High School Football Portraits

© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I’ll admit it. I used to hate my speedlights. The first one I bought sat in my camera bag for 6 months before I even turned it on for the first time. I didn’t understand how to use it, when I should use it or what it was capable of. I got over my hatred but only after a lot of experimentation and studying the work of other news and editorial photographers. Once I understood what could be accomplished using speedlights, modifiers and a solid knowledge of lighting, I never approached a portrait the same way again.

Click through for to learn about how the picture above was made.

The portrait above was created using one of my favorite photographic tricks. Believe it or not, that is almost exactly how it looked in camera. I set my camera to incandescent white balance and then gelled all my strobes with full color temperature orange to correct it. Using an incandescent white balance outside produces a blue color cast to the light. I underexposed the background and used my strobes to fill in the shadows and shape the light around the subject. I used 3 Nikon SB-80Dx speedlights, Pocket Wizard Plus 2 transmitters and a variety of light modifiers. (Check out David Honl’s light modifiers).

Special thanks to the sports page designers. It is one of the only places in the paper that still runs photos 4 columns wide. Here is what the final page looked like.

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