Bodybuilding and physique sports require the task of making minor adjustments to your program on a regular basis to ensure that your progress does not come to a halt. Individuals make these changes based upon weight, body fat readings and other methods. However, the one that trumps them all is the visual aspect. When you are standing on the stage judges have no idea what your weight or body fat is. They are judging you solely on your appearance.
When making visual observations, the mirror never lies. However, the mirror does not show you a comparison of how you looked last week or month. For this reason a perfect picture becomes priceless. Although a good picture is priceless, if you get sloppy with your comparison pictures they are rendered close to worthless. If I am trying to compare a picture I took last week fresh out of bed to a picture this week in the gym after 5 meals and a good chest pump, it holds little value to me.
So what do you need to do to create the best comparison pictures?
1. Time of day
My preference is to have all progress pictures taken first thing in the morning prior to water and food. Although this is not mandatory, the pictures should be taken at about the same time of day each time so that your fullness and water retention is similar. I also prefer to not have comparison pictures taken in the gym after training different body parts. If you take a picture post chest workout and compare it to a post leg workout picture, of course things will look different. Again, I prefer first thing in the morning prior to food and water without a pump.