Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere


Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich


Lesson Info

Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere

It's always the goal, driving to create as much diversity as we can. So, let's totally switch this up, and let's move. As we sat here and looked at Corey, I could see there was an opportunity to move to the right. Right? There's this cool tunnel where you enter to get in or out of the park or get up to the tower. So, I think what I'd like to do is... Let's actually, Corey, let's shift you over so that you're sort of just in front of this tunnel. So, maybe you're kind of, right, almost on this mark right there. I think, well, I'm gonna have you actually... Let's start you just sitting on the bike, that same... Maybe even squared up. Kind of the shot that Joe went to. You're squared up. And Jeff, let's maybe even shift, we'll just shift this exact lighting setup. So, I was wrong. I said we're bare-head but with a grid in front of it. So we're gonna put the grid... And let's snoot it again, so it's really, we're just putting a kiss of light, like right on his face. We're gonna keep this e...

dge light in the background, separating him. And then, we're gonna put a light in this back hallway. And we brought a secret weapon. We brought a fog machine, and we're gonna see if we can't spit some fog out of that background. You know, I know some questions came in from the online audience, and could we add fog, or could we add some kind of atmosphere, and 100 percent. If we had more time on the action, that's the way you up level it. You figure out your light, and then once you figured out your light, you start adding atmosphere. Of course, you're not gonna do that in an event environment, but if you're doing it just, we're out here doing a shoot. The five of us. We would definitely try some of that. So, let's experiment a little bit. First, let's figure out the light before we start screwing around with the fog machine because worse case scenario, we shoot it without fog. Best case scenario, we get the fog to work. Let's go back on 7200. I will probably sit right here again. And again, this is an Apple Box. Again, this is the Joe McNally trick. Find your spot, and then park yourself there. Okay, that looks cool. I kinda like that square it up. I can see... Corey, what if you scoot your bike like an inch this way? Perfect, that's great. And Brett, when you're ready Cool, no problem. That's great. Okay, so right now, we have three heads. Our lighting shouldn't have changed that much. We're gonna have to check the snoot, so we'll probably... (indistinct) ...got closer to his face so we can get a tighter light, and then I powered down about two and a half stops so we can see kinda where we're at at that point. And that's the beauty of having someone like Jeff with you helping, because that would have just taken half an hour if you're a one man band. Not a half an hour, but it would've taken ten minutes of fooling around and adjusting cinefoil, messing around with exposure, coming up and testing it. I did a couple test pops where I had him look straight ahead and kinda close his eyes. You wanna close your eyes real quick? And then I'll look at the light when it's actually hitting him, so I see that it's on his face. There's some spilling onto his left shoulder. So I might want to snoot down a little bit more, but at this point, I'm gonna let him take a test shot. Cool And see where we're at, and then I'm gonna work Okay with what we've got. Alright, looking at me. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, so that head in the back. Let's either tuck it all the way behind him so it becomes like a true rim. Here we go, here And is that? Yeah, that might work. Is that all the way down, or can we drop that c-stand a little bit? You want lower in height? A little bit lower. Little bit lower would be great. Because eventually, that's gonna create a cool halo back there, and then we'll just get some... Okay, I can go lower than that as well. That's good. It's totally gone. (camera shutter clicks) Cool. Okay. Alright, so I know I said first, we were just gonna check the snoot. I think we need a tiny bit more power. How about a half stop on the snoot? (camera shutter clicks) Okay, backlight didn't fire, but that's okay. Let's actually just see what our snoot's doing. Jeff, I think we could even come up Try one more alright? Okay. It might have... yeah. (camera shutter clicks) As Corey said, I even think it refreshed all the way. It could use a little bit more actually. Yeah, I think a little more. I'm already loving what's happening with that background, with that arched opening. Am I still in a good spot there? Probably moved a little bit. Okay. Okay, great. (camera shutter clicks) Cool, okay. That looks pretty good. Are you gonna come down? I was gonna come down at 10. Cool, come down at 10 if you want, that's cool. Alright, so I'm loving what's happening here. The one thing that I'd love to do is somehow, I wanna see a little separation between his bike. Let's see when we add this edge now. This is looking pretty darn cool. And, Ralph, if you're into it, once we get this light set, I think you should own this one. You're gonna get the hero shot today. Go on and give me a test pot. Okay, here we go. (camera shutter clicks) Do one more. Great. (camera shutter clicks) Oh, right, right, right. So we're not seeing... Okay, hang on. That's starting to look cool You know, should I give you another? Oh, well he can... (camera shutter clicks) What we're doing now Here you go. We're doing some pocket wizardry. This actually, I think, can learn that. You want me to give it a test fire Bly? Give a couple test fires here, too. (camera shutter clicks) Give me a couple more. Okay Just off the Edge fired (camera shutter clicks) Okay, hang on. And backlights firing and edge are firing. So I think the goal, guys, is, of course, we're first getting the light right and then we'll fire off Go ahead now, Corey. Let's see if it's good. Add or subtract. (camera shutter clicks) Fired now. Cool. That looked good. Everything's firing? Yeah. I'm getting a little bit of flare out of that left, the edge, and maybe just spin it a little bit Bly. Yep, there we go. Perfect. Okay, looking right at me, Corey. (camera shutter clicks) Good. So I'm gonna shoot a frame or two Corey. I'm gonna have you move. Actually, let me, I can subtly move. Okay. Great. