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Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 10 of 33

Natural Light Indoor Portrait

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

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Lesson Info

10. Natural Light Indoor Portrait

Lesson Info

Natural Light Indoor Portrait

We are here at Salle Auriol fencing school in Seattle, Washington with the amazing Miles Chamley-Watson over here. We are very fortunate to photograph him today fencing. It's gonna be really fun. We're gonna start out with a pretty simple naturally lit portrait. We have a good overcast outside right now, so we're gonna use window light and then we're gonna put in a little bit of fill afterwards and see how that looks. First I wanna talk with Miles a little bit and tell him what I wanna get. But I think right now, naturally, just this seat is good. I think we can start testing with this and then we might move you around a little bit more and I might ask you a few questions so we can really dial in your personality and mix that in with the shot as much as possible. So we just have him sitting right here. This side light's just hitting this side of his face right now. We're getting a lot of shadow on this side. We have a pretty white wall from the glow of the window here. I'm gonna take a...

few test shots and see how much fill we actually need. But yeah, let's start doing it. So I'm gonna start with an 85mm lens. My shutter is 200th of a second at 2.8, and my ISO is at 320 for the second. So, Miles, go ahead and, yeah, perfect, that's great. Good test shot. Just natural right here. Good. I'm gonna pull up my focus right on his face. Take a shot. Great. Let me check this out. It's very moody so far. I like it. We're gonna shoot a few more just natural like this. Let's do a little bit look off to the left. Get a little bit more light in your face there. Great. You can see how this is working naturally with the light just hitting his face. You can see really well the shadows. When you're shooting with lights you can turn on a modeling light and see a very similar effect. But it's really great working with natural light, 'cause you know what you're gonna get right away. So gonna take this shot. Now glance back a little. Yup, there you go, perfect. Scoot back probably about a half a foot. Let's do that. Great. Now just a little bit chin off to your left. Just like that, perfect. Little bit more. Good. Good, now don't move your chin. Just direct your eyes at me. There you go. Good, now square up right at me. Perfect. I'm gonna widen up just a little bit. Right now I was only about his waist, but now we're gonna get a good full length. Can I have my 24-70 maybe? (equipment man murmuring) Good. I'm gonna use this same lens. I'm on the same shutter speed, 200th of a second, 2.8, ISO 320th. And I'm just gonna shoot a little bit wider. Okay, I want you to stare right at me again. We haven't really positioned any of his mask or his foil yet. But I think we're gonna get into that in just a second. So let's see here. Great. Look out the window one more time. Perfect. Good look. Very pensive. I usually shoot a lot more when I'm shooting ambient light, especially when I'm on a shallower depth of field. Mostly because sometimes the focus jumps just a little bit, so I don't mind taking a few extra pictures and really just tapping on the focus to make sure that we're nailing it every single time. Just a couple more. And then we'll move on and add a fill light into the mix. Great, so now we're going to add a 4x6 bounce to it. We have a silver and a white side. We're gonna see what both look like. I think we're gonna start on the white. It's a little less dramatic than the silver, but the silver might add a really cool sheen to the side of his face, and working with that type of stuff with athletes always looks really nice on their muscles, tattoos, especially with somebody with a darker skin tone. So do a little bit of fill. Let's see what this looks like. Pull back just a little on the bottom left. Yeah, perfect. Thanks there. We're still at 200 2.8. Great. Let me check the difference. Can we pull that away just for one shot? Stay right there, Miles. Look right at me. Okay, put it right back. Good, let's just see the difference. Now flip it over to the silver side and let's see how that looks in comparison to the other two. You can see right away just on there, there's so much more bounce. It fills it in a lot more. We have a much more neutral look on his face with the lighting. It's very filled in, very bright background. His hair pops because of the blonde factor to it. Just looks very cool. Always working with an athlete, you wanna show their personality. and really show who they are. And Miles definitely has a lot of personality, and I can't wait to get into more of the other personality shots later with him. Okay, so let's do a couple more of these. Let's do the white and pull it from the side this time. So we're using a similar effect to the sandwich lighting where, but this time instead the main light is obviously on the right, and we're just bouncing a little bit on the left to give that fill. Look up towards me. We're gonna have a little bit of dark in the middle because we're not really filling on that area. But not too much. So both his eyes should be in there, but a little bit of shadow still creating some depth. Great. Look out the window one more time. Fantastic. Keep right there, Miles. Jump to the silver side. This will give it a little bit more intensity and maybe a little harder edge light, and we're gonna scoot from behind just a little bit more as opposed to the side. Come a little bit more this way, Caleb. There you go, right there, and push forward towards him. I wanna see if I can get it a little bit harder if we can. And yeah, right there. Great. Right there, Miles, perfect. Let me check the exposure on my shot. Great. Right now we have a nice, good shot. I would call this pretty good at this point, and we can move on to something