July continues to be a busy month, and the next shoot on the list was a follow-up to the Wrestling shoot I did in April, however this time rather than shooting the wrestling bouts as I’d done for Ultimate British Wrestling before I was asked to do a formal portrait shoot to promote UBW and the wrestlers’ individual careers.
Getting all of the wrestlers into one place, at one time, with all of their various outfits and props meant shooting at my usual venues simply wasn’t going to be an option, so because I can travel with my kit I arranged to come to their weekly training session in a local gym and to do the shoot there. Working in a gym reminded me of the shoot I did for Studio 180 in Letchworth (see those images here) and gave me plenty of space, as well as easy access to weights to keep the light stands secure!
The main part of my brief was to make sure that the images could be used for both printed and on-line promotional materials, so I had a very clear picture of what I needed to do, and knew how to achieve it; The first thing I did was to set up a plain black background, that could be used as a non-distracting background in it’s own right, but could would also be easy to cut-out when the images were used in desktop publishing. The second thing was to set-up the lighting. For this shoot I knew exactly the lighting set-up to use and used a set of three lights to create the strong highlights on each side of the subject’s face and body, and third light mounted high up as a key light.
For each of the wrestlers I’d been asked to shoot; a profile shot, some general shots and something specific to the wrestler’s individual character. Using the profile and general shots as a way to get everyone warmed-up and used to the lights and posing for me worked really well. It helped everyone relax and gave me a few minutes one-on-one time to get a feel for each person’s character and how they moved. What surprised me about this shoot was how well everyone took direction, and how conscious the wrestlers were of their own bodies and poses.
My contact at UBW Moz, did a great job of getting everyone lined-up ready to go so the shooting went really quickly, with no unnecessary hanging around for either myself or the wrestlers. Moz also really helped out when it was time to pack-up by finding a host of willing hands to help carry my kit back to the car.
At the end of the portrait shoot, I was asked if I could do some team photos for Moz’s wrestling team the “Dogs of War”. With 5 in the team the set-up I’d used f or the individual shots wasn’t going to be large enough so I made use of the facilities in the gym and asked everyone to climb into the boxing ring. Here I set-up a series of group poses based on my standard “Reservoir Dogs” and “bridesmaids in-a-line” shots I use at weddings. Working within the relatively tight constraints of the boxing ring, and with fading evening light created a few challenges, however the work I’d done on shooting in poor light earlier in the year came into play and let me make good use of the ring and back wall of the gym for a suitable backdrop.
After the shoot, the final stage of the process was of course to post process the images. As always I wanted to post-process every image individually to get the very best from, but I needed to ensure that all of the images had a consistent look and that the colours, brightness and tones were all consistent since these images will be seen as a set. Fortunately Light Room and PhotoShop provided all the tools I needed, and allowed me to process the 90 final images into a consistent set of both colour and black and white shots ready for use.
The lighting, set and processing I use for this shoot produced some really dynamic strong images were ideal for sports portraits, but would also work well for theatrical portraits. If you’d like me to shoot your team or cast, or for some personal portraits with a difference why not contact me using the contact form (here).