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, looking right at me. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, let's turn on that hazer. Okay, yeah, come on forward. You knew where that dot was. We're starting to get some pretty cool light there. It's definitely an interesting look. Alright, we're gonna get the hazer going. We'll see this and experiment. Corey, let's have you go right into that spot again. And, what I'm gonna do, I wanna shoot a few frames, and then, I'll let you, maybe for simplicity, I might have you just shoot on this camera. Just so we're not fumbling with cords. Okay, cool. You're looking right at me. I'm making just subtle adjustments. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, let's see. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, I'm switching to vertical just to see what that looks like. It's kinda cool. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, looking right at me. (camera shutter clicks) It's got the fit. Okay, here we go. Alright, you're looking right at me Corey. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Okay, let's kill the hazer. Yup. Sure. Absolutely, which we've done many times. And so, you always want to ask the facility where you're shooting. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, let's see what this does. Cool, that's looking pretty neat. Okay, I'm gonna let you jump in for a few frames. We're just gonna shoot on the Nikon because we're running out of time. Back button, focus. I'll let you own the situation, how you wanna pose him. But I think we have a cool lighting setup, which is the key. And I think what we'll do is kinda turn on the hazer and then kill it intermittently. Just to make sure that we don't have too much or too little haze coming in. Turn it on now? Yup, let's hit it. And I think that was a really good question. It's around, when you're using fog machines, or smoke machines or hazers, you have to be pretty conscientious of, will the fire alarm go off? We did a shoot and I'm not gonna name the location or the client, but we were high up on a mountain and we were using a smoke machine. And we sounded the fire alarm, and all those sprinkler systems, pipes, they filled. And we had to bring the fire marshall out. So, hopefully that won't happen today. That's looking really cool. Cory, can I get you to just take your hands across the bar and do that? And what Jeff's doing in the back, he's dispersing the haze, and there's a lot of nuance to smoke machines and fog machines and hazers for the different consistency of particulate matter in the air or just atmosphere. That looks pretty cool. That's looking really cool. With your head, how you just had your head down, just subtly bring your eyes up more. Sorry, one second. And I think if I'm an editor at Red Bull, this is pretty cool. You get a sense that he's on his bike. It's super dramatic. There's good Red Bull branding. One more like that. (camera shutter clicks) Great. And you have to, yeah, look over there. So that one, you got a little bleed from that. Yeah. Okay. Oh, look. Yeah, there's just this halo behind you. You look like a god of the BMX street world. One more, Corey. Just smiling at me this time. (camera shutter clicks) Okay. So, it looks like our backlight didn't fire on that one. Try one more. So I'm getting the signal that maybe a couple two more frames and then we're gonna wrap this up. Ozzum, thank you. Cool, good job. Those were cool. Those were some great frames. That was really neat. Cool, thank you. Corey, thanks a bunch. That was great. That's a wrap? Yeah, so, I think this was a great example of shooting a portrait. I think we made it through a few different examples. We started with the single light, soft light in a beauty dish. We then added an edge light. I think there was some great interaction, where Cory's feedback was hugely valuable in terms of wardrobe and what he feels comfortable doing, not doing. We switched out beanies. We went from a ball cap to a darker beanie. I think losing his undershirt helped a lot. We got the safe shot, is what we really did, And then we moved into kind of experimenting and taking a little bit of risk. And I think taking that little bit of risk made a super cool photo. I can't wait to look at those more closely. And that was the combination of Jeff put a snoot on this light. Do we have a grid in there or is it just the snoot? So there's a grid in there. So we have a B4 pack, one ProPhoto head with a grid. Is it a 10 degree? It's a 20, and we're about 500 watt seconds. 2500 watt seconds. We have a B1 in the back, which is a mono blockhead, and we're using some cinefoil to make sure we didn't get flare into the lens. And we have the stud of an athlete, Corey Martinez, on his bike, and we made a cool picture.

