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Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 19 of 33

Environmental Light for Runner Action Image

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

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Lesson Info

19. Environmental Light for Runner Action Image

Lesson Info

Environmental Light for Runner Action Image

(Dustin Snipes) So we're on location now at Schmitz Preserve Park in West Seattle, we're out in the woods. When we scouted this place we had a lot more sun, but it's pretty overcast right now, so we're gonna show how we're gonna create our own sun by using a light in the back, warm it up with changing the kelvin temperature and then we're gonna have a few of our triathletes run through the shots. So, right now we're just kinda dialing in our lights for our shot, and we're gonna take you over here and walk you through what we're doing right now. Some of our students who are attending this are happy to help holding our light stands, thank you very much, appreciate it, good looking out back there making sure the lights don't fall. It's kinda hard working in these types of situations, and obviously, uneven ground is not the best thing for light stands. So, things can fall, equipment's expensive, have extra hands, invite a friend over. It's really fun, let's hang out in the woods. Okay, s...

o let's talk to our athletes here. Okay, so what we're gonna do is basically run through the shot, you're basically in the shot, or the spot I want, I kinda have this little gap right here where I can see your feet, I really wanna see, like, a good amount of motion. We might need to probably clear that for you so if you need to have a little bit of extra runway through, but don't feel you have to run really fast. You don't need to, necessarily, all we need to see is the motion, it's kinda like when you're riding a bike, just fake what you feel like it would be like during a race or however natural it'd feel, so we'll just do a couple passes, but first let me stand here, we're gonna dial in this front light to balance out with our fake sun that we have up here. On our backlight, we have a P70 reflector up there to mimic the sun, and basically all that's doing is sorta, if the little shorter throw, seventy degrees so it kinda spreads out a little bit everywhere and it's just backlighting and hitting a little bit of these ferns and giving it kind of a warm glow. We picked this spot because that's the open, natural spot in the sky so it looks a lot more natural up there, it's kind of a little lower like it's an afternoon Late afternoon. Then I changed my kelvin color balance on my camera to, uhhh Lets see here, we're currently at 8000 in our kelvin balance ,so its a lot warmer than this normal kind of hazy gray day here in seattle. So hopefully that will give it a little bit more life. He's going to wear sunglasses to pretend there's sun out here and also to make it like he was actually in a race. Okay. So were going to now do a couple test shots and see what we got. Okay. So currently my settings for this, we set our backlight first because we really wanted to make sure it looked like a sun. We bumped up the iso a lot more then what I would usually use for a portrait. Which is 800 iso, were at 5.6, and right now we're at 200 hundredth of a second. Which is what canon tops out without using a high speed shutter sync, and we did that so we can turn on our lights to a speed mode so they have a faster recharge rate so we can get a couple shots off each time even though there at a pretty high power right now. I believe the back lights at 7.5 and our front light is currently at 3. Correct ? That's right ? Yeah, but we're going to see if that's right So, look off this way, take a half step back if you could there. Marv your doing great ! (laughs) Let me check that. We're getting pretty close, I would say just a little bit more down, if you could do that Kat. Lets turn it down to 2.7. (Kat) Its at 3.0 right now (Dustin) Lets turn it down to 2.5, alright lets see, Good ! Perfect ! So on our front, we have a p70 also, so there just big hard reflectors spreading out a lot of light, we kind of don't mind them its a little hard, on this one, were going to be far away seeing more of a scenic shot and its really just to give you a sort of sense of place. Okay. So basically Jessie, you know your spot, you can kind of hit your stride at that point. I really want to see a lot of motion in that, so try to get it , we might even, if you want to kind of like walk it out a little bit and what you think would be or even kind of jog it out whatever you think would be helpful but we almost want you kind of off the ground getting that real back push. (Jessie) Feet off the ground over the leaf right there ? (Dustin) A little bit before it, so i'll point it out for you. Like there ! Yeah, right where you left that right foot. (Jessie) What foot do you want out ? (Dustin) That one gets covered if you were a little back more. Just a little bit. Right there is perfect ! Actually I can even take a half step down and there you go. Your right there. (Kat) Looks like that got twisted in a bit, just so you know. (Dustin) Oh, Caleb ! Kat just pointed out that the light may have gotten tilted. Yeah its pointing at me now. Thank you buddy. Appreciate that. So yeah, right about there. I think that will work out fine. Lets try that ! Cool. I mean it will probably take a few, but its okay ! Okay. So however long you need to get into that stride and remember again, its the same way. We want to make it feel like it's, like it's authentic. Yeah ! Yeah. Let me see here. Okay. Okay ! Go ahead ! (Jessie running) (Camera clicks) Nice ! Let me check that. Lets do it again. Perfect ! That was pretty good right there. One second ! Anddd go ! (Camera clicks) Yeah basically you need a one pop off, I'm just slowing down my speed right now. I'm currently at ios 800, 200 hundredth of a second 5.6,that's at 2.5. And that ones still at 7.5 up at the top. Okay, whenever your ready sir. (camera clicks) Cool ! Nice ! Come a little bit more up. Okay ! Go ahead ! Nice ! Lets do another one. Can I get my wider camera too ? My 14- (Student) Its in that bag. (Dustin) It's in the bag ? Its in the bag right down there. Yeah, right there. Okay ! Lets go again. (Camera clicks) Cool ! See, lets go again ! Now basically, all I'm trying to do is find the athletes timing. And try to be on the same page with him, so I can get the exact motion that I need. Something that kind of spread out and shows the action really well. So I'm moving up a little higher, I think I want to see his feet just a little bit more in the frame. Just because we can see the trail a little nicer. So we will see if this looks nicer or if I have to move back. And I'm going to switch up my angle and shoot vertical this time. Okay. Lets try it again there Jessie. Whenever your ready. (camera snaps) That was nice, yeah. I like what's going on here. I can show, well, lets do one more. Can we bump this power up just a little bit more? So lets go back up to three. So were turning the power up just a little bit more on the front. I just want a little bit more pop. Just so he really separates from the background. Good ! Great ! Good job Kat. (laughs) (Kat) You got it. (Dustin) Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. Okay, whenever you ready sir. Nice ! Here I'm going to walk over to you Jesse Were going to take a few looks at these. Were going to then try to see what we need to do in order to, get a better shot out of you. So, currently it looks kind of like daylight right? (Jessie) Yup, totally. So go through these. That's a little tighter. So I was thinking more like something like this or that I like. I think I just want your right arm in there a little bit more and that's all just me and you timing and try to find the right spot. Some of these look better than others I think the best one would be like opened up this way, you know like, as opposed to this way, it closes you off. If we can get to a point where we kind of, again, like kind of count back your stride a little bit so when you get to this point, were opened up like that. Yeah, that would be great. That way, it just looks a lot better. More flattering and a little bit more, but yeah, it looks pretty nice right now. Lets try one without your glasses real quick. (Jessie) Okay ! Yea, that's fine. (Dustin) How high is this ? Can you point this a little bit over ? Wait? Where's your spot at ? Right here ? (Jessie) No. It was back here. It was right here. (Dustin) Right here ? Yeah, that's pretty good. And your standing kind of close to this side? Or you stand in the middle? (Jessie) I've been going in the middle. (Dustin) Can you tilt it just a little bit this way ? Right there. Stop. Try your visor on front ways, I want to see if this will it won't throw too much of a shadow. It might but just keep it, i mean don't push up to high but you know. (Jessie) Yeah, Yeah. Put it up (Dustin) we'll see how it looks. Actually you know what, I will just take a shot right now. And see how it looks. (Jessie) Thank You. (Dustin) So just stand there for a second. Look towards the light like you'll be running. Great ! Perfect ! We can wear that one. That's Okay. Alright, lets try this again. So, I just switched camera's to a little wider. I'm shooting with a 14-24. I'm shooting at two fiftieth of a second and 5.6, iso is at five hundredth of a second. So we switched it up just a tiny bit. The lights are still at exactly the same. I'm going try to shot a little faster this time. Alright Jessie. Whenever your ready. Go ahead. (camera snaps) Nice ! Lets see that. Since its a little wider I'm going to come in a a little bit more. I want to make him the focus here. So I'm going to get in there. Okay anddd Whenever your ready sir. (camera snaps) Cool ! I'm going to just keep coming in. Kay. Whenever your ready. (camera snaps) Here. I'm going to step just a little to my right. Okay. Go ahead. (camera snaps) Okay. Whenever your ready. (camera snaps) Good ! Lets see that. Awe! I caught you right there but the backlight didn't fire. Its weird. It fires three, not one and it keeps going again. Just cause its pretty high but we'll try it again . Go ahead. (camera snaps) Oh I like that one. Lets check this Okay. Now I'm going to get right in front of you almost. Well right off to the side. So same things we're been doing before, I'm just catching you at a different angle. So go ahead. Cool ! Let me get down. Kind of catching up from your feet. Actually I want to see the trail. Nevermind. I want to stay up. Again. I want to show a little bit of the foreground, with these ferns kind of like framing his legs. Show that were really in the woods and whenever your ready. Cool ! Let me see. How you feeling right