March 2021 // The Senior Edition

Creating Dramatic Athlete Portraits | Matt Hernandez

Settings: f5.0 @ 1/6400 iso 200

Now, it’s on to the action shot, which I always save for last. Waiting until the end of the shoot is usually best just in case it doesn’t work out—I always warn the client that it may or may not. Let’s be honest, not every athlete is equal and some can’t pull off crazy action shots. I always try. Once you practice enough, you will know what works and what doesn’t. Again, wide is almost always better for action shots and you have to be careful with your lights so they don’t end up in the frame. This can cause you extra time in post and nobody wants that. Also, keep in mind you will need strobes that are capable of high-speed sync so you can raise your shutter speed high enough to freeze the action, which would be a minimum of 1/1000 second. Do you want to take your athlete photos to the next level? Then you need to be willing to do things like having someone turn on the stadium lights for the shoot, getting out a second light, laying down instead of taking a normal angle, and investing in equipment capable of high-speed sync to freeze action and underexpose the sky with a shallow depth of field during the day. If you are serious about taking photos of athletes, then all of these steps are well worth taking. I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career without them!

Matt is a portrait photographer based in Kentucky who specializes in on-location creative lighting focusing on athletes and seniors. He began his career as an award-winning graphic artist, and has since used those skills to help launch a very successful photography career. He has won multiple awards including the “People’s Choice Award” at the 2012 Google+ Photographer’s Conference, and the “Most Creative Award” at the 2013 Las Vegas Photoshop World Westcott Shootout. He has

represented FJ Westcott since 2013 as one of their “Top Endorsed Pros.” website: instagram: @matthernandez

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