Beach photoshoot with IFBB Bikini Pro Michele D'Angona


One of the benefits of getting into fashion and beauty photography is that you learn something new on every shoot. For example, I was not aware that there was such a thing as a Professional Bikini Bodybuilder until I had the opportunity to work with Michele D'Angona.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1250 @ f4

Michele is a Body Transformation Specialist - a personal trainer/nutritionalist/competition coach who works with individuals to help transform them into their full athletic potential. You can learn more by visiting her website at  EmpoweringBody.com .

She has one of the most amazing physiques I have ever photographed - you could actually feel the air move when she flexes her muscles. ;-)


We did a morning beach shoot in Kaanapali. Michele came with her own personal makeup artist FouFou - a fantastic artist and so much fun to work with. You can check out more of her work here.


We started in the room with some headshots as FouFou finished working on Michele's makeup.  For these we set up a chair by the sliding glass door to the lanai which gave us lots of natural light to work with. I chose to use an 85mm f1.2 lens to help blur out the rest of the room behind Michele. Fou Fou added some motion to Michele's hair by using a small hair dryer.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm 1.2L II iso800 1/320 @ f3.2

Canon 5D mkII 85mm 1.2L II iso800 1/500 @ f2.8

Using the 85mm, it is still tricky for me to nail the focus when I have the lens wide open at f1.2, so I closed down to f2.8 and f3.2 do give me a little more space to work with.  Even then I still had to take a lot of shots before I got a usable image.  Practice, practice, practice.

Caught a rainbow right before we headed down to the beach.  Michele was willing to climb out to the adjoining rooftop to get some shots but being that we were several stories up, I didn't want to chance it. ;-)


This particular morning was mostly overcast, with occasional sunlight, so our images varied a lot.  When the sun popped out we would get some nice definition on Michele's physique and richer color in the sky.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/2500 @ f3.2



When the sun went behind the clouds, we got a much softer look.

 Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1600 @ f2.8

 Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1250 @ f3.2

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1600 @ f3.2

Lighting wise we stayed mostly with the silver California Sunbounce Pro to fill in shadows when it was sunny.  When it got cloudy, the silver Sunbounce was brought in closer to add a little bit of directionality to the light.  I did also bring along the AB800 and Vagabond, but for safety's sake decided not to use it since we were still getting the occasional drizzle.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1600 @ f3.2

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1600 @ f2.8

During one of the last shots we took with this outfit, the wind briefly picked up her hair and we got one of my favorite shots of the day.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/1600 @ f4

Michele changed into a different outfit and we did a few more shots, changing up the direction to try to get more blue sky to contrast with her pink wrap.

Canon 5D mkII 24-70mm 2.8L iso200 1/6400 @ f2.8

Even though the beach was relatively empty when we started shooting, I ended up having to Photoshop out a lot of people in the backgrounds.  For some strange reason when we started shooting, it started getting crowded only near our section of the beach. ;-)

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/2500 @ f2.8

Once we finished our beach shots, we headed back into the garden area for a different look.
Tried a few shots near a tree, but decided to change up the location to something more 'jungle-ey"




We found this spot in the garden to shoot.  To get a slightly higher angle than Michele (one of the problems of being a short photographer - most models that I work with are taller than me), I stood on a nearby hill with FouFou standing next to me holding a smaller Sunbounce Mini to fill in the shadows.  By this time it was around noon and there was a lot of overhead sunlight streaming through the trees, so we had to position Michele very carefully to avoid hotspots appearing on her.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/200 @ f2.8

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm 2.8L IS II iso200 1/250 @ f2.8


I really hope I'll have the chance to work with Michele and FouFou again as they were a lot of fun to shoot with. With such an amazing physique I think Michele would totally rock a Conan the Barbarian theme shoot.