March 2021 // The Senior Edition

Creating Dramatic Athlete Portraits | Matt Hernandez

As you can see, I begin with the subject standing in front of the stadium steps. You can see a clear pattern in that photo and the ones to follow: one horizontal, one vertical, then I move a couple steps to my right. Then, I have him sit down and take two more. Again, one horizontal and one vertical. When I move a second time, I ask him to look straight ahead. Since I am beside him now, this gives me more of a profile shot since he’s looking directly into the light. This process will give me a total of eight images without moving the lights at all. On top of that, the subject barely moves. I asked him to vary his poses while holding the ball and his helmet. Other than that, the only thing I asked him to do was sit down or move his head. This setup probably took a total of 2-3 minutes and we were ready to move on. Another note about this particular set up and also a good tip I use in about 75% of my athlete images: you can see that I am using two lights. I can and do work with one light regularly, but if I’m on the field I like to use practical lighting with my second light to mimic the stadium lights. Additionally, I always ask the parent of my client to request that the lights at the field be turned on for my shoots for this reason. It really adds interest to the background, while allowing me to create depth with my edge light. Being friendly with coaches and athletic directors never hurts either, so they are willing to make this happen for you. If all else fails, they are usually happy to help out the kids that play for them.

Settings: f5.6 @ 1/3200 iso 100

Settings: f5.6 @ 1/3200 iso 100

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