Thursday, July 15, 2010

Athletic Shoot | davem photography

Feels like forever since I posted anything. Took some time off to head down to Florida and have stepped up my training for my triathlons. Completed one last month and got hooked and I'm planning on 3 more before the end of the year.

Really excited about this shoot and the results surprised me considering what I had to deal with. I'll go into more detail in the next post. I was contacted by Christie to shoot some updated photos for her portfolio. We only had a window of a couple days because she had just accepted a job and was moving to Virginia.
Christie is a fitness instructor and has done some fitness modeling. Last year she was working for the Army as a fitness instructor and now she was heading up to Virginia to train Marines. That's right, she's being hired to whip Marines into shape.

The athletic shoots have been a personal project of mine. I don't know what it is about these kind of shots, but I really enjoy doing them. I think I was drawn to them after seeing an ad and really loved the dramatic lighting. I also have a great deal of respect for the dedication in time and training athletes devote themselves to be at their very best. As someone who is training for triathlons, I know it isn't easy.
I called these "Hero" shots and I don't think I coined the term, but I think it accurately describes the look and feel. The image above is my favorite from that day.

The images were shot with one speedlite using a DIY Beauty Dish. We met at 8am, hoping to beat the heat as it was projected to get into the mid 90's by noon. It was a clear blue sky and hardly a cloud in the sky. Light was harsh and the sun was at Christie's back. There was no way I was going to underexpose the sky with one speedlite. However, I could use the light as a fill and use the sun to create that nice hard rim light that I would normally use with another speedlite. I shot most of these on a tripod and then shot several of just the background so that I could later use in post production. I also dropped in the clouds from a shot I took the day before.

We started the day with some basic fitness shots. No lights, just natural light on the track.

Once it started getting warm, we moved under the stadium to keep cool. You'll see a recurring setup in these compositions. I like to use lines in the environment to lead you to the subject and point of interest.

I located a concrete wall that we could use as a backdrop for some low key lighting. I was going to use a 3 light setup. 2 Lights from behind and to the sides with grids for a hard rim light. Unfortunately I ran into some technical issues. They would not fire. I later found out that because I had upgraded my firmware on the PocketWizard MiniTT1, the settings had changed and would not trigger non-TTL (Plus II) radio triggers. I've since have made the correction in the software. Just goes to show you, you need to check your gear before each shoot.

The technical issues did not prevent me from shooting some great images. I was still able to get some nice dramatic images and I really like the low key lighting even without the other two lights.

We did one last setup outside in the shade of a building. This was for a more relaxed look and some head shots.

Christie was fantastic and pleasant to work with in the heat. I really enjoyed this shoot and even more when I went to process the images. Took me a lot longer than usual to process the composite images, but I love the way they turned out. I'm also pleased that we were able to get so many different setups from one location.

Although this is a personal project, it's one I'd love to shoot more of. If you're a student athlete or know someone that is and want to get some great images that are outside of the normal senior portraits, please contact me.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

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