Lighting for athlete portraits

lighting for athlete potraitsIn the article below, we get a peak inside the brain of Cuarezma, photographer of the World Cup’s US Soccer team. The athlete portraits were taken outdoors, but used a ton of controlled lighting (think 10 soft boxes!) to supplement the natural light.

My favorite part of the article was the sketched notes where he is thinking through how to get the most versatile collection of athlete portraits in a short amount of time. He has it set up to capture 30 athletes in 30 minutes, getting 4 unique shots of each player. By having a white backdrop behind the subject and a black board at a right angle, he was able to get a front shot with a white background and a profile shot with a black background with no change in setup and almost no down time between shots.

It’s always valuable to see how a photographer plans a lighting setup and the final shots side-by-side. By studying the setups in comparison with the resultant light, we’ll be better at visualizing the needed light setups in the studio before moving the lights around.

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Rangefinder – On the Ball: How to Set Up and Light Impactful Sports Shots
Alexis Cuarezma breaks down two of his sports setups—one with the World Cup’s U.S. soccer team and the other with a group of high school stars.

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