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Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 6 of 33

Clamshell Light Outdoor Portrait

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

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Lesson Info

6. Clamshell Light Outdoor Portrait

Lesson Info

Clamshell Light Outdoor Portrait

So, we're gonna do another two-light setup now, with our new athlete here, KB. He's gonna be sitting in. We're gonna do a couple headshots with a clamshell-type lighting. One up, and one down. Clamshells are traditionally used in beauty, but, we're gonna use it for sports today. The main light's gonna be above right now and that's gonna be our key. It's gonna be the brightest part. It's gonna almost create some sort of shadows on his eyes and we're gonna fill it in with a little bit with the, with the bottom light to create something looking a little bit differently, so. Ah, Let's see here. So right now, my settings are at 200th of a second, at 5. and 100 ISO. I'm using a 24-70 lens. So yeah, I just want you to just sit there for a second. I'm just gonna get a good overall exposure of what we've got. We're using a beauty dish, really high and overhead. We can actually come up just, or come in just a little bit more to create more of a shadow. We're almost directly above. It's really hi...

gh, overhead lighting, which usually is never really good but once we add in that bottom light, it's gonna look really nice, I think. We're using a grid right now on it, a 30 degree grid, which is really gonna like, create sort of an archway around him, and kind of shape out and make it look interesting and draw all the attention to KB here. So, I'm gonna try without the bottom light first, to show you how the differences look between the two. So we're just gonna take one straight-on right here. And all I want you to do, KB, is just kinda, stare at me, kinda almost give me a game face, as I take this picture, and I'll kinda coach you along. That's perfect right now, though. (camera shutter clicks) That pop? Right there? Yes! Great! (camera shutter clicks) Absolutely perfect. Couple more. (camera shutter clicks) Check that really fast. Great. So I want you to drop your chin just a little bit. There you go. Kinda come forward. Almost lean in, just a little bit. Yeah, there you go. (camera shutter clicks) Good. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Great. Let me check this out really fast. Cool. We have a hotspot on his forehead. Ah, okay, so right now we have a really overhead light. The shadow is really collecting down here, and now we're gonna fill it in just a little bit. We're not gonna put it too high. It's gonna be, I think, the top is at, a seven out of ten, on the power scale up there. And we're gonna put the bottom one at about a 3.5, with a softer beauty box with no grid on it, so it just sorta goes a little bit everywhere. It's gonna take a little bit of the outside shadow away, but, I think it'll still look nice and it'll still kinda have that dramatic feel to it. Alright, so we're at three five at the bottom? Cool. Let's add that in. I'm still at 200th of a second at 5. and 100 ISO. Still on a 24-70 and in the exact same spot I shot the last shot with just the one light. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Great. Just right there is perfect. Let me look at the differences between the two. It added a little bit more light underneath the chin, which is great. It's exactly what we wanted. I think I want to straighten it out just a little bit more over to the right, and then, if you can, maybe even tilt it up a little higher, to really shoot it under. A lot of times, I'm shooting light from underneath. It's very unflattering, but, if you're using one from the top and the bottom, it can really equal it out and look really nice. Alright. Let's go again. Same spot. (camera shutter clicks) Ahh, can we flip off that light really quick again? So we can have a difference, really fast? Good. (camera shutter clicks) So right now, we're having a little bit of light on top of his head. So we got a little shine on his forehead. We just want to pull it off, a little bit. So we might even, we might even have you lean back just a little bit. Here you go, there. And then we'll pull this just a little more forward so we can hit a little bit more on the front. And we'll feather it off just a little bit to take away the hotspot from the top of his head. Okay. Let's see really fast. (camera shutter clicks) There you go. Ah, lean back in towards me. We'll see if that... Not so far, a little bit back. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Great. (camera shutter clicks) We'll see here really fast. Okay, turn on the light now. Let's jump it up to 4 really fast. I'm sorry. K. Here we go. Now let's go, same shot. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Okay, I'm gonna turn off all lights. (camera shutter clicks) Do one without 'em. Okay, so now we have our two-light setup. It filled in all the shadows that we needed to. It's not giving him weird, overhead shadows. We're gonna do it even more though, now. So we're gonna take this light, put it straight over his head now, use the grate as a background. We're gonna have him step out a few feet. We're gonna light from overhead with a grid, so it creates a nice shape behind on top of the grid, and gets a little dark around it, so it'll really draw in your attention towards KB, our athlete, here. But, what we also want to do that is light up his hair a little bit, too, so it separates from the background. And then we're gonna fill in from the front with another, with another beauty box. Come a little bit over this way. Right there. Perfect. Great. Let me do a test shot. Actually, look off that way while I'm doing this test shot. (camera shutter clicks) Great. Check that. I'm gonna give it a little bit less of my aperture. (camera shutter clicks) Ah, so our light's changed a lot. So now, my original shot is not necessarily working because the front light from all the spill of the sun that's just out of the shadow way, is actually filling too much on our subject. It looks really nice, but, we want to utilize that second box on the bottom, because we want our light to show, and not necessarily this light. So what we're gonna do is switch the lights into HyperSync so we can bring up the exposure a lot higher, and then, we can control the lighting ourselves, and not really rely on what's around us. So, that's what we're doing right now. Cool, drop it just a little bit more. What's the power on it? Six. K. Bet you will need a little bit more but, Do you want more? I don't know yet. Yeah, a little bit more. Let's go up to, let's go to 8. See what that looks like. Okay. K, ready. 1, 2, and 3. (camera shutter clicks) Good. 1, 2, 3. Good. (camera shutter clicks) I'm gonna see this really fast. Top one didn't fire. Let's pull back just a little bit, Caleb, this way. There you go. I want you to kinda like, pull your shoulders forward, just a little bit, and kinda chin down a little bit, too. Good. The top wouldn't fire last time? Yep. Eyes right at me. Great. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) See this? Nice. Very dramatic. Okay, so this is, I want you to kinda give me a little three quarter turn now, instead of that. Then, yep. There you go. There. Now I want you to (camera shutter clicks) Oops, sorry. One more. (camera shutter clicks) Didn't fire? Yep. (camera shutter clicks) Look off this way. Perfect. Little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) Good. Let's go ahead and sit, on the edge. Yep. Cool. I like the lean forward, almost, like, how you kinda were, like, leaning on your leg a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There ya go. Good. Yeah. Lower the light down. So we're lowering the light down so we get the same consistent lighting as we had from before. So we're keeping the same distance. If we wouldn't have done that, we would lose a little bit of stops on light. Ah, so, we drop it down according to how he was. So yeah, he just naturally moved into a good, natural pose, which he started to lean forward as he sat down, and sometimes, that's just the best thing to do, is let them move naturally, and see how you can actually utilize their bodies to make the best picture for them. And not put them in an awkward pose. (laughs) Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) Good. (camera shutter clicks) Go ahead and set it down on the side there, and you can still have your hand there, kinda on it. Like, yeah. Just off to the side there. (camera shutter clicks) Check this really fast. Let's bring up the light a little bit. It's hitting the legs too much. Let's try to feather up to his face. (camera shutter clicks) See here. Okay. So now I want Caleb to almost bring it up like, right below where my camera's gonna be at. So we're gonna go a little bit more straighter. We're still using a bottom level light. Alright, right about there. Yep. Perfect. Still coming from there. Look right at me. Great. