KICK BOXER and COACH: Lighting Behind the Scenes

Hi Folks,

How’s it going?

Thanks again for stopping by…I really do appreciate it!

Ok so today as promised I’ve put together a Behind the Scenes look at the lighting set ups I used for a recent Kick Boxer Photo Shoot.

Here goes…

Lighting Set Up 1
Now when it comes to lighting the most important thing for me is not just the How? but the Why?

Of course there are endless ways that we can choose to light a scene but no matter what, the lighting has to make sense and has to fit the environment.

So with this in mind I wanted to create the feel of stadium lighting which is made up of spotlights creating lots of cross shadows and highlights.

kickboxing2

For the picture above I used 3 x Elinchrom RX600’s heads; two fitted with the Reflector and one into a 100cm square square softbox.

The softbox had the outer diffusion panel removed (inner diffuser used only) so as to create a harder light source and this was used to fill in shadows. It was in the ring camera right positioned and above head height of the Boxer (Steve) and Coach (Mike) as you can just about see in the BTS photograph.

The remaining 2 x RX600’s were outside of the ring camera left and camera right aiming into Steve and Mike. My only direction for this shot was for Steve and Mike to keep their backs to the lights and to keep within an imaginary line between the two. Then it was just a case of them doing their thing as I didn’t want to shoot anything stationary and staged because no matter what I think a staged shot always looks like a staged shot.

Of course there were combinations of punches and moves that we repeated over and over to get the angles right, expression and so on but the shots were always timed as opposed to stationary…if that makes sense.

One thing I like to do with this kind of shot is to get the subjects to start off slow and then build up to full speed. This way it helps me to know the positions and pattern of punches but also the more tired they become the more aggression and expression develops.

setup

Lighting Set Up 2
For this shot I ended up using just the two Elinchrom RX600’s with Grids and these were pretty much kept in the same position as in the set up above i.e. either side of Steve and Mike’s position, outside of the ring and facing towards each other. You can just about make out their position in the Behind the Scenes photograph below with the lighting diagram…

kickboxer_coach

•If you missed the post last week where I explained how the picture above varied from what I’d originally intended be sure to check it out HERE

set_up1

For those of you interested in knowing the kit and settings used:

  • Camera: Canon 5D MK III
  • Lens: Canon 24-105mm f/4.0
  • Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/8.0 (for set up 1 the softbox exposure was approximately f/5.6)
  • Lights: Elinchrom RX600’s (discontinued as replaced with the new Elinchrom ELC Pro HD Heads)
  • Light Meter: Sekonic 758

Final Thoughts
It’s so tempting when you’re shooting subjects like this that you want to try lots and lots of scenarios but there are problems with this kind of approach. Personally speaking as a photographer I need to know exactly what my goal is for each shoot and what pictures I want to come away with and having this focus I believe is especially important when working with athletes, fighters and so on…

To come away with pictures that look real, it has to be real…otherwise like I said before they’re going to look staged and fake. So for ‘real’ the subject has to be working and that is going to be tiring for them if the shoot drags on, so whether it’s a personal shoot or a commissioned shoot we’ll know exactly how many pictures we want to come away with. So for example in this shoot we were aiming for 2 pictures which meant just 2 set ups and I think including set up, shoot and packing away we were done in about 1.5 hours.

Right that’s all from me for today so I hope that was useful but as always if you have any questions / comments please feel free to drop me a line to glyn@glyndewis.com or better still leave a comment below so that everyone else sees it too.

Oh and also you can check out larger / better screen quality versions of both these pictures over on my 500px portfolio by CLICKING HERE

Whatever you’re up to today have a good one and I’ll catch you back here next time.
Enjoy,
Glyn

•ps> This coming Wednesday I’ll have a new episode of my weekly show Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom video podcast / show online and will be looking at recording a run through of the retouching process for these pictures. You’ll find the video HERE

The Ultimate Goal is Emotion (Kick Boxer)

Hi Folks

How’s it going?

