Let’s face it, many of us don’t like to take photos of ourselves especially at the beginning of an MP Body Transformation challenge. It’s confronting, embarrassing, and very uncomfortable. But, the truth is it’s these actual pictures that will motivate you, help keep you accountable and most of all make you so proud when you reach your personal goals. 

"€"€It’s hard to detect what you have achieved by just going by numbers on a scale. Scales track weight loss but they can’t portray how you look, feel and function the way a photo can.’ Pictures don’t lie."€"€

Taking your ‘before & after’ transformation pics need to be given equally the same amount of attention and detail as what you give your nutrition plan. You need to plan, prepare and know how to create the right environment in order to capture, document and showcase your personal journey with photographic images.

What do I mean by this, the photos you submit for the challenge can either make or break your chances of winning despite the tremendous results and changes you have achieved. Many variables ranging from using poor resolution, bad lighting, to not wearing the right clothing and not using the right documentation are just some of the areas that impact the final decision when judging.

Avoid your efforts going unnoticed. Below I have compiled a number of helpful do’s & do not's on how to take the perfect ‘before & after’ transformation pics.  Follow them, and you maybe the next MP Challenge winner.

1. Be clear on what the Transformation challenge clearly requires. How do I win? How do I enter? You can do this when you register at MP-Body Challenge

2. Don’t be blinded by the light!

Forget the scenic overlook for your background transformation photos. Great transformation photos are all about you and great lighting. 

What is great lighting?

Look for a place where the light is soft all around you. A place where there aren’t strong shadows on your face or objects around you. A high light position will emphasize shadow at the bottom of the muscle structure while a lower position will do the same for the lower abs but also possible detract from your chest.

Walk around and take some shots first to find out exactly where the best position is for you to stand to capture you at your best.

Best not to use a flash directly on you, as it will “wash you out” and muscles won’t be as defined.

If taking photos outside, early morning or late afternoons are generally good times to take photos outside, as the light is best at these times. (Personally, you cannot beat natural light).

3. Ideal Setting

Make your body the focus point of the picture. Stand in front of a plain wall or a door. When you find the perfect photo spot, check to see what will be behind you. The background of your photo should be uncluttered (i.e. no furniture or pictures hanging in the background.) Try not to have anything directly behind you for at least 3 or 4 feet, if possible. Also avoid standing close to the wall as this creates too much shadow and distraction.

                      example 1                                                    example 2

It’s okay if the area behind you is dark, but what you don’t want is for it to be significantly brighter than where you are. Ideally, you want all of the lighting as even as possible.

4. Personal Preparation

Whether you’re male or female, adhere to the following steps, and be assured that your photographs will reveal you in your best form.

• Body hair should be removed as it detracts from muscle definition especially for the after pics and for any muscle shots. Wax/shave 1-2 days prior to allow any redness to go down.

 Before shot 

After shot - hair free and tanned

• Do what bodybuilder competitors do just before walking on stage, a pump up! A ‘Pump up’ is basically a short workout i.e. usually consists of a few pushup’s and arm curls. Do this 5-10 minutes before you take your photos. It helps increase blood flow, increase muscle volume, and if your lean brings out vascularity!

• Skin tone/ and colour will highlight and help showcase muscle development. Apply a spray tan or 1-2 coats of self-tanning cream prior to taking your ‘after’ photos – warning don’t go overboard or be heavy handed if applying yourself. One or two shades darker will be fine. If you’re new to using tanning methods – do a test run on yourself in advance to see what best suits your skin tone. You want it to look natural, a healthy golden glow – not bright orange like an Oompa Loompa.

• This isn’t necessary, but if applied lightly and the right way, the result is a beautiful sheen that looks fabulous, and really highlights your muscles especially when taking your 'after' photos. Pour a small amount of oil – i.e. almond oil, baby oil even coconut oil – approx. size of a 10 cent coin, rub together in your hands and lightly pat all over your arms, torso, and legs.

5: Strike a Pose!

