Posted by: Michelle Stella Riordan | February 11, 2011

The body beautiful…

I had the pleasure to meet Rochelle while photographing the New Jersey State USBF Bodybuilding & Figure Championship.  Talk about style and presence!  She’s a photographer’s dream.  Really.  Rochelle knew I was photographing her while going through her routine on stage. Think about it.  Can you go on stage…in a bikini…in front of hundreds of people…gawking…judging?  She amazed me.  We could all learn a lot about confidence, passion and dedication from her. 

Shooting for the stage, concert or a show is a challenge because the lighting always changes.  A higher ISO is needed with a lower f-stop.  My favorite film for concerts was the Ektar 1000.  I loved the grain, the color & print quality.  I use the same rule of thumb for digital.  I start at ISO 1000, 1/125 second shutter speed at f/5.6 and adapt from there.  I arrived early while the promoters were working on the lighting which allowed me to take many sample shots.  They even asked me if the lighting would work for photographs.  Seems as if bodybuilders LOVE to see themselves in photographs. 

Next, I set up a background and lights backstage.  I invited any of the participants to come and play in a controlled lighting situation.  I used side lighting to bring out Rochelle’s definition.  She felt comfortable enough to vogue for me in front the lens.  And it shows…

 “An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.” ~ General George S. Patton

Disclaimer:  No bodybuilders were harmed or oiled up during this photo session.

A special THANKS to Rochelle for allowing me use her images for this post.  Follow her on Twitter: @roachhardabs




NJSUSBF backstage





  1. Excellent disclaimer. 🙂

  2. Michelle,
    Great post. The lighting sounds like it can be the most challenging thing. I guess that is something you can only get with experience!

  3. Great pictures. Rochelle has a great body. It shows what consistent, focused action can do for one’s body or one’s business.

    Coach Dana K. Dwyer
    Turning Small Business Owners Into Confident Business Leaders

  4. Michelle, it looks like she is having so much fun. I’m impressed tha tyou were able to capture her playfullness so well.

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