The “Photo-Shoot Ready” Recipe: Four Key Ingredients Needed to Prepare your Contest Photo Submissions

The clock is ticking… The deadline for AT8 Contest Photo Submissions is rapidly approaching.

If you’re participating in the 12 week transformation contest, you’re putting the finishing touches on your “Final Look”.

If you’re in the 20 week transformation contest, you’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, stay the course.

For many contestants, this is the first workout program that you’ve followed consistently.  Thank you for your commitment to the Adonis Index Workout Systems and more importantly for your commitment to your own personal goals.

Win or lose, regardless of your contest placement, your transformation is a personal achievement and you should be very proud of your accomplishment.

All of your valiant efforts over this contest period stem from the synergistic combination of proper nutrition, strength training, and cardio.

One way to celebrate this achievement is by capturing some stunning images of your new & improved physique.

There are several tweaks or methods one can apply to enhance their overall appearance.

To keep things simple, yet effective I’ve chosen to focus on the top four ingredients of any “successful” fitness photo-shoot. So before you step in front of the camera, you can assure yourself that on command, you will be “Photo-Shoot Ready”.

The “Photo-Shoot” Ready Recipe: Four Key Ingredients to Prepare for your Contest Photo Submissions


1.    Conditioning: Shirt-On vs Shirt-Off? What’s the Difference?

 When it comes to conditioning, there are two different worlds we live in.

There is the “Shirt-On” world where most people reside and then there is the “Shirt-Off” world which is displayed on many a beach or magazine cover.

Neither world is bad but there are rules for living in both.

A person who has good conditioning will possess these three  features:  separation in the muscle groups, striations, and vascularity.  Unfortunately, in “Shirt-On” world it is is very difficult to tell the conditioning of a person because clothes cover the body.

A man who looks muscular “Shirt-On”  may not have the same conditioning as a man who  “Shirt-Off”  is ripped but not as impressive  in the same outfit.

In regards to this contest you will be judged by the rules & standards of  “Shirt-Off” world where conditioning is paramount.

As you’ve followed the AI programs, you have heard of the the term “Golden Ratio” or your body’s ideal  shoulder-to-waist (AI) ratio.  This transformation contest measures your starting and final AI-ratio to evaluate your progress over the 12 or 20 week period.

Nevertheless, here are a few suggestions to enhance your conditioning for your Contest Photos:

1. Mild Water Depletion: Sometimes your body retains water on the outer layer of your skin which can impact your conditioning. To help rid the body of excess water eat  foods such as asparagus and oatmeal or drink a low sugar green tea beverage 2-3 days prior to your photo-shoot for best results.

Additionally, take photos of yourself  in this state early in the morning as opposed to later in the day.

2. Fasted State: Intermittent fasting  has also been known to enhance conditioning.

Your skin is tighter  and muscle appear more defined as your body’s fat burning hormones are elevated.

To capture yourself  in the fasted state take photos first thing in the morning upon waking up.  If your following the “Eat Stop Eat” or the “The Reverse Taper Diet” regimen try planning your photo-shoot about 6-8 hours into your fasted state.

3. Carb-Loaded:  The “Carb-Loaded” state is the direct opposite  of being fasted.

However, they both create two very aesthetic looks which are ideal for a photo-shoot.  In the carb-loaded state you body resembles more of a full-muscular look which also helps to tighten your skin and improve vascularity.

To achieve the “carb-loaded” effect choose between one or two  of the following foods: honey (2 tablespoons), dark chocolate (4-6 squares), a peach (medium-size), or banana (medium-size) about 15-30 min prior to your photo-shoot and get your body pumped up with some simple exercises (i.e. push-ups, resistance band curls, etc.)

You still have a few days to experiment with what technique works best for you.  So take several photos in the various states and see which one’s turn out best.

2.    Posing: If you got it, make sure you show it…Properly!

Posing is the art of positioning your body in a specific way to present the best visual effect.

How you pose is very important.

In traditional bodybuilding competitions if a judge cannot see a certain part of your body they cannot judge it. Or even worse they will assume this area is under-developed.  We all have strengths and weaknesses in certain parts of our body.

Some muscles respond better to the training than others.

Posing is also a way to creatively display the parts of your body that are most flattering to your physique.

Practice, Practice, Practice! In front of a Mirror is preferred… Here is a “quick refresher” video of  the standard front, back and side shots that mimic your ‘before’ pictures and are required for the contest.

Remember “Pose Like the Pros!”


3.    Tanning: The Icing or Glaze on the Cake

The use of tanners and oils will also  improve your final look.  It has been observed that the darker your skin, the more definition can be seen.

This is most evident in bodybuilding competitions when two competitors of different ethnic backgrounds appear equally dark but are of different skin tone.

You may already tan regularly but if you don’t, there are some “sun-less” alternatives to enhance definition  for example, body oils, spray tans, sunless tanners, etc.  It’s always best to begin with a moderate amount and increase from there.

Your Final Contest Photos are a composite of: Conditioning, Posing, Tanning, and Lighting. Capture your physique at its best!

4.    Photography & Lighting: Almost Live

Since this is an Online and not a “Live” competition your photos will be all the judges have to grade you on.

While a professional photo-shoot is not mandatory,  it’s very important to  select an area whether indoor or outdoor with ample amount of lighting.

If you decide to use extra lighting, the best results were achieved  from past contestants when the lighting was balanced on either side and were pointed upwards at a 45-degree angle.

A solid black or white backdrop is preferred for indoor photos to help eliminate distractions and keep the focus on your physique.

Feel free to be fun and creative in your outdoor poses.  The bottom line is  that you’ve worked hard on your physique and you want the camera to tell the “whole” story.

In conclusion, remember these Four Key Ingredients in order to become “Photo-Shoot Ready” on Command:

  1. Conditioning
  2. Posing
  3. Tanning
  4. Photography/Lighting

Very Respectfully,

Allen Elliott

About Allen Elliott

Allen is the Editor-In Chief of the Adonis Index Blog, bringing you weekly articles on contest prep, transformation testimonials' and much more!

Additionally he is a published Fitness Personality, Certified Personal Trainer, and National Competitor in the NPC Men's Physique Division.

Last but not least, as an Adonis/Venus Index Transformation Coach, he works to provide guided solutions for people who sincerely strive to meet their fitness goals.

Being a fitness model and competitor gives him a lot of valuable insights that nobody else talks about. Among other things, he will teach you how to prepare for a live show or a fitness photoshoot yourself.

Click here to get more from him.