Relax, taking pictures of yourself is far less stressful than you think, have fun with it! If you take some bad photos, you can delete them. I strongly suggest that you practice some poses in the mirror first to see what you like and what is easy to do.

• Make sure your body takes up the entire photograph. If you are too far away, we won't be able to see your true results. The top of your head should be at the top of the photo and your feet near the bottom.

• Stand tall – good posture when taking photos makes an impact. Keep your back straight or slightly arched backwards. Standing tall especially in the after pic shots, helps to stretch out your stomach. This is where you can show off your abdominal region, trim waistline.


The first pose is straight forward. Stand tall facing the camera, feet slightly apart and have your hands relaxed on either side. Lift your chest, and make sure your head and chin are lifted too.

Also, a little tip for females stand in heeled shoes when taking your after pics ( refer to pics above and below). This helps to show off your legs, and accentuates definition.



When taking this pic, do exactly the same when taking the front shot. The only difference is your back will be facing the camera. 

TIP -  When taking the after pic shot - lift and lock the shoulders into place. It helps to show off back development and helps to show your waistline. 

Pic 3 The SIDE SHOT 
For the side pose, again follow the steps as above for front and rear pics. Make sure you stand tall, and lift your chest.

Take a pic of both your sides – Choose your preferred side shot to submit. (Make sure you do the same side for the ‘after’ pic to maintain continuity.)

TIP - Relax your hands by your side, twist your upper body slightly to the camera and move your arm facing the camera backwards a few inches. This enables you to show off your waistline.

6. Use the correct documentation.

Please do not hold a newspaper or the MP printout in your "before" or "after" photographs. Unfortunately, many past MP Challenge participants have accidentally covered up their bodies by holding them, which makes it impossible for us to see the changes.

A printout to be included in your transformation shots can be downloaded from the Guidelines & How to Win page.

This year's challenge requires you to display the below image each month. Print it off, and place on the wall/background directly behind you. All entrants must include the right documentation to be eligible for winning the prize money.
7. Remember to SMILE! (esp. when taking the after photo) Your smile really makes a difference. Be proud of your journey and your achievements.

8. What to wear?
Basically, the more skin you can show in your before and after pics the better it is to not only motivate you and keep you accountable, but to track and monitor your changes. For Women, form-fitting shorts, a sports bra, bathers/bikini or underwear are preferred.

Men wear shorts (not boardies), underwear or speedos.

It's important that you wear form-fitting clothing that shows as much of your body as you feel comfortable so we the judges can see your changes. Try to wear a similar style of clothing / or the same in your "before" and "after" photos for continuity.

Just a few more tips-

• Avoid the urge of taking and submitting selfie pics using your phone. Pics end up grainy, and don’t capture you standing correctly. Not only that, we see more of the phone in the shot then you! Bathroom selfies are popular because of the lightning, just grab someone and get them to take the pic for you!

• Take as many pictures as you can. You’ll have a lot to pick from when you’re done and the more options the better.

• Your best bet is to place your camera on a tripod/ or fixed surface to avoid any blurring.

• If you really want to make an impression, make sure you use a good camera. Personally, I would stay away from mobile phone photography. You want quality.

• Finally, be consistent. Make sure that you are using the same background, clothing and same poses throughout your body transformation challenge pics. The only thing that you want to change in your photos is you.

There you have it – a full checklist on how to take the perfect pic. Don't let the fear of having these photos taken stop you from starting the Challenge. Taking and reviewing these photos will actually give you the mental leverage necessary to take action and make a great physical transformation. You may be a little embarrassed to have a friend or family member take the "before" photos, but please realize that this is the beginning of greater things to come. Soon you'll be able to look back at them and feel proud about your extraordinary accomplishment!

So what are you waiting for – get ready to take some snaps.

Good luck to all competitors and see you at the MP Transformation Awards Evening!

For more great nutrition articles & tips by Shar type FDN into the search engine.
Read more about Shar here.

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