Chris: Freethrows

These images are from a photo shoot I did at the end of the year. The image above is something I have had planned for a while after meeting with a potential client and hearing more about what they were looking for. I’m not sure this is exactly the right direction (for the potential client) but I’m happy with the outcome. My goal was to do something a little less processed but also a little more towards the environmental spectrum of portraits.

Amazingly, it was fairly simple to achieve. I knew I wanted to kill all the ambient light (which for those of you who aren’t photographers or just starting out is the existing light) and just use my lights to create the scene. I wanted to create a spotlight effect as if Chris were the last person in the gym and almost all the lights had been shut off. So, I took a 30 degree grid and put the light just behind the basket about 9 feet up and shot it to hit a few feet in front of Chris. The court acts as sort of a reflector and produces all the front light that I need.

Next, I wanted to have a rim light to separate Chris from the background so I placed another light with a 15 degree grid behind him to hit his back. Initially, I had two lights hitting his back both at 45 degree angles from his back but after taking the initial I forgot that I needed something to light up the basket. So, I placed the rim light directly behind him and then used the last light with a 15 degree grid to light up the basket. I took two shots to get the look that I wanted. The first without the light on the basket and the second with. From that point on, I was dialed in with my lights and the setup and it was a matter of letting Chris go through some different poses to get the exact look I was going for.

In post, I added a some bleachers and lights to give it more of a stadium feel. It’ll be hard to see it on the blog since background color is white. If you go check this image out at and view it in a darker room, you’ll be able to see the faint background elements. I’ve been asked why you have to go through all these hoops to even see the background elements and why don’t I just make them brighter. The fact of the matter is I can’t make the image look good on everybody’s monitors. My monitor is calibrated and for the most part I think people have the brightness way too high on their computers and that makes it difficult to see these “hidden” elements in the image.

I took this shot with my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L at 160th, f/8.0, and ISO 100.

Let me know if you have any questions about this image.

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