I must say that at the moment time really does seem to be flying by…more so than normal.

Still, as I’m sat here writing all I can see out of the window is sunshine and a blue sky so all is good:)

Ok so for today I thought I’d share a new picture from a recent Kick Boxer photo shoot that I’m calling FINISH IT!!!

kickboxer_coach

On Monday next week I’ll be posting a run through of the photo shoot showing a look at some of the lighting set ups that I used for this shoot but for now here’s a look at how I originally worked the picture and how it ended up.

During the shoot as you can see from the smaller inset picture, I lit and photographed the scene with the intention of having a full length picture which is why we included such things as the bucket and bottle of water. However it wasn’t until looking through and sorting images in Lightroom after the photo shoot that this one to me screamed out that it needed to have a tighter crop.

In the picture the expression and connection between the boxer Steve and Coach / Trainer Mike I feel is such a powerful one that although working in a full length shot, cropping in tight for me makes it feel so much…does that make sense?

kickboxer_coach2

I guess if there’s any kind of message I’m trying to get across in this post it’s to be flexible to change and also not to just look at the entire scene but instead look for a connection, a feeling, an emotion. This is beginning to sound a little heavy I know but joking aside when all is said and done when it comes to our pictures ultimately we want them to project a story and to make the viewer feel something. This may well mean as in this case that you end up cropping entirely different to what you had planned but if it works…go for it!

Ok so like I said, on Monday I’ll have a Behind the Scenes post for you showing the lighting set up plus any tips and tricks from the shoot.

In the mean time you can check out a larger / better screen quality version of the picture above over my 500px portfolio page by CLICKING HERE

Hope you ‘Like’ it.

Thanks for stopping by,
Have a great weekend and I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Enjoy,
Glyn

  • August 8, 2014 - 7:59 pm

    AndyK - Really like this image – I can’t wait to read how you achieved the look. Its awesome!

  • August 8, 2014 - 8:34 pm

    Michael Glover - This is an amazing shot Glyn! You definitely captured the emotion of the scene. The vertical shot doesn’t really seem to tell the story as strongly as this one does. Your work is truly inspirational! Have a great weekend my friend!

  • August 8, 2014 - 9:14 pm

    Robert Belgrad - Looks great, Glyn. For what it is worth, I prefer the cropped in version for exactly the reason you stated. The top of the coach’s head being cut off is probably not the way I would have gone… but then again, if everyone did things the same way, it would be a very boring world!

    Did you settle on a quote?

  • August 10, 2014 - 9:43 pm

    Jonathan Thompson - Emotion and connection are what image making is all about. Wether it’s between people, animals, food and the viewer or, as Pixar has demonstrated so well, a desk light and the camera.

    Every image we create has to make the viewer feel. Telling the story all by itself, without us explaining it. I think it’s one of the most challenging skills. You can have mastery of light, framing and or post processing skills, but if there’s no emotion, it falls short.

    Great image and story telling Glyn, nicely done mate.

    Cheers

    Jonathan

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:07 pm

    Glyn - Jonathan…Totally agree mate!!!
    Cheers,
    Glyn

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:10 pm

    Glyn - Cheers Robert. Oh and re the quote…I’ll sit with Steve and see what he wants to go for. So many great ones though I don’t think it’ll be easy :)

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Glyn - Michael…Thanks so much for that and it’s great you feel the same as I do about the composition; cheers mate!

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Glyn - Thanks Andy

How to SMASH WINDOWS with Photoshop #58

Hi Everyone

Just to let you know that today I have a new episode of my weekly podcast / show online for you.

In this video I show you a very quick tutorial to create a special effect that makes it look as if windows in buildings are broken / smashed; great for those of you looking to create a scene that has that run down, decayed, grungy kind of feel.

