I was contacted by professional wrestler and former competitive bodybuilder, Kay Jutler, who needed a selection of updated images to use for promotional purposes. I’ve known Jutler for a few years now and have been lucky enough to shoot his portraits on a number of occasions, but right now he is in the best shape of his life. He looks phenomenal so it’s no surprise he wanted to update his image library.
Photos are a very important investment in the world of pro wrestling – they get used everywhere including on show posters, sold as merchandise or sent prospectively to promoters for future work, so it’s vital that the images created shows them in the best possible way to maximise their return. To put simply, if you’re a pro wrestler it’s really important to have on file a selection of images that show off your attributes.
When I work with pro wrestlers I like to shoot three different styles of image:
1. A full length character shot
These are great for sending to promoters to secure future bookings. This is a chance to show them your full character including gear and clearly displays your entire physique (it also shows that you don’t skip on your leg days). These shots very quickly show promoters that you take yourself and the business seriously.
2. Upper body character shot
These are incredibly important for a number of reasons. If you want to push your career further you need to get your name and face out there – good upper body shots mean that you have a picture that can be used on posters. Having made posters for a number of promotions, we know how hard it is to find images that are good enough quality to use. If you have a decent photo that can be used, it more than likely will be, and that means you get your face shown. I tend to shoot these on a very cleanly lit high key setup so it allows graphic designers to easily cut out the crisp white background.
When shooting character-based images it’s important to remember to take both heel and face variations as the more flexible you are as a performer, the more bookings you can potentially get. The higher up you go in the business, the less creative control you get over your gimmick so cover all of your bases.
3. Traditional bodybuilder images
If you have the body, make sure you show it off properly! These images are slightly more arty due to the lighting setup, but using a harder light source that criss-crosses the body will emphasise your contours. Essentially it makes your knobbly bits even more knobbly meaning your muscle definition pops. I like to shoot these low key, on black background, and out of character. Because of the way these are shot, these are not so useful to promoters for shows but they do add that something extra that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few of my favourites from the session with Kay Jutler, shot this weekend in Oxford.