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Bring the ball in to your, in between your legs and kinda play with it in your hands. Yeah, think about that, and not necessarily staring at me. There ya go. (camera shutter clicks) Check that really fast. It needs a little bit more light, on the front, and on the bottom. Yep. Actually, I like it off to the side. Let's do that again. Doesn't have to be so far that way. I brought you up a stop right now. Okay, cool. Breathe down just a tad. There ya go. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Great. So my settings currently are at at 1600, 3.2, ISO 100. Right now, we're just dialing in, and trying to mix what we have up there while overpowering this now, like, full sun that we have in the background. And uh, still giving a nice fill to K-, KB's face there. Almost called you KJ. That's Kevin Johnson, from the 90's. That's great. So, I'm gonna move a little bit. I'm gonna come over, oh, I can't really move too much. I'm just gonna come over at a slight angle. Actually, I'm gonna switch you, Ken. Just stay right there. I'm gonna shoot down this line and see a little bit more brick now. I want Caleb to come bring that same light, at the same angle. It's okay, Caleb. We could just, I'm gonna cut it right about here. So I'm not going too far. I'm shooting pretty tight. I'm just looking for another angle. Let's go still on this side, right here. Just like, right about here. So we're just lookin' for that overhead. I still want you to lean in a little bit. Yeah. There ya go. I mean, you can kinda even lean in and look forward. Don't necessarily think about me, here. Yeah, there ya go. Let's switch the ball to the other side. Perfect. Um. You know what? If we could, actually, if you could, bring that just two... one foot this way. That'd be great. You okay? KB, jump outta the way. (laughs) It's a challenge. (surprised sound) And then, try to get it back again, as far as you can, to the wall. Cuz we're trying not hit his forehead, so there. Okay. And then... If we are trying not to hit his forehead, we gotta move it this way. Oh yeah, cuz it will be (inaudible) a little bit. Okay, push back. As far as you can. Actually, now we can shoot this way, since we're, aw, it doesn't matter. We can shoot it either way. Go ahead on the set. Do I have my 85 on the other camera? So, we're switching to more of a, like a tighter headshot, and try to drop out some of the focus in the background. So I'm gonna switch to an 85mm and drop the depth of field down so the aperture's probably gonna be around 2. or 3.2, or somewhere around there. But we'll see what it looks like in-camera. I'm at three two on this one. So we can drop it a little bit lower? Maybe even, like, two five or something, and 1600. Beautiful. Cool. Let's see what we can get here. (camera shutter clicks) Uh, scoot a little bit more this way. What's the power on this one? 9.5. 9.5? So drop it down to six five. Okay. Just right there. Don't move. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) No fire. Uh, KB, scoot a little bit more this way. So again, I'm trying to keep him, I keep running into these problems. When you move out of the way, I like to center a lot of stuff. I just work very symmetrically in my head. But, when you move, and you try to go to a different angle, then, you run into the problem of getting them in the line of whatever you're trying to center them in. So you gotta be aware of that and kind of get them over to a different position so it's a little bit better from your actual point of view, and you can kinda center him up wherever you need to, after the fact. So I think this is a good spot. Don't move, KB. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, one second. How much did we drop that? (camera shutter clicks) It was like... Three stops. Cuz like, before, this one looked just a little too bright, but then now, it's probably like, here. Yeah, that's what it is. So again, right now, uh, right now we have a hair light, still, and hitting the background, and we're have a front fill light for his face. So... yep, perfect. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) K, KB, look down this way. Great. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Okay. So I want you to play with the ball a little bit. I want you to just grab the ball and, move it around in your hands. Don't really think about me. Kinda just do that. Live in your own little world. There ya go. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Every once in awhile, look off to your left. (camera shutter clicks) Good. (camera shutter clicks) K. So I want you to now like, kinda get into like, lean forward into it again. You're really thinking about it. This is like pre-game. You're in the locker room, or somewhere else, or just getting off into your own time, and you're just sitting there, and I want you to almost-- Like, here, can I see the ball real quick? I want you to be like, just thinkin' about it. Look, look cooler than me, though. (both laugh) But just really get like, really get into it. I really want to see a game face and focus, in your face there, so. Perfect. It's great. That's great, where you're lookin' right now. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Let's see what we got here. Good (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) So right now, the power on my, on all my settings, currently am at 1600, and 2.5 for my aperture. Again, I'm trying to drop the focus in the background. I really want it to be on him. I really want the intensity to show. We have a front light, but it's not too low anymore, because we want it just to be... (laughs) What's that power out on that light, by the way? Seven. And then that one's at ten, right? It should be. So the overhead light right now's at ten because we have a grid on it. Full power. We're at HyperSync. So we're trying to overpower that sun we have over here. And uh, the grid cuts down the light a little bit more, so we have to over exaggerate just a little bit, and then we have it at seven on our front one, just so we can counteract that and give a lot of nice light to him. Okay, so go back to where you were, Caleb. There we go. Almost to the front. Perfect. Let me do a shot real fast. (camera shutter clicks) Great, KB. One more, I want to get a little wider. (camera shutter clicks) Now glance over at me. Same. (camera shutter clicks) Same sort of intensity. Great. (camera shutter clicks) I want you to scoot down a little bit more this way. Right there, perfect. Same thing. (camera shutter clicks) No fire. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) We're gonna check those batteries after. Okay. Great. Now look out forward one more time. (camera shutter clicks) No fire? Fire. One more. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Good, let's see. Okay. Actually, one more looking at me. And then we're done. (camera shutter clicks) Good. We created sort of a bright background look to it, and giving it a lot of nice, bright hair light, so, all the main light's coming from behind, and just a little fill light are coming in the front, so you can really see his face. So I think it really, again, going on a theme of today, just really making dramatic images. It really works really well.

