How to light a muscular man

How to light a muscular man, in order to emphasise his muscle? For this purpose I kind of like the following scheme:


I used Elinchrom material, as usual: three D-Lite RX 2 units equipped with:

  • one beauty dish, with the white diffuser cloth that I stole from the Rotaluxes;
  • two 90×110 Rotaluxes equipped with their Rotagrids, internal baffle diffusers and white reflectors.

With the camera set at ISO 200 (always optimistic on a Fujifilm X-T1) and the XF35/1.4 lens at about f/5, I kept the power at 4.0 and 1.0 respectively for the flashes going through the soft boxes and the beauty dish (the soft boxes absorb plenty of light with their three diffusing layers).

This is the result:

Muscular man, studio portrait, barechested

Advantages of the scheme

  • Able to emphasise really well any muscular build
  • The light is still soft and so suitable to further contrast-enhancing post-processing
  • Powering down the soft boxes, the effect can be tuned down to a barely visible rim light, while keeping the subject beautifully illuminated by a beauty dish.

Disadvantages of the scheme

The disadvantages of the scheme are linked to the large size of the two soft boxes equipped with grids:

  • very high cost of the material
  • low portability (only suited to studio)

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