Hope you ‘Like’ it and of course feel free to share as much as you can…I mean want:)

Thanks for looking in,
Glyn

  • August 10, 2014 - 9:58 pm

    Jonathan Thompson - That’s a great tip. More useful for me, not being a huge PS user right now, is how the tool works and adjusting the tolerances within the tool.
    I’ll be scheduling 3 of your free tutorials a week soon, I really want to learn it all.

    Thanks for all the videos Glyn, makes it so much easier to learn.

    Cheers

    Jonathan :)

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:06 pm

    Glyn - Jonathan..Cheers for looking in mate :)

Why the Fuji X-T1 is NOT my Photoshop camera

Hi Folks

Today I just wanted to touch on something about the Fuji X-T1 that I’ve had for the past 3 months.

Ok so to kick off…why did I get it?

Well there’s a few reasons for that and some of them might sound a little WHAT?!?!? to you but remember cameras are a personal thing and what may be suitable for one may not be suitable for another; again for a whole host of reasons.

In short I love my Canon 5D Mk III; the sharpness, speed of AF, colours…the whole nine yards,I love it. HOWEVER what I don’t love (and this goes for all DSLR’s) is the portability…especially when hooked up to the 70-200mm f/2.8 is II.

So I was looking for a camera that could potentially fit in with the kind of work I do AND be great for travel; a big ask I know but I had to find out.

fuji_xt1
Anyway the long and short of it and after speaking with lots of friends who own one I ended up buying the Fuji X-T1 along with the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lenses and a couple of other odds n’ sods. I loved…and still do!

The picture quality is great, I love having controls for such things as exposure compensation, shutter speeds etc all as dials, the retro look and of course the size and weight. Also things I never even considered would be useful and have grown to love is the tilt screen and the EVF (electronic view finder); sure folks love it or hate it but I for one love the EVF and ability to see on display exactly what the exposure will be is a dream.

Travelling with the XT-1 on a recent UK holiday in Devon was wonderful and in fact kick started me into taking a few landscape shots; something I’ve just not been that interested in before but here’s the crazy thing…it’s the EVF / Display that motivated me to give it a try.

Spillers Farm

So is the X-T1 the replacement for ALL I do?
Now I’m going to be writing a more through blog about this at some point and will back it up with more images BUT the long and short of it is…NO and the reason is all in the detail; oh and the inability to tether to my MacBook Pro too but that’s another story.

Those of you who have followed my work for some time will know that I do a lot of compositing work in Photoshop where as much detail as possible in the file is very important to me and it’s for this reason I feel the X-T1 won’t be my total replacement.

In an earlier post I said that the details from the X-T1 was impressive however without back-tracking, after a few months of use I’m finding it’s where there is a lot of detail that the Fuji drops short (in my opinion)

fuji_zoom

Taken at f/8.0 , iso 200 the result appears almost painterly where the high detail areas seem to lack detail / sharpness

As it stands at the moment this is the main reason I can’t use the X-T1 for my compositing work and so will be sticking with the Canon 5D Mk III.

It doesn’t stop there though as I’m still on the hunt for my ultimate camera that has all that I like about the XT-1 (mirror-less, size, weight, tilt screen, EVF) plus what I love about the Canon 5D Mk III (details and sharpness) and there’s one in particular I’m looking at right now so I’ll keep you posted.

In Summary
I totally LOVE the Fuji X-T1 and I know this will sound weird but I can think of no other way to explain it but … I feel it delivers 100% as a camera for Photography but not for Photoshop.

Anyway I’ll leave it there for now but will definitely keep you posted as to what (if any) does end up being my ULTIMATE camera. Maybe we’re not at a stage technology wise where this would be possible but hey..who knows;)

Have a good one and I’ll catch you next time,
Glyn

  • August 4, 2014 - 5:40 am

    Ed Jones - Hmmm… What software are you doing your RAW conversions in. LR and ACR as they currently stand absolutely massacre the fuji files. C1 and iridientdeveloper do a much nicer job. I know exactly how you feel though, and the irony I found was that the jpegs render much better sharpness and detail SOOC than the RAF going through adobes raw software. Don’t write the fuji off yet!