Class Description

Being an action sports photographer is about more than getting freeze frames of famous athletes. It’s about documenting the experience of people for whom the line between passion and work is blurred. At his or her best, the action photographer tells compelling stories that show us at our most daring, fearless, and adventurous.

Corey Rich is one of the world's leading outdoor adventure and action sports photographers, adept at distilling the essence of extreme action sports and adventure travel and lifestyle.  In addition to documenting extreme sports for Red Bull, Corey has worked for many of the biggest brands in the world.  This is your opportunity to follow Corey as he prepares for a shoot on location, and learn how he evokes powerful brand stories like those he has made for Red Bull. 

Join us for this live class, and you will learn:

  • How to work with a client, and shoot with their brand in mind
  • How to prepare yourself and your gear for a shoot in an extreme environment
  • How to take photos of extreme sports pros, and work with variable light conditions

This class will stream live from the location of the shoot in Lake Tahoe. Corey will be shooting Red Bull athletes as they perform at Ski Mountain Terrain Park and at a nearby BMX park. There will also be a live session from a Tahoe cabin to discuss photo theory and Corey’s experience of building his photo practice and working for Red Bull. 


1Class Introduction
2What Makes A Great Action Photo
3Conceptualize the Shoot
4Research Location / Wardrobe / Props for Action Shoot
5Safety Tips for Action Photographers
6What Gear Do I Need? Packing and Prep
7Workflow and Asset Management
8Ingesting and Organizing Files
9Editing Down Your Selects
10Post Processing Overview
11Working with Clients to Select Finals
12Retouching & Post Processing: Image 1
13Retouching & Post Processing: Image 2
14Retouching & Post Processing: Image 3
15Final Client Delivery
16Introduction to Snow Athletes
17Setting up the Shot: Using Natural Light
18Getting that First Action Shot: Snow Park
19Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park
20Capturing Variation of Snow Park Action Shot
21Refining the Snow Park Action Shot
22Action Shot with Strobes Overview
23Shoot: Action Shot with Strobes
24How to Light Using Strobes
25Action Shoot: Snow Park with Strobes
26Refining the Snow Park Action Shoot: Using Strobes
27Capturing Variation with Snow Park Athletes
28Capturing Portraits: Snowboarder
29Capturing Portrait: Skier
30Shoot: Feature Jump Action Shot Afternoon Natural Light
31Introduction to Today's Shoot
32Building a Rapport with the Athlete: BMX Rider
33Scouting Location for Action Shot: Indoor BMX Park & Natural Light
34Getting the First Action Shot: BMX
35Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX
36Prepping Gear & Refining the Action Shot: BMX
37Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Natural Light
38Setting up Remote Cameras
39Capturing BMX Action Shots: Remote Cameras
40Conceptualizing the Shot: Using Strobes in Indoor BMX Park
41Lighting with Strobes: Indoor BMX Park
42Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Strobes
43Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete
44Shoot High Angle Action Shot: BMX Rider
45Directing an Athlete Portrait: Indoors
46Lighting a Portrait: Indoor BMX Athlete
47Portrait Demo: Indoors BMX Athlete
48Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere
49Transmitting Live from the Field
50Panel Q&A