else. Students, do you want to come in and take a look real quick? So I could show you the end pose real quick. So that's our last shot. We're gonna go to our first one really quick and show how we built up that. So we have a lot of dark, a lot of shadow right there. We have that nice fill on the side. It looks very dramatic. I like it just as is. We're just shooting it and showing what it looks like looking out the window, really focusing that light from the window on that. Really getting that nice shadow on the left side. We could push him back even more and get a lot more on his face, but I really wanted that split. Then we added in, we'll keep going along, we're still zoomed in, so you can see it. But you see right there the difference. Just with a little bit of white. It's a little bit of fill. It's not as hard as just looking from the window light. So now we're just gonna shoot him with no logo on his shirt. Again, this is about him. We wanna make sure that he's well-represented and the focus is really on our athlete here. Sometimes things on shirts can be a little distracting. We'll a lot of times take gaff tape, cover 'em up. Just to make the focus purely on the athlete as much as possible. I like what's going on. Don't move your head. We're just gonna shoot it just like that. Again, utilize your athlete as much as possible. They do things that are gonna make you see a different side of it than what you already have in your head. You're really working on a collaboration here. You're a team. I can't emphasize that enough. You look good, they look good, vice-versa. I'm just trying to make Miles here look good and he's doing a great job making me look good right now. So, perfect. Head up just a little bit. It was a little bit up. Perfect, right there, good. Great. Again, we're just utilizing the window light. I'm still at 200th of a second at 2.8. We're just using that natural shadow that's happening right now, and also his pose and everything else. So let's throw in a little bit of that back separation light. I don't want the fill on the side. I liked what we were doing with the silver and getting a little bit of edge light on that side there. Okay. Head over just a little bit this way. Perfect, just like that. So now you can see it on camera. You have a nice hard light on the back. You have that nice shadow on the right side of his face. And don't move. Look down just like you were. Great. Can you push your mask out just a little further? And your foil? Good? Yeah, a little bit away from your, yeah, perfect. I want to separate it a little bit more and give you a little bit more room right there. Okay, great. Good. I'm gonna move in a little closer. I'm gonna grab my apple box. Very handy to have these things sitting around. Alright, here we're gonna do a little tighter shot. Look up towards me. Perfect, just like that. Good. Don't move. I'm still just getting in the corner just a little bit of his mask and his foil just to really show that Miles is a fencer as we need to know that sometimes. Have that direct connection. I like that smile. Let's do that, Miles. That's great. Nice. Look down. Were you checking your watch? You know what? Let's do this. Let's stand up on the wall. Let's get rid of this bench, and let's just change it up because I'd like to see your tattoos a little bit more. Stand a little bit more this way, Miles. Just look at this. Perfect. I like this. Would you ever hold this in your hand, or would you just let it lay on the ground? Yeah, just hold it like this? Let's see. Yeah. There you go. Perfect. Stand against the wall, leaning. Well, there's my apple box. (Miles murmuring) Perfect, yup. Again, utilizing how he would do something naturally is way better than me being like, "Hey, Miles, why don't you come over here "and stand exactly like me?" Do that? No. (laughing) Unless you do that. Is that your look? Is that what you do? Okay, here let's do a shot real quick. Look out the window. Good. Nice. (murmuring) that wedge? No, there's no wedge. I'm at 200 2.8. I'm still liking this a little bit, but I think I'm going to dial it back down a little bit more because we're a little bit further back and we're getting a little bit more light on his face. So I'm gonna change this to 250th of a second. I'm at 400 ISO, and I'm at 2.8. Look down to your left. There you go, right there. Chin down just a little. Eyes, yup, perfect. Eyes up now, chin up. Good. Perfect. Now eyes at me. Yeah, good. Miles, go ahead and look out the window a little bit. Great. Now glance back over at me. Good. Having him keep his chin off just a little bit because I really like that shadow. Wanna do one more. Stand a little bit away from the wall now. Take a step off, come up this way. I want you to turn your shoulders away from the window like this. Just like that. Look straight down at me. Let's see here. Great. And now, yup, straight at me. Give your right foot out a little bit more that way. Nope, like this, so spread out. Yup, right shoulder pulled more forward. Your right shoulder. There you go. Yeah, perfect. And then look face down right there. Great. Let's see. Bring that right shoulder a little bit more. Stop. Okay. Glance out that way one more time. Good. Now eyes at me. Add in the fill light. Let's add it back first. Silver back side, so we're adding a nice edge light still. All from the sun. Good. A little closer, if you can. Okay, get up to a head shot. Glance at the window. Glance at me. Okay. And now I think we're gonna move on to the next shot. So basically right there, we'll show you a few of these. Again, it's very similar to what we were doing before. A lot of natural light. Very contrasty on the right-hand side. I was trying to move your shoulder a little bit more in so get you more broader, but also give this shadow because, of course, we're facing away from it. So yeah, let's go do another shot. Fantastic.

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. 

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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.