Friday, December 10, 2010

Triathlete Shoot Part 1| davem photography

Athletic shoots are by far my favorite. A while back I asked if anyone in the Atlanta area would be interested in doing a triathlete type of photo shoot on Twitter. Joshua responded and was very enthusiastic.
I had forgotten that we had friended each other on Facebook and followed each other on Twitter. We had never met. Our only connection was that we were both members of the Atlanta Triathlon Club. I remember reading Joshua's background on his blog and was impressed with his recovery, dedication and commitment to the sport.

We talked about doing a photo shoot and even creating a video that would go into his background and training. We did two shoots, an outdoor and indoor/studio. Joshua had seen my portfolio and wanted some shots on a black background (part 2).

We met out at the Silver Comet, a paved bike path that is very popular with runners and cyclists. We shot early afternoon on a Thursday, so it wasn't too busy. I've got some ideas I want to shoot and they involve shooting on the road and would require additional resources to insure safety. This time around we kept it simple in a controlled and safe environment.

We started out with simple head shots and posed setups.
Then we brought in the bike for some more posed shots.

I have to admit I wasn't too crazy about the environment. It had been a while since I've been to this section of the Silver Comet and didn't realize how much the trees had grown. I really wanted a large area of clear blue sky, but there were only small sections due to the trees. On the other hand, it did help having shade and not shooting in direct sunlight.

Next up, action shots. I used a 70-200 ƒ/2.8 and shot in natural light. I got some great shots right when Joshua came out of the shade and into a patch of sunlight.
This last image is one of my favorites. I really love how the background quickly drops out of focus. I love how the composition in this lends itself to be a magazine cover.

A quick wardrobe change and we shot a couple of running shots. There was only one that I really liked. Running shots are difficult because they can look really awkward. This shot is the only one that I felt looked natural.
I think the key to a good running shot is knowing exactly when to press the shutter. It's something I'm going to have to work at. Since I was using strobes, I couldn't shoot at a high frame rate since the strobe would not have enough time to recycle.

Overall I'm very happy with this shoot. Joshua was going to use these to help gain sponsorship for his 2011 race season. I just found out that he's signed with several sponsors and looks like next year is going to be full of exciting races. I'm not sure if the photos had anything to do with gaining sponsorship, but I hope it helped. Congrats Joshua! Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming season and hopefully seeing you at some of the races.

For those that are interested in the technical aspects of the shoot, diagrams and BTS photos are below.
For the head shots, this is my typical 3 light setup. 580EXII @ 1/1 into a 60" reflective umbrella. A 430EXII & 430EX @ 1/8 with Honl Speed Grids off to the sides and slightly behind the subject.

For the running shots I used the same setup, but switched from a reflective umbrella to a beauty dish.

For the wider posed bike shots I doubled up on flashes in the umbrella. Since I wanted to get a wider shot with the bike, I had to shoot farther away as well as move the light farther from Joshua, which meant I needed more power. Luckily I brought a Super Clamp with me, so it was easy to attach another flash onto the light stand. I think I set both flashes to full power. Since I was only doing a couple shots I wasn't worried about recycle time, plus I had plenty of spare batteries.

As I already mentioned, I'm happy with the way these shots turned out. However, I won't use this location for this type of shoot.

Next blog post are the indoor studio shots. I'm really excited about those. Something about shooting on a black background and the lighting that make these kind of images pop! Stay tuned.

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

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