY BY HOW FULL AND RIPPED I LOOKED (EVEN THOUGH THE MIRROR WAS CLEARLY TELLING ME A DIFFERENT STORY).
LIGHTING (a) – natural lighting trumps all. Natural lighting flowing through a window at an angle will blow you away. Too much light or too much direct light will wash you out. Take a few photos in the light and near the light and you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t.
LIGHTING (b) – choose a good photographer. If you are planning to use a professional photographer, take time to look through their portfolio. How does their lighting look? Specifically, look for models in their portfolio with a similar build to you – this will show you if they will shoot you well. When I look at portfolios, I’m looking for tall, lean dudes, not huge bodybuilders.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO USE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, TAKE TIME TO LOOK THROUGH THEIR PORTFOLIO.
I would like to encourage you, no matter what level of fitness you believe you are, to BOOK A PHOTOSHOOT with a pro. If you are just starting out or have never shot before, don’t spend more than $500. Yes, the really good photographers are much more than this amount and they are worth it, but you are not likely ready to utilize their talents yet. If you are happy with your first shoot, feel free to go big! I’ve spent thousands on big shoots and have insane photos to show for it, but I too got myself ready by shooting with some newer photographers who weren’t as expensive. Why I encourage this so much: once you book, you have a killer goal and date. Now you have extra reason to train harder, say no to fast food, go longer and harder with your cardio… this focus is so valuable. I recommend you book the shoot 60 – 90 days out.
4 – MINDSET: For the weeks/months before you know you are taking important photos, VISUALIZE IT. See yourself dominating the shoot. Visualize how your abs look, how your muscles bulge and how your face and eyes look comfortable, borderline cocky, in every photo. On the day of, walk in with confidence knowing you came ready. You came ready to own this shoot. Don’t second guess yourself and question if you could have done more – this is your day to win.
If you are a visual learner, make sure you take a look at my YouTube page and find the video I made with Status Fitness Magazine and Coach JJ with the same title (How to Look Bigger in Photos). I know it will amp you up to go train insane and fill out even more.
Good luck and please keep me posted on your fitness journey.