Class Description

When starting out in Sports Photography it’s difficult to begin finding your creative style. Going out and practicing with friends or local athletes is the best way to start building your portfolio. But what happens when you want to take your images to the next level?

Join Red Bull Photographer Dustin Snipes, as he takes you on a journey through the creative process behind photographing 3 sports at 5 locations with 5 athletes. He'll be working with students to show the best ways to communicate and inspire the athletes he's photographing, as well as how to maximize time spent with them. Dustin takes students through the challenges of photographing in direct sunlight, at public locations, in parks with mixed light, and in water.

Dustin teaches:

  • How to photograph basketball athletes, triathletes, and a fencer
  • The pros and cons to working outside in direct sunlight
  • How to communicate with and work with professional athletes and non-pros
  • Working through unique challenges of on-location shoots
  • Lighting techniques to capture the athlete
  • On-location portraits
  • Freeze motion and capture water to get that hero shot
  • How to use motion blur to capture a moving bicycle
  • The importance of being flexible on location to maximize your surroundings

Do you dream of taking professional athlete’s portraits? Do you want to have your images on the covers of magazines? Then join Dustin Snipes as he teaches you his secrets to maximizing locations in short periods of time, communicating with athletes to get the most out of their movements, and lighting a scene to capture the frame you want. 



Loved all the ideas and why he's positioned his athletes the way he did, and positioned the lighting. I met Dustin a few years ago at and NPAC conference. It's nice to see him doing these teaching videos. His work is very inspiring to me.

a Creativelive Student

Less talk and all action.. This is the best no mumbo jumbo talks and straight to practical work..

Alexandra Schaede

I really enjoyed the multiple exposure video, the pity is that they are no videos to talk about the post processing of this image.