How to Take Better Before and After Photos to Highlight Your Physique

An image of Greg O'Gallagher

Let’s be honest: You train and fast and eat intuitively so that you can look good. A rock-solid physique is the name of the game. With that being said, the best way you can see the changes in your body composition isn’t the scale or DEXA scans or any other metric.

It’s all about the pics.

Before and after pictures are tremendous at showing how far you’ve come in your fitness transformation journey. They depict where you started and where you are now in terms of your overall physique.

Therefore, it’s pivotal to get them right. Here, we’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to know on how to take great before and after physique photos.

An image of Greg O'Gallagher

What Body Parts Should You Photograph?

Ideally, you’ll be taking photos that show as much of your physique as possible. This means getting your chest, torso, shoulders, arms, back and upper legs in clear view of the camera. A full-body picture, spanning from the top of your head (so others can prove both pics are you [winky face emoji]) to just past your kneecaps should suffice.

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Of course, you can’t get both your back and your chest in a single photo. So that means multiple pictures from varying angles. There are three main angles you should take your pictures from:

  • Front Facing: a clear sight of your face, chest, abs and quads, with your arms either in a power pose (hands on hips) or flexed to showcase your biceps.
  • Back Facing: a clear sight of your traps, back, V-taper and hamstrings, back flexed and arms in a power pose.
  • Side Facing: a slight angle so you can see your shoulder development, with a straight, flexed arm to showcase your triceps (preferably your dominant arm).

Before and After Photo Settings

In short, background matters. You want to keep everything the same in both the before photo and the after photo. The background should be something unicolor: a white wall, a brick wall, etc. If anything, find a blank wall devoid of furniture. And please, please, for everybody’s sake — stay out of your bathroom!

As well, you should be front and center in the photo. This is all about your physique transformation; stand in the middle of the picture. (And be proud about it!)

An image of Greg O'Gallagher

Then there’s the lighting. Natural light is ideal. At the very least, you want to be uniform in your lighting in both pictures. You can have lighting that accentuates your definition if you want, but we recommend you put yourself in the most normal of circumstances. You want to highlight your physique, but you don’t want to lie to yourself and the world, either.

Here are some quick tips on lighting:

  • For your key light — the primary lighting — go for a lamp or something similar, not sunlight (too unpredictable).
  • Minimize backlighting to avoid altering the photos in a Photoshop-ish way.
  • Also, minimize fill lighting, unless you want to highlight your definition in the best way. This is more of a model look, which is not what we’re looking for, per se.

How to Take the Photos

This is where you want to be crystal clear. The number one piece of advice we can give is this: Do NOT have your phone in the photo. It obscures your body, the angles can be different between the before and after pics and it essentially doesn’t do your hard work justice.

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For taking the photo, you can still use your phone, but make sure you use a long selfie stick, ask a friend to snap the photo or set a timer on your phone/camera. The latter two options should help keep the height of the photos similar between the before and after pics.

Again, take several shots from several angles: front, back and side — flexed and un-flexed. Getting all the possible shots will help you see differences you wouldn’t normally notice during your fitness journey. When your flexed before photo starts looking like your un-flexed after photo, you’ll know that it was all worth it.

An image of Greg O'Gallagher

More Photo-Taking Tips

A small yet crucial trick is to wear the same clothing in the before and after pics. This shows how you’ve tautened your waist and fill out other areas of your shirt/pants. Or, even better: Wear small shorts with no shirt, showing the full physique. (Hell, do both!)

Take weekly photos with the same clothing, background and lighting. By taking photos consistently, you develop the habit of keeping track of your body composition. Plus, it keeps you accountable; one or two slip-ups in a single week, and it will show in the photos. They are worth a thousand words, you know.

Lastly, you want to take your photos so that they put your muscle development in the limelight. You never want to obscure or hide your gains — that would be blasphemous! The goal of these before and after photos is to let you see how you’re progressing in your training and strength gains. (This is the entire point of any and all Kinobody courses.)

Where to Go From Here

The photos are only a small piece of the puzzle, but it provides you with the mindset you need to see fitness success. Taking quality before and after photos will give you the confidence, accountability and documentation to see where you came from and where you’re at now.

For more tips and tricks on how to perfect your physique transformation, including nutrition, mindset, training and celebrity workouts, be sure to stay locked in on all Kinobody channels. (Especially on YouTube and Greg O’Gallagher’s Instagram.)

Best of luck on your fitness journey!