Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sportraits - Shannon

I've been in a creative slump lately and decided I needed to break out of it before I stopped shooting altogether (well not that drastic but still needed a spark). With the football season about to start, I decided to look around Flickr for athletic oriented shots and while doing so, I stumbled across some of Joel Grimes' images. I checked out his site a couple of years ago and was in awe of the images he created. I remember thinking that his work with athletes had a magical, surreal type quality. Seeing his images again got me thinking about how much images like these would be valued by the local sports moms and dads that are so used to getting the typical little John or Jane kneeling in front of a football or soccer ball each year. What if I could offer something truly artistic and different from the day-in/day-out team photo sessions that most local sports photo companies sell. I didn't want to copy Joel's style completely but use it as an inspiration to creating my own style of new sports portraits, or "sportraits", as they are aptly named.

Last week I contacted Shannon, a good friend and personal trainer, to model for a test session. Shannon and her family have posed for me several times in the past couple of years so when I asked if she wouldn't mind posing for something "different" as a test, she quickly obliged. Friday evening we met at the Va Beach SportsPlex to try my latest experiment. The resulting images came out fantastic!

There are some adjustments that I will make in the future like using small softboxes for the crosslighting instead of hard direct flash. I actually just placed an order for 3 12"x16" boxes and am also in the process of building a beauty dish for the front lighting. Regardless, I really like these images and am excited to have taken a little inspiration from a great photographer and altered it a bit to make it my own.

For the strobists out there, here is the run down on the basic setup.
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 set at F/5.6 - f/11 depending on the shot.
Key light: Nikon SB900 through a translucent umbrella camera left close about 3 feet from Shannon.
Rim lighting: 2 Nikon SB600s crosslighting from the left and right about 4 feet away and back about 1 foot from Shannon's shoulders. Both were gobo'd with black foam to avoid lens flair.
Speedlight power settings changed throughout the shoot but most shots had the main at 1/4 and the rims at 1/2.

Processing was done in Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, and OnOne Photoessentials.

Model info: If you are looking for a great personal trainer in the Hampton Roads area, look up Shannon. You can contact her and check out her blog at .

Well that is it for today. Have a great week!