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Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 7 of 33

Mid-Air Basketball Action Poses

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

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Lesson Info

7. Mid-Air Basketball Action Poses

Lesson Info

Mid-Air Basketball Action Poses

So, now, we're gonna try an action shot and basically, we have a lot of sun right now. So, I'm going to double up a few lights inside of the same modifier here, which is a pretty big seven-foot, uh, umbrella that we have, and we have both of em' on at about eight out of 10 on the power, and we're gonna shoot in HyperSync, and so far, we're at 1200th of a second at 3.5. The reason being is the sky is so bright right now. The sun is very overhead and we don't want a big, blown-out sky, so, we're tryin' to bring in a little more of that blue. Uh, so, I'm talking through it with the, with the athletes right now, and we're tryin' to figure out a way to simplify things, so, they don't have to just get tired and keep jumping over and over and over. So, we have a trampoline here! Uh, we're gonna have the guys, our two basketball players, jump on this trampoline and the idea is not for them to actually finish a dunk or anything, we just want to show that this is, it's more of a photo illustrati...

on of how it's gonna look. So, they don't have to complete it or anything else, we're just looking for a cool image. So, I'll be talking it through with each one of 'em, directing 'em a little bit, tryin' to get their bodies in the right positions while still maintaining the authenticity of an actual dunk. So, right now, uh, so, I'll have, uh, which one of you guys wanna go first, KB? Sure. You wanna try it? So, we're coming at kind of an angle, right, before? So, remember, when we do it, we wanna see, uh, try not to come so much at an angle. We wanna see a little bit of your legs, so, we can kinda see a swoop back, we see that momentum going forward with that. If you're coming kind of at this angle, we'll lose a little bit of your legs and it'll like, foreshorten 'em. So, the way to keep that balance is to come a little bit more towards me, this way, so. Yeah, let's try that, I'll do a test shot, and we'll see how we're lookin'. Let's see here. Okay. (camera lens clicks) Cool. Let's see what we've got so far. Great, that was great. Okay, so, uh, I think what we wanna do, even more so, coming at more this way. So straight on? Yeah, I would say we even move this a little bit more this way if we could. Again, the idea is not to connect with the rim. We don't really need to necessarily do that. It's all about your body going up to it, and your body language leading up to it. So, just pretend afterwards that you did dunk it. So, one second, let me get, uh, where do you end up at? You're gonna end up probably right to the side of me? Right in front of you. 'Kay. So, I'll step a little bit this way. I'm gonna almost lay down and shoot up vertically at you. Okay, whenever you're ready. (camera lens clicks) Nice. Was that you right there? (Dustin laughs) Cool, so, we're jumping at, how high do you get? Probably about right here is your torso? Yeah, probably there. 'Kay. Uh, yes. You want it lower? (laughs) Like, maybe. Uh, will it be a problem if we move this light just a little bit more that way? You think you'd run into it? Let's jump, throw it over towards the middle more. That way, we can wrap the light around this side. Yeah, 'cause I wanna go-- So, we're using the sun as a backlight right now and also, I'm basically shooting upright at it. But because we're at 1600th of a second right now, we're able to dial it down and in such a wide lens, we're on a 14 to 24 millimeter, it's not really taking over the entire frame or causing a giant flare in the middle of it. Uh, it kinda acts as, I don't know, an added bonus, I think. So, let's try it again. Uh, let's see here. Let's have you stand over this way just for a second. Let's move this light outta the way just in case it's in their... 'Cause those aren't really playin' right now. And remember, this is right here. So, a lot of times, when we're doin' action shots, it's really hard to get the perfect shot, because you're shooting usually at, uh, at a high power on your strobes, where you can only do one frame every single jump, so, really talking with your athlete and tryin' to figure out what kinda moves they would do or what kinda body positions they do before they actually jump is really important. So, guiding them and directing them beforehand and being on the same page is really key, uh, especially when you're working with an athlete that, it could potentially injure them. So, uh, again, it's all about safety and tryin' to get as quick as possible without injuring anybody. (laughs) So, let's try it again, uh, and let me get under here. Let me get the hoop in frame really fast. You know what, I might be... I might not like that there, actually, guys. 'Cause I think I wanna see more of the hoop, and because it's right there, we're getting a little bit of that umbrella, so, maybe behind me on this side would be much better, yeah. (man talking faintly) Might actually be safer, so, we don't have the pole to... So, currently, we're, again, we're using two light heads inside of it, uh, and that's, again, basically so, we can try to overpower as much of the sun as possible, and keep the flash duration, uh, pretty low, or pretty fast, sorry. Uh, and then, also, not run out of our battery so fast. So, we're putting in to the same source and it's basically acting as a same light right now. So, we have two heads off of two packs that are 1200 watts each, but our power is at eight? Eight. Eight. Eight on each of 'em, so eight outta 10, uh, on our power on those 1200 watt packs. So, let's try and see what that looks like. You don't need to start it up just yet. Let's see what they looks like without it first. Let me get my position real fast. Okay, KB, let's do it. (camera lens clicks) Nice. Let's check that, you okay? Yeah. Cool. So, try not, I mean, you're tuckin', I like having you tuck up your legs, the right one's getting lost a little bit, just because of the angle I'm at. I'm still at a little bit of an angle. If I was more on the side, it'd