Color, oil, and suit choices
Now that I'm also sitting on the judge's side of the table, I just want to comment on what a difference proper color and oil application and suit choice can make during the judging process.
Don't come on stage with just a tan. It's too light; your definition will not stand out enough during the comparisons. One male and one female at the last show I judged both would have had higher placement (the woman would have won the overall) if they had applied color. If this had been a larger show, we probably would have been less lenient (I was looking really hard for their definition) and would have passed them over completely. YOU MUST APPLY COLOR AND NOT RELY ON A TAN!
Apply the color evenly; splotchy color detracts from your definition and overall appearance. You took a lot of time dieting down for the show; take the time to properly apply your color. And that includes your face; if you aren't detailed enough to do it right yourself, have someone else apply it for you, and make sure they are detailed, perfectionist type people. A couple competitors were placed lower due to the poor application of their color; it was just too hard to see their proper definition.
Use a light hand with the oil; too much oil it acts like a mirror under the lights. You can't tell if competitors are defined because the light is reflecting off all the oil.
Don't put oil on top of Dream Tan; it has reflective specks in it already, and the oil will make it streak and drip off you. In one of the close classes at this last show, the competitor who had Dream Tan streaking off him was given second; he might have taken first if he'd not applied the oil. Streaking color is a big detraction from your physique.
Men - in another of the close classes, one of the top two men had on red crushed velvet posing trunks; the crushed velvet is very attractive and draws your eye to it. Several of the judges commented on his posing trunks after the pre-judging, and I believe it made the difference in his placement (1st and Overall), because he stood out and the judges paid a little more attention to him. If you are going to be in a close class and want to stand out, check out the crushed velvet posing trunks.
Women - if it's your first show and you don't want to buy a competition suit, choose a suit with bottoms that don't tie at the sides. The ties are distracting and make the suit look like the swimming suit it is; not a competition suit. Try to buy a suit that looks as close to a competition suit as possible
I've also been asked recently if it's necessary to have different suits for pre-judging and the evening show. We see so many competitors throughout the day, I honestly don't remember what a competitor was wearing during the morning. Plus, in NABBA at least, the placement of the competitors is determined during prejudging; unless you're up for an overall, your appearance modifications are only for the audience, not for the judges. I think it's nice for competitors to jazz it up a little bit for the evening show because it better helps entertain the audience, but if you don't have the money to invest in multiple suits, don't worry about it impacting your placement.
I chose not to use oil and instead went with the Dream Tan II. I thought this looked much nicer up close and on stage. It evened out the protan which tend to look discolored in some spots. It also didn't shine like Pam or posing oil and gave off a much nicer appearance IMO!
I also heard and saw first-hand that darker color posing and competition suits look MUCH nicer than lighter colors. The lighter calls lit up like a neon sign and complety washed out the physiques and the nice tan color they had.
One may want to experiment with their tanner in advance, as some people experience a green tone due to the chemicals in their skin.
I used Pam, sparingly, and it worked wonderfully. People tend to go overboard on the oil, and as JJFigure pointed out- it can work against them.
Another thing to consider for Figure is your shoes. Most competitors opt for clear as not to distract from their physique. Also a nice heel will accentuante your curves even further. Just be sure to practice walking around in them beforehand. Heels are a challenge for some and even more so on an oil slicked stage.
I think the different light sources are worth mentioning.
Often times, a competitor has to travel and that means having to stay at a hotel. The bathroom mirror will be the primary visual aid in those final minutes leading up to a show. Most hotel bathrooms lights are very garrish and can be deceiving.
Make sure you're constantly checking yourself while standing under a variety of light sources, if you can. Early morning light is more blue tone. As the day progresses, the light turns towards a golden orange.
If you have a companion with a really good eye and trust their opinion; use them - try not to use the mirror if you can. Stand by a window, in a hallway, etc. I do this the day before as I'm applying those last layers of skin color. My bf has a very good eye for detail...thank god.