Skip to main content

Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 3 of 33

Outdoor Athlete Hero Image

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

3. Outdoor Athlete Hero Image

Lesson Info

Outdoor Athlete Hero Image

We're gonna open up, he's gonna stay right there. He's gonna look in the same situation. We're gonna pose him in a more, like, heroic sorta stance, here. So, we're gonna have the ball off too, that's actually great. You know what, we're gonna leave that there. We're gonna turn your chest a little this way, pull your legs a little this way. Just like that, perfect. He is a pro. Okay. So, don't move, we're gonna shoot it straight on and then I'm gonna turn to an angle and we're gonna see how those change the shot. (camera shutter) Take a half step to your right. Perfect. There you go. Left leg a little bit more out. There you go. (camera shutter) One more, don't move. Look off to your right more. (camera shutter) 'Kay. Back at me. Really stare me down. I'm your competition. Great. One more, that didn't fire. Good. Okay chin back up where you were. Great. I'm gonna move over to this 3/4 angle. Slight movement can change the image completely. It's gonna change the background, it's gonna ch...

ange how the light hits him. Because right now the light is hitting very symmetrically in the face. So when we change over here, he's gonna get really dark on this side. We're still gonna see his face, and we're still gonna get that feeling, but we're also now gonna incorporate the sky a little bit more. And see the hoops, and get more of the atmosphere. So keep lookin' that same direction for a second for me. Great, don't move just yet. One second. Shooting athletes a lot of times I like to get as low as I possibly can. If I could dig a hole right here, I probably would. Just to shoot up at them a little bit more. It really emphasizes power and just the stance looks a little bit nicer. A lot of times when I go down low too, I'll have the player cheat and kinda push their shoulders a little bit more forward. Because when you're shooting down at an angle, they're obviously gonna be leaning back a little bit more. So to correct that I'll just say, Durri, kinda just pull a little bit more forward. Keep your head that way. Try not to push too much, I want your chest to feel up and yeah, strong. But I want it just to kinda cheat a little bit leaned forward. So, I'm gonna lay down now. Probably not on the mic thing. (camera shutter) Look a little higher. There you go. (camera shutter) Look off to your right a little bit more. (camera shutter) Look off towards me now. (camera shutter) Great. Hold the ball with two hands. You'll look at me while you do it. Kinda like hold it like you're gripping it right in front of me. There you go yeah, you could do that. Or yeah get into more of an athletic stance with your legs. Yep, there you go. One, two, three. Now do that the same way, but look off that way. (camera shutter) Okay, now stand up and just put it on the side of your hip. Perfect. One, two, three. Good, one more. Now lemme check those out. Great, now I'm going to again try to dial down the background a little bit more than what we're at right now. Look off that same way. (camera shutter) Great, one more. Can we move the light just a little bit this way, guys? So I'm trying to open up my shot just a little bit now. I wanna see a little bit more of the environment. We got our shots with the metal, we got some hoops in there, but I just wanna see a little bit more of the sky, and give him a little bit of separation from it. So it's about him as a subject and not necessarily him with this as a basketball court. So let's see if we can do that by just getting back and having a similar light, because obviously it's at full power right now. So we might lose a little bit of that, but not too much. Yeah, we'll have to rotate just a tad. Okay, so let's get back to your spot real fast. Right next to Mondo there. Okay, so look off that same way. Perfect. We're just gonna get a little bit more sky. Little wider. And I'm gonna get back down laying on the ground again. If anybody's got a pillow. Okay. Cheat off a little bit this way, yeah there you go. Sometimes it can be really difficult to see outside so I'll end up using a little loop to see, if I don't have a monitor on me. And this'll help you really look at your shadows. And again, really paying attention to lighting is very important. You can't just throw it up and expect it to do magic. You have to direct it, you have to move it around, and again especially when you're working with a hard light source. This is really good because I can now see that I have a little bit of a shadow on his face. I have a really wide shot right now, so it's really hard to see the details on it. And those are the important parts. So now we're gonna do the same thing. Instead of shooting with the light away from us, we're gonna bring it a little bit more towards us. Still having a dramatic feel for it, but it's just gonna be a little bit more into his face. We wanna have his face scene fully lit. No more of that side lit stuff. Again, it's still gonna be dark and everything, but now it's gonna be directed a little bit more on his face. Let's scoot you back a little bit this way. Let's angle the light back around. Good. You see? Perfect, a little bit more. Right there, cool. So we're gonna stay at that same angle, and it's gonna look a little bit different than it was before. Same pose. Sorry I'm trying not to crush the the wireless mic. (camera shutter) 'Kay, look at me. Chin up a little bit more, there you go. Walk up a little bit more this way and to the right. There you go. How's that angle, can you point up towards the light? Great. Good. 'Kay ready, one, two, three. Give me a little 3/4 turn. So maybe rotate your, there you go that works. A little bit more, there you go. Good. Just a little bit. Perfect. Widen your stance. Great. Now look off a little bit this way. (camera shutter) Little bit more off to your right. There you go. See the different changes in the little 3/4? So a lot of the times when you're changing the stance of an athlete, this is very broad into the camera. I mean this shows bigger, but when you rotate a little bit you just get more dimension, and it adds so much more to the photo. I was just showing him just the slight movements he did that made the shot just look so much more engaging. Just from a slight little hip turn. So I think we'll just kinda do more of that. See? It brings your chest out a lot more. I think that's nice. Right now I'm turning his hips away from the light. So we're going to go this way. And then you kinda turn back and your chest opens up to the light. So it really does emphasize and make you bigger and stronger looking. And then also the light's coming this way so we're really getting his face lit up really nicely. So that's why I chose this particular pose for this. Lay back on the ground here. Slowly I go. Great, right there. That's perfect. Let's check this one. I love your shirt blowing in the wind there. Is somebody doin' that? (camera shutter) Good, look right at me. Now I want you to do one more thing. Turn around away from me. Yep, now look off, yep that's perfect. Look to your left. Put your ball in your left hand. 'Kay now look over your left shoulder. Not at me but toward the light a little bit, back up a little bit more. Here I got it. I'm gonna come in and pull you where I want. Pull back this way. There you go, keep coming. Right there, you're gonna cheat a little bit this way. Wider stance, great just like that. Look off to the left. I really wanna see this side of your face. You might cheat a little bit. There you go, not too much. There. A little bit more, if you can cheat your face a little bit more there. Nice, don't move. Perfect, one more shot. Actually, one more. Pull it a little bit more, I know it hurts. (laughing) Don't hurt your athlete, but really push him. No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, perfect. That's great. I can see your jawline, your chin there. That's good. 'Kay one more. Look a little more, stretch it! Good, okay. So basically we ended with doing some shots from the high and just looking off, because we had that nice side light still, created some really cool shadows on the back side of his body. And we were using a 24-70 the entire time. There was a couple opportunities when we could have switched up, but I think this is a really good versatile lens for something like this to get a quick, one-light shoot in.

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.