I want to do a very dramatic photo shoot with a friend of mine who has a very muscular stature and really want to draw out all of the ripples and grooves.

I want to try to create kind of a metallic "reflective" look to his skin and was wondering if anyone had some production tips-- both lighting techniques as well as oils? glosses? i can apply to his body before shooting. see images attached for what i mean.they're using something more than water here...

enter image description here

I'm sure some of this can be boosted in post, so any links to such tutorials would also help.

Thanks, guys.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Is painting him in gold and then take a b/w picture an option? Your second example picture looks like it was done that way.
    – Alfe
    Jan 18, 2016 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


The second photo is makeup, some kind of metallic paint on it.

But the first one is easy to achieve.

I posted a simmilar efect tutorial here: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/50918/things-to-consider-when-creating-realistic-highlights-and-dark-reflections-on-me/50925#50925

The specific step is this:

Starting Image:

enter image description here

4. The curves

Here is the trick. The highlights on a metalic surface are blown up (B).

I added some extra nodes just to anchor the rest of the tone curve to make it look similar to the original look (A).

enter image description here

In this case you could make darker the A point.


For the shiny skin look you want to use a posing oil. Muscle Juice seems to be quite popular, but you could also use small amounts of baby oil. Nothing too excessive, the skin still needs to breathe.

To get the ripples and contours with your lighting you need to create shadows, which is best accomplished by having your lights almost horizontally opposed, and pointing down slightly: Not quite split lighting

Vary your power settings to get the specific look you're after. You will still need to tweak highlights and shadows as in the previous answer but this should do most of the work for you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.