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:14 am

    lorenzo m. - Great article Glyn, very interesting

    The issue with the paintely ‘effect’, somewhat like ‘fractalization’ on fine details is reported by many fuji users (me too), I found that the raw converter softwares nowadays, especially adobe raw engine converter, don’t support very well the xtrans raw files.
    I noticed that with C1 and NoiseNinja the fine details on fuji xtrans raws are rendered much better than ACR, but the issue stays.

    Maybe the most anticipated Fuji X-PRO2 could be the ultimate camera for you

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Lee Gorecki - Glyn you might have seen it but the new Sony A7s is on the horizon. It promises to be what you want. Mirror less little camera that is super powerful but with a price tag that matches. One great thing about the Sony though is with the Sony to canon Metabones adapter you can use all your canon glass with full aperture and focus control. Not so great with Nikon glass (doesn’t get any control over the lenses with the adapter at the moment). But the Zeiss glass that is designed for it is a bit thin on the ground at the moment but they are getting there.

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:27 am

    Glyn - Lorenzo…TBH mate I notice the same in all RAW converters I’ve used so I guess that’s just how it is at the moment. Not a disaster though…it’s a GREAT camera but not suitable for me when working on images that need the fine details to be there. Being unable to tether is also an issue too if I’m honest.

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:28 am

    Glyn - Lee…Sure thing; I’m actually looking at the Sony range at the moment (A7, A7R and A7s) so I’ll keep you posted.
    Cheers, Glyn

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:30 am

    Glyn - Ed…I use Camera RAW, Lightroom and also Capture 1 and the results I get are all the same. It’s a great camera for sure but not one I can use for certain jobs but then a camera for all occasions is a big ask :)

  • August 4, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    David - Glyn,

    Being a Canon 5D III shooter myself, I get the good and bad especially portability, but I also understand what you are saying about the Fuji. Although I don’t personally own it, I do try to keep up with mirrorless camera technology. Mirrorless may one day be the killer of the DSLR, but the technology is not there yet when it comes to killing a 5D III.

    A side note, but relevant to your post: I like the way that you posted in advance that you were doing this post to keep the curiosity up.

    Thanks for sharing the post and all your video tutorials,

    David
    USA

  • August 4, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Riccardo - Thanks for your honesty Glyn, really!
    I own and love my XE-1 that has the exact same “problem”.
    Also, I noticed it is particularly with GREEN details (don’t ask me why, it’s just a lot more evident there).
    I said honesty, because I noticed many photographers just loving the file, for the sake of jumping on the “incredible Fuji quality” wagon, so to speak.
    I still think the overall quality is great and usable with ANY type of assignement but traditional RGB color matrix seems to be the way to go after all. I have seen great quality from Sony Alpha 7r although it lacks a bit on the lens selection. Thank you for your always interest videos.
    Riccardo

  • August 4, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Roberto Palmari - Hi Glyn,
    you got my exact same feeling, I also wanted something lighter than the 5DMkIII and its lenses to carry around and I bought the olympus EM-10 for its compromise between price and performances. I love it, definitely, but just for what concerns my street and travel needs. Its lighter, less “attractive” on the street and, when provided with the right lenses, delivers high quality images.
    The big issue I find though is that anyhow, the RAW files delivered by the 5D (or the D800) are simply much better still.
    I would like to have a medium-format-like quality but in a light and portable body. I didn’t try it myself yet but I think Leica M9 may be the answer to this hunt, but at what cost?

