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Photographer Finds Himself in a Hairy Situation at the US National Beard and Moustache Competition

Moustaches and Beards. The ultimate sign of masculinity, or so some say. Every year there is a National Competition, "The Just for Men National Beard and Moustache Championship presented by Hanes X-Temp," to show off all of hard work of beard connoisseurs. Photographer Cristopher Benitah was there to capture the show. Held in the newly renovated Kings Theatre, located in the heart of Brooklyn, beardsmen everywhere were invited to be judged on their carefully crafted beards or mustaches. With the location being newly renovated, he didn't have prior access to scope location, so he brought along the Profoto B4 for simplicity. The photographer knew he wanted to create more moody lighting, so he used a Profoto 5.0' RFi Octa Softbox and had an assistant hold a 5’ silver reflector as a fill if more light was needed. And of course, what other camera would you use than the Hasselblad H5D-50c for this glorious event!? 

Benitah told me that he spends a lot of time in post to make the images his own. He likes his images to look more like they were shot on a film camera, and uses Lightroom to help him gain that feel. He said that he usually will make three drastic different looks, and then compare them before deciding over a grade. And because we live in the digital age, he exports in different formats and view them on different devices to make sure the images look good across the board.

I do think that people aren’t spending enough time in the post process. I see all too many out there being too eager to get the photos out on social media, that they take them as is. I also don’t believe any photo is “great right out of camera,” simply for the fact that when you buy a camera you not only buy the camera, but you buy the color the technicians at that company calibrated your camera for. In order to make the image yours, you should spend time in post. But that is a very personal opinion, so I do spend a lot of time with images overall, even after a shoot is launched as it teaches me what I can do different on the next shoot. 

You can follow Benitah on his Instagram, and be sure to check out his website to see the rest of the crazy Beards and Moustaches. I sure do love a good beard. 


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Geoff Bosco's picture

Amazing shots! It's not easy to just grab setups, like that, in an unfamiliar location.

TImothy Tichy's picture

I agree, excellent shots there.

Glen Grant's picture

Love the work.

Oscar Bjarnason's picture

Great stuff

Dan Ostergren's picture

Great shots. I found the photographer's comment "I do think that people aren’t spending enough time in the post process" to be ironic though, because I believe he has over-edited his images.

Adalberto Espriú's picture

interesting subjects always make for good portraits.