Last week we ran our latest selection of All-Area athletes featuring Chandler Harris, Andrew Stock, Reggie Huff, J’Kyra Brown, and Terrill Hilliard. These are a ball to shoot, so today I’m going to give you a behind the scenes look. First off, I want to thank everyone who has worked with us on this series, from the coaches who let me take over half the gym during practice, to the Harrison YMCA for letting us use their pool for our swimmers, and, of course, the cooperation of our athletes.
Each session lasted about an hour. We did a variety of setups, each one requiring a new lighting set up giving the kids a little downtime. I teased the athletes at the beginning of the shoots to enjoy these moments, as I will be running them hard. Most of them just chuckled or rolled their eyes good-naturedly, not realizing how true that statement would be. You see, my main image is generally a more traditional portrait, while the secondary tends to be ‘action’ based.
These are all staged, which means that I can have the athlete repeat an action, whether it’s swimming a specific stroke or dunking the ball repeatedly, until I’m confident I have the shot that I want. I always told the students that they just needed to give me a heads up if they got tired. Again, they didn’t believe that a photographer could tire them out as much as their coaches. Of course, they were wrong.
By the end of our session, Andrew and Terrill both expressed dismay at how tired out they were. Terrill must’ve dunked that ball well over half a dozen times within 15 minutes, on top of running several drills. I’ve included an extra shot that didn’t run to show how we played with expression and body position within the frame, making the repetition a necessity. Andrew did repeated take-offs, then the backstroke for the length of the pool several times, and then several push-offs to round out the shoot. Everyone was a great sport and hopefully they had as good a time as I did.
It’s can be challenging to work within a confined space and coming up with complimenting but distinctively different images. For our wrestler Reggie Huff, we focused on the vibrant colors on the floors, walls, and mat to make our images pop.
As for Chandler, here’s an example of how a little detail can make a big difference within a photo. We were shooting the main portrait and I wasn’t happy with how clean the image looked. So I had her wet her goggles and slip them on over her swim cap, so water droplets would be on her cap, goggles, and the sides of her face. To me, this makes the image work.
J’Kyra was a pleasure to work with. I wanted to show her confidence, and how she dominates her surroundings in the gym, and I really wanted something a little more serious. She’s a very smiley young lady, and anytime I asked for her ‘game face’ she struggled not to break into giggles, however we did get the shot. We did make sure to run a picture showing her bright personality as well, so as to not be too serious.
To see the photos larger, you can click on any of the photos and they will open in a new window.