    Ciao,
    Roberto

  • August 4, 2014 - 7:04 pm

    Guy Aubertin - I agree Glyn. Having a camera for all jobs is just not possible. The fuji is great when you need a lighter load. But for maximum quality and speed I look elsewhere. For landscape I look to the Canon or Large Format, possibly the new 645Z. For family days out, the XT fits the bill nicely and keeps up with a running child. Look forward to seeing your next choice :)

  • August 5, 2014 - 11:47 am

    Dave Kai Piper (@DaveKaiPiper) - I too am very much in love with the X-T1 (and pretty much all Fuji x-trans cameras). Your breakdown is very correct in many ways. Personal I use the Fuji very differently to how I use my D800. Most importantly, I use them to shoot different things. The X-T1 is not a replacement but a perfect addition to my gear that gives me more options when shooting. For the size and weight though, the Fuji does an amazing job. Maybe looking at something like the Sigma DP2 or RX1 might be the way forward for you ?

  • August 6, 2014 - 8:21 am
  • August 6, 2014 - 11:19 am

    Steinar Knai - Don’t give up on LR. It evolves all the time and I find that my Nikon files are getting better with each firmware update of LR. The same seems to be happening with Fuji files, if I judge by the comments of people like MingThein and others!
    In the meantime, I am convinced that the Sony A7s is a great alternative for landscape photogs. Check my web site for tests and articles on the Sony A7 line of cameeras.

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:26 am

    Glyn - Steiner…Giving up on LR was never a thought; I’m one of Adobe’s Influencers and on the Pre Release Program. It’s a major part of my workflow and is up to date with the Fuji profiles; the problem with the details is the Fuji :)

    Definitely looking at the Sony you mention too ;)
    Cheers
    Glyn

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    Alan - “Giving up on LR was never a thought; I’m one of Adobe’s Influencers and on the Pre Release Program. It’s a major part of my workflow and is up to date with the Fuji profiles; the problem with the details is the Fuji :)

    Definitely looking at the Sony you mention too ;)
    Cheers
    Glyn”

    No. the problem is the software you’re using.

    If the problem was as you say the Fuji people wouldn’t be getting better results with other software they’d be getting the poor results you’re getting no matter what they used but that isn’t the case and they’re getting better results than you’re getting.

    If you want to stick with Adobe that’s fine and your decision and what you need to do is select a camera which together with an Adobe product gives you a result you’re happy with.

    The problem with the Fuji is that to get the best results you’d have to move away from Adobe and that seems to be something you’re not willing to do.

    Stick to something Adobe processes well.

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:06 pm

    Glyn - Alan…Nope I disagree having worked the same files in capture one and seeing the same results. The Fuji is a great camera but NOT for what I do. The Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony I have used in the past all look and process great in both Adobe and Capture one…but not the Fuji.

    Bottom line is I use what I use because it is ‘fit for purpose’ and if Adobe didn’t do what I wanted / needed or Capture One then I wouldn’t be sticking there; the same goes for camera brands.

    So…I’ll stick with a camera that gives the results ‘I’ need and that is what this post is all about…what ‘I’ want and need…no one else and I was explaining why because some people won’t ‘get it’.

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:29 pm

    Martin Vitek - Hi Glyn,
    only a small sample of comparison screenshots from Lightroom (v5.5) and Iridium (v2.4.4). Only opening without editing (default setting). (X100s)
    http://www.fuuz.cz/wp-content/uploads/X-trans-srovnani-vyvolani.png

  • August 6, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    Martin Vitek - …eh :-O Iridient …of course :-)

  • August 7, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    palinode - It makes sense. Fujifilm makes marvellous cameras, but I’d be surprised if any crop sensor device at a fraction of the price of the 5DIII could deliver the same level of detail. I love my X100s but I don’t pull it out to shoot anything with lots of background foliage (although sometimes it does a fine job – say around 5.6 with a lowish ISO). On the other hand, it’s great for capturing absurd levels of detail in street scenes and studio settings. I don’t expect it to deliver the same kinds of pictures as a 5D or D810, but I’m consistently pleased with the results I get.