be perfect. So, in a minute, we'll probably try that, but for this one, particularly, uh, that left one could, I know, it's really hard to obviously think about all this as you jump off of a trampoline, and that's not very natural, but, try to see if you can get the legs to be, instead of tucked up, to be out a little bit more, like, pretend my arms are, or these hands are like your legs. Instead of so much up, you want it to be out, kinda behind you. Yeah, exactly, and just a little bit separated from each other, as opposed to together, yup. But you're doin' it fairly naturally, it's just tucked up a little too much. Yeah. Mkay. Let's see here. (camera beeps) I just need you, I just want you to kinda hop up and down really fast, and I'll tell you when... (camera pops) Whoa, you hear that? (Dustin laughs) Yeah. That was loud. You want me to stop? Yeah, you can hold for a second. Just a second, let me dial in a few different things on here. One more. (camera lens clicks) Great, now, let's, uh, let's take that one out and add it to the back. So, and we got that one in the front too, what's that at? It's not popping. Okay, cool. Leave it off for now. I wanna add this side light in over here. So, uh, again, show me about where, you're in and up a little bit in front of it, right? At my angle? Yeah. Yeah, so, about there? Yeah, that's where I'll land. Okay, so, when you're in the air, where do you think you'll be at? Right about, right there? Okay, so, come a little bit this way. Stop, yup. You're good KB, one second. Uh, I want you to stand here, actually, KB, just for a second, so, he can direct this light off the side of your cheek. So, we're basically lookin' to get the angle right about here. We're kinda like, with this backlight, we're tryin' to replicate the sun a little bit and wrap it around the side, so, it gives it a little bit harder edge. So, basically, the sun's already doin' that to the back of his head, but it's coming off a little bit at this angle, so, we're gonna just mirror it on this side, so, you could see it a little bit more, and maybe, it'll pick up his arms a little bit more, add a little bit more definition to his muscles, uh, and overall, just make the photo more dynamic. Okay, so, uh, yeah, let's see how high we need to get it. We might double it up over there if we're not using this one anymore. Okay, are you good with the key? The key's good right now. Okay. Yeah, I would say double it up, since we're doubling this one up already, let's go put it in the back. So, we're gonna use two lights, again, in the same spot back here, and, again, just to intensify our lighting, and add a little bit more power to what we have. So, a lot of times, when you don't have enough power with your lights, you can just add more. I like using battery powers a lot, or battery-powered lights a lot, and sometimes, they just don't have the power that a plug-in pack does. So, I end up just using multiple heads in the same location to act as the same light. So, in this case, we're just gonna use two big P45 long throw reflectors, and aim them at the back inside of KB here. And whenever you're ready. Alright, here we go. (camera lens clicks) Cool, let's check that. (equipment beeping) Here, you wanna come check? Here, so, I wanna show you basically, so, I can, uh, here, let's go look in the shade if we can, 'cause it's hard for you to see over here. Actually, right over this way. So, this is what we got so far. Uh, you look like you're coming up, uh, obviously, because I'm so wide, it's kinda, like, far away (laughs), but, I still like it. Uh, we can even, like, try to wait and maybe I can catch you just a little bit more or we could cheat and you can come a little bit more closer to me, and so, that way-- (KB faintly speaks) Yeah, then I can cut the ground off a little bit more. So, let's pull your trampoline a little bit closer, and I'll shoot up a little bit more vertical, yeah. There we go. So, let's try this. You know what, actually, I'm gonna go back the way it was before. Yeah, let's try that. (camera lens clicks) Whoa! That might have been an over-correction, (laughs) on my part, that was great. I'm just gonna scoot back. I just don't wanna look up your shorts, obviously. So, we wanna maintain, you know, obviously, you're the focus, we don't, your legs are not the focus, so, I wanna just get you up a little bit higher, but obviously, keep you in a good positioning. So, I'm gonna scoot back a little bit. We'll probably take one or two shots just to get you in the right spot here, though. Whenever you're ready. (camera lens clicks) (rim dings) Remember to pull back just a little bit on your legs. Great, you know what? We could even pull in a little bit closer. Again, because this is such a wide lens, sometimes you, it's like looking in a mirror where it says, like, sometimes these objects are closer than they appear. It's sorta like that when you're shooting with a wide lens, so, even though it seems like it's a lot closer, it looks a lot further apart because it's so wide. (camera lens clicks) Cool, try to pull that left one up, if you can. (camera lens clicks) Oh, that was great! I loved your body position. I think, ooh, if that works, hold on. Let me check the loop. My focus jumped a little bit, though, I will say. But it might've still caught you. Right as you were jumpin', it started movin'. Ah, dang, come here, you wanna check it out? So, it's actually good. Um, the only thing I would say differently is that I want a little bit more separation again, if it ever shows back up. Here, let's go back. So, yeah, see what's goin' on? Line? Yeah, I mean, it's good, but, so, bring the ball out a little bit more, like, back, like, I wanna see it bend in there. So, up? Yeah. Okay. Again, it's more because of my positioning right now. So, if you just pull it out more, pull it out to the side a little bit more, yeah. Yeah, that's great. Try that again, one second. And go ahead. (camera lens clicks) Nice. Let's try one more real quick. How you feelin'? I'm good. Good. (laughs) Ready? Yup. (camera lens clicks) Good. And then one more, and then, we're gonna take a look, and see if we need to fix anything. One second. 'Kay, go ahead. (camera lens clicks) Good.

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.