Sports Lifestyle: Running

About a month ago I was asked to do a test for a company and I posted some of the images that I submitted. You can find the old post here. That post goes into detail about some other things but you can see the images that were sent in. The company has some pretty strict guidelines on how they want their images processed and exactly what you can do with them.

Since then, I’ve been wanting to go back and rework the images on how I normally would and get them ready to be uploaded to a lifestyle section of my website (hopefully that will be added in the next month or so depending on how many more tests I can fit in). When I was running through the images, I came across one that I didn’t process but actually really liked. I processed the image sent it to the model and her agency and both were really happy with the outcome. Once again, I’ll be breaking down this image to give you all an idea of how I worked from start to finish.

Here’s the before and after:

Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, 43mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO 1600

The whole concept behind this shoot was to capture running shots around Portland. Because we were doing a bunch of running around and there was a ton of ambient light, I shot it all natural. Using a light would have been super difficult to completely stop the motion for a few reasons. The Sync Speed of the 5d Mark II is a measly 1/200th of a second. Now, that’s fine when I’m shooting in a studio environment where there’s really not much ambient light, but outside you’ll get some blur. The issue with that is I wanted tack sharp images because these photos are all about showing off the companies logo. I might of been able to get away with f/4.0 and then dropping down the ISO to 800 (I really don’t like shooting over ISO 800). At the moment, there aren’t any programs out that can help add depth of field but there are noise reduction programs. Because of that, I always know that I would rather push the ISO than mess with the aperture.

Running shots (at least in my experience) are really all about putting it on continuous mode and grabbing as many frames as you can so you can get a nice stride in the shot. In an ideal world, I would be shooting with a Canon 1d Mark IV where I can spit out 10 fps but once again I had to deal with one of the 5ds shortcomings of 3.9 fps. That’s alright though, I just had Lauren run past me a couple of times and panned with her to get her at different positions in the frame and in her stride.

Taking this into post, I knew I wanted to warm the image up but not go anywhere near as warm as I did with the images that I sent off. So I brought up the warmth in Lightroom just a bit. The second thing I knew I wanted to do was to create a starburst to make it look like the sun was poking through the railroad tracks. Before I go any further, realize that the light (and when I say light I mean the sun) is coming from that direction. If you look at the first image you can see the the right side of her body has highlights whereas her left side is covered in shadows. This is VERY important because I’m not trying to create anything unnatural. Yes, a fake sun is unnatural but I’m not trying to make the light look like it’s coming from somewhere that its actually not.

My trick for starburst is a few months ago I shot a bunch of photos directly at one of my speedlites at various angles to get different starbursts. I shot it on a black background so that when I brought them into Photoshop I could use the screen blend mode (or maybe multiply, I never can remember off the top of my head which gets rid of black tones) and thus all that is left is a starburst. Then, to make it blend into the image a little better, I added two circular white gradients (one small and one large) that produces what looks like flair.

The rest of the image is super simple. Just a bunch of dodging and burning. I did a lot of dodging on Lauren’s right side to really pull of the affect of the starburst and then did some burning to add contrast to images. One thing I’m a big fan of in all of my sports photography is dodging and burning the athletes muscles. It really helps tone the athlete. And that’s it for the post work.

The great thing for me about starting to branch into lifestyle work is the fact that the post processing is much much simpler. I’m used to working on my Sportraits for a minimum of a couple of hours. This photo probably took 30 minutes just to get the blending of the starburst to look natural, as well as, to get the dodging and burning right where I liked. As long as I don’t have to add any elements (like I did in this image) the process really is all about color correcting, simple edits in Lightroom and then dodging and burning. Definitely something that I can live with!

That’s another image breakdown and I hoped you liked seeing something a little different this time. On Friday, I’ll be posting a series of photos that I took this past weekend. The location, the lighting, and the model just all worked perfectly and the photos are some of my favorite that I’ve taken. That post will just be a rundown of (I think) six images that I processed out of that set. I want to get the entire series posted on the blog because I’m not going to be able to post all of them onto my website. It just doesn’t make sense to have 6 images from the exact same location, with the exact same lighting to all be showcased.

Next week, I’ll post a breakdown of one of those photos so you can get an idea of how I created that image. Until then, you can stop by the website or the FB Fan Page if you’re a little anxious to see some of those photos (a few have already been posted). Thanks for stopping by!

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