  • August 10, 2014 - 6:53 pm

    Bradley - I have Iridient, C1, Aperture, and LR. Although I have the longest relationship with LR I am quite used to all of them. With non-foliage shots I see the biggest difference is not detail on RAF files, but rather acutance which is something they can all adjust to an almost common output. I have seen the green-beast on rare occasion and I shoot a lot of landscapes, but I don’t print really large nor do I spend a lot of time pixel peeping. I love the Fuji rendering, which I understand is a combination of all factors, sensor, glass, and me :)

    FWIW, I hate Adobe’s new licensing (subscription) model and it may drive me to C1 exclusively as the differences otherwise are largely academic in my view.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in an impartial and informative way Glyn!

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    Glyn - Bradley
    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share your findings / thoughts.
    As for being impartial..it’s the only way and like I’ve said before…what suits one may not suit another and that doesn’t make ‘it’ be it a camera, a light etc bad..it just means it’s not suitable for that person.

    Cheers, and thanks again
    Glyn

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    Glyn - Palinode…Yeah I agree…the Fuji is a great camera but a ‘go to for all’ … but then … is any camera? :)

  • August 10, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    Glyn - Thanks for sharing this Martin

  • August 17, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    HF - I used LR before, but got the water-colour effect. Using C1 or PhotoNinja (or Irident) I don’t get the problem. Made a few tests comparing shots with foliage to the OMD EM1 and could not see differences in rendering fine detail using C1 (although LR clearly showed it). Using C1 and downsampling to 12MP, wouldn’t the detail be at least as good as that of the A7s (of course this camera has other benefits)?

  • August 19, 2014 - 10:57 am

    Glyn - Thanks for your comment. FYI I was getting the same water colour effect with C1.

  • September 13, 2014 - 12:17 pm

    Karen - Thanks so much for your post! I’ve just started working a lot more in the composite world after a long run shooting weddings and portraits. I have the 5Diii, 6D, plus all the lenses I could ever need, but I too am looking for that more portable camera. I had a lot of photographer friends recommend the Fuji XT100 but I haven’t been convinced yet, and I’m glad I haven’t purchased yet. My main use was to carry around for background scenes and objects etc that I may later want to use in my composites, without having to cart the big camera with me everywhere.

    I was hesitant with the fuji anyway as my other concern was the size would be smaller and not match in when using 5Diii files for compositing. The Fuji is only 16mp

    I’m interested in which direction you go and what you choose.

    Also wanted to mention, I just found your tutorials on youtube and I’m blown away by the gems that you’ve shared. I’ve learnt so many more tips in your short videos than hours of tutorials from some other trainers. I love that each one your present focuses on a specific area. It’s such a good way for me to learn and solve particular compositing problems I have. Thankyou!

PHOTO WALK: Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre

Hey Folks,

On Saturday 16th August 2014 I’ll be heading down to the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset to spend the afternoon taking photographs that I’ll then be using in new composite image for my ‘Animals‘ project…

monkey_world

Come Join In!!!
As I’ll be there for the day I thought it would be a good opportunity to arrange a social get together and a photo walk so if you fancy coming along for the afternoon taking photographs, chatting and meeting others just BOOK A SPACE and I’ll be able to keep you posted re meeting place, time etc…

(Note: Attendees will need to purchase an admission ticket to enter Monkey World  – £11.25 for Adults)

Competition
As the visit is motivated by creating a new composite image for my ‘Animals’ project I’ll be running a competition for  those of you who come along where you can win a FREE copy of my Photoshop Workbook due for release in December of 2014 and published by Peachpit Press…

gd_book_promo

The competition is to either take a photograph or create a composite image from the day and I’m really excited and honoured that it will be judged by Artist and Animator Aaron Blaise (The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Brother Bear, Bear and the Hare John Lewis Christmas 2013 TV Commercial etc…)

REGISTER HERE and I’ll see you there!

Hope to see you there for a great day,
Glyn

  • August 3, 2014 - 12:29 pm

    Rbelela - Hi Glyn, the composite image needs to be about animals or can be any composite we want?

  • August 4, 2014 - 8:31 am

    Glyn - Rbelela…It would need to be from the visit at Monkey World so yeah animal related.