now, Jessie ? (Jessie) Fine ! (Dustin) Still got a couple more in you ? (Jessie) Yeah ! (Dustin) Cool ! Yeah, lets show you. These are the questions I love. (laughs) Yeah. Totally here. So right now its pretty bright, I'm kind of just shooting a light and bright shot right now. I'm trying to get him in that little area while still having the little ferns and stuff. I like, kind of, again I was telling him the opening position so you can see his body, as opposed to like getting the closed off ones, which is a little different . If we find one now, we've already talked through it. See when his arms are in front of his body it doesn't look nearly as good, I think. (Grey sweater) They were changing the way that he wore his hat ? (Dustin) No, first. We thought that hat was going to be a problem with the light and I thought their was going to cast a shadow but the way we're lighting it, its not really much on the front and its almost directly at him and he's keeping his chin up pretty high. So I think its fine, its not actually casting anything on his face but you got to watch that out a lot. I mean especially with like an athlete or branded athlete. Sometimes they will have to wear a hat or a visor or something else and you just have to work around it. Like you have an idea for a really cool overhead light and all of a sudden they come in with a hat on and your like well we got to change that up and put it straight at his face now or under or some thing else, so you have to be a little bit more creative, so that's why learning every type of lighting you possibly can and just using those and pinpointing it in like you have different tool for each job. So, its really good to learn as much as you can. So what's that seven up there ? (Blue Shirt) Yea (Dustin) Okay, I'm just going to turn it to 8.5 and really blast it. So right now were just getting a little bit of extra light on this front here, on this front fern, so I'm just going step up a little bit over it because its a little distracting. We're trying to move it, but we don't want to move it too much because its got a lot of spread back there. So if we move it too much to the right, its just going to have that same problem over there. We really want to pinpoint it on the back of the athlete. So instead I will just walk a little bit more forward and it will make things a little more less complicated. Okay, just working on my frame. (camera snaps) Check that. Perfect. Okay. (Camera snaps) Lets go Jessie ! Great ! Lets do two more in a row. Whenever your ready. (Camera Snaps) Okay. Let me check that one more time. Switch legs again. So basically, when I'm firing now, because I'm a little bit further I'm a little bit further back, so I think, when your going to open up. Try to do that one step further. (Jessie) One step sooner ? Or one step later ? (Dustin) Sooner. Yeah. Sooner for you. Yeah ! Because I'm a little bit more this way, so that means the angles changed just slightly. Cool. Whenever your ready sir. (camera snaps) (Jessie) Was that right or no ? (Dustin) That was perfect. (Jessie) Okay. (Dustin) Yeah, do that again. Lets actually do three more of those in a row. (Jessie) Okay. Ready ? (Dustin) Yup. (camera snaps) Here I'm going to turn it down to single shot, I'm still at two fiftieth of a second, well now I'm at 250 iso, we powered the lights up to nine on the back. So its a lot brighter, the front light is I want to say 4.5, can you see it from here Kat ? (Kat) I think it is, 5.0 (Dustin) 5.0 So its 5.0 in the front, so we bumped everything up a lot, we dropped the iso down and the reason I did that is because I liked how it was looking it was very bright , it looked more natural but now we're trying to dim everything down and just isolate the light on him. Still have a really bright sun in the background. So now most of the focus is just going to be on the trail and on our runner here. Okay. Whenever your ready Jessie. (camera snaps) One more. Oh that was great actually. I liked that one. Okay. I'm just going to get a little bit over this way, I just want to fill out the scene a little bit more. I really liked that last one though. Just keep the same speed and whenever your ready. (camera snaps) One more. Go ahead. (camera snaps) So right now, again you can see I'm a little wide, trying to show the scene a little bit more, I kept him kind of close to it. I could've spread him out and filled out just a little bit more but I like to keep a little bit of room. Sometimes in case the end client wants to crop it or move around with there, if there doing it for editorial or for their layouts. So, keeping it kind of tight but also loose at the same time. I want to show you. This is no light. So no light on there. This is two lights, so the backlight and were just a few different, using this as foreground. Its nice cause its still keeps your sense of space, it still tells you that we're on a pretty tight trail. The backlight I feel like really really sells it on this cause it just looks unnatural right there. That looks a little bit better. Then you can go back further, or a lot brighter. This again looks almost like it shot with just ambient In a way. I myself like things to be a little bit darker and more dramatic, cinematic, if you will, so that's why I decided just to bump everything up and take it down to these end shots, right here and show those.

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.