I've lost a few pounds since the beginning of the year and I'm becoming a bit more comfortable on the other side of the camera. Since I love creating edgy sports portraits and don't currently have a lot of models at my disposal, I decided to give a self-portrait a try. For this type of shot, I usually go to a beauty dish as the main light. This instance was no different. The beauty dish provides punch and contrast in the lighting. I used a grid on the beauty dish to help minimize the spilling of light onto the floor and background. In this case, the background/floor was white paper. White paper is pretty reflective as you can see from the photo. I placed the beauty dish slightly above my head, angled down. The closeness of the dish provides for decent lighting on my face and upper body while also providing a pretty good fall off from light to shadow below my waist. To camera left, I used a gridded strip box to provide the accent lighting on the right side of my face, forearm, abdomen, and front of my shorts. The other light used was fitted with a snoot to provided the concentrated circle of light on the background behind me.
Daniel now has some soccer gear and the sky was moody enough for a soccer shoot. I wanted to re-create a shot I posted earlier where he was wearing jeans and a coat. I packed up my equipment and the whole family went to the soccer fields. My wife and Daniel got a different kind of shooting practice in while I set up. Once I was ready to go, this was maybe the first or second shot I took. I used pretty much the same lighting setup as my previous shoot, but I removed the diffusion material off of the strip boxes of the two lights providing the edge lighting. This gave the edge lighting a bit more punch. Unfortunately, the portable battery unit I was using to power my lights didn't have much juice...lesson learned. Make sure you FULLY charge your batteries before you go out shooting. Luckily, this wasn't a paid gig. My son was really happy that he didn't have to keep posing for me, so my bad luck worked to his benefit. He got some extra play time and despite my frustration, I took the opportunity to play goalie for a while.
Soccer season for my son has began. I took this shot indoors with a black collapsible background and a 53" octa softbox.
I think the new features in Lightroom 4 are worth the $79 upgrade price.
As someone who enjoys admiring a good photograph, I have always been a fan of photos that have a lot of contrast and detail. I am also a fan of sports and of photographs that portray athletes as strong, larger-than-life characters. This is true for me whether the athletes being photographed are professionals making millions of dollars or 7 year-olds just learning the basics of their sport. My son will soon be the latter of the two as he begins his young career as a soccer star. Although he doesn't yet have his uniform, cleats, or shin guards, he has a ball. That would do just fine for his first soccer portrait.
Prior to actually setting up and taking photographs of my son, I already had an idea of what I wanted from the shoot. I knew the shoot would have to take place at one of the local soccer fields near our home. I knew that I wanted to capture the soccer net in the background. I knew I wanted the lighting I used to place the focus on my son and not on the surroundings. The lighting would have to be a bit edgy to separate my son from the background and to help give him a strong, confident appearance.
Below is one of the better shots from the shoot. I used two strip lights with eggcrate grids behind my son on either side. These were used as edge lights that provided highlights on his face and the edges of his coat and jeans. I used a beauty dish with some diffusion material slightly above his head and directed downward for fill light. I took the shot with a relatively short focal length of 24mm and a shutter speed of 1/100s. The aperture was set to f/8. I shot from a low camera position to emphasize his stature adding to the larger-than-life effect. The shutter speed was not particularly fast, but since the shot was taken near dusk the ambient light level was pretty low. This limited the light intensity of the background.
The only things added to the shot through editing were spot removal of a couple of stray leaves on the field and some detail enhancement mainly in the creases of my son's coat. I added a little detail enhancement of the soccer net as well.