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Digital Sports Photography

Lesson 28 of 33

Selection Process: Fencing

Dustin Snipes

Digital Sports Photography

Dustin Snipes

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Lesson Info

28. Selection Process: Fencing

Lesson Info

Selection Process: Fencing

So now I'm gonna take you through our fencing shoot, with Miles Chamley-Watson. He's an Olympic fencer, really great athlete, very high profile athlete for Red Bull. This first part of the shoot was naturally lit. We used a big window bank on the side and this was kinda like our warm up shoot with him too so a lot of shoots I say, with like warm up I do a really simplified shoot, just to get to know the athlete while I'm still making content. So, this was our easy part. Let me go through some of these images pretty quickly. I like that one a little bit better, I like the eye contact a little bit. Not really that great right there. I like this one looking off, has a nice shape. This is no fill. This is fill on the left side, you could see the little bit of added in there. It's still dark but it's not quite. I kinda like the darkness though, I'm a big fan of shadow. This one's okay though, I kinda like it, it has a little bit more shape than the other ones. Mark that up. I'm all a fan of...

looking off. I don't know if I like really the stuff we sat in the foreground. I like this one a little bit, this one we used a hard edge light on the side. Kinda like it. Oh, I like the smile a lot more though. Ah, that one I like a lot more. So yeah, this was just a random, we were just talking and he just started laughing which is always great. You always get a natural smile, he's looking down. I think that really shows his personality. He's a real fun guy. So I like that one. We'll look through these real quick. I like this one, he looks like he's more intent on staring at something. This one looks like he's just told to look off to the left. That one looks, yeah. This one right here, mark up. It's okay, it's not my favorite. I like the light on it but, same thing with these. These are okay. I don't really care for the light on this one, it's a little too dark. I wish I had a little bit more light in his eyes. Same thing with these, I wish his body position was a little bit more turned towards me. Ah. I think it fixes a little bit more when we're looking off. Yeah we'll look at that again. Go back through, this was just a test shot but I thought it was fun 'cause he was just laughing right there. So this, we started this shoot, we were looking for a really hard source a really hard shadow in the background. We're getting a little bit of fill from the metal on the ground. Turns out they have metal tracks on the ground in fencing and they're hard to light around to get a really good solid black background. So, it's okay, I'm not, I don't hate it. It did kill our shadow a little bit. But we can deepen that up in post. This is kinda our first shot. Kinda seeing what he's doing. We obviously have a lot of stuff in this picture, I think I would take a lot of this out up here. Really take all this up here out. Just make it a white background, I wish, that's what I was kinda going for I just wanted it to be him and the shadow. I don't really like this image though, so I'm gonna keep moving on. I think, like something like this is a little bit better, his hand looks a little, I'm not sure, I don't know fencing as much but he looks little jazz hands in there. (laughs) So I think personally I'd move on. I like this image, I think it looks kinda cool, I feel like his, maybe his angle is a little too high. But I do like this line, going here to here. I still don't like his, I think I want his shadow to be above. But I think if I was choosing one I might pick this one and I can simply just crop this one in. We wouldn't even maybe have to take that out necessarily. I'm picky so I might take it out, It wouldn't be as hard as say, one over shadow. But we'd just take out this little light socket and the other thing right there. Really wouldn't have to do much to the body or anything on these. I don't think, he had pretty good skin. I tried to do the back because I liked his tattoos but I think showing his front side was a little bit nicer, opening up his body to the camera. This one's okay but I felt like his, his foil was going into his armpit right here so I didn't really care for it too much. This one's a lot nicer I think it's kinda what I was going for. Again, a lot of stuff around here, I'm shooting really wide again because he is 6'4", very, very long. And then he has a long foil in front of him so, I even cropped off a little bit of hid foil right here but I am not hating it. I maybe would end up taking the crop to about right here, adding a little bit more room over here just so I can then have a separation from this foil and then back into wide again so it's not leaning off the image. So, I think this is the one I might end up editing I just thought this was fun in a fun little like, personality shot. So I might grab that one as well because it's a pretty fast edit and we could do it along with the other one. This one's nice to but I don't know necessarily if I think, I think his, his positioning is a little bit better 'cause I think your, your foil has to go overhead. Just from talking to our athlete and really getting the intricacies of the sport down. Obviously I'm not a seasoned fencing veteran but I try to find out key motion and key movements in the sport is very important to ask. And making sure that it looks authentic, So I would. We tried to change it up a little bit, we pushed it a little closer and you can see it softens up. The further you have the light away the harder it's gonna be. But it softened up and made it a little bit bigger which I kinda wanted but, I wish I could have got it bigger and hard, but I like his body position a lot in this one. I think I like it one of the most I just don't like the shadow that much. So I think I'm gonna skip it for now. I kinda like this, even though there's like not light on him. If this was all white around here, and then I crop it about right here, I would like this a lot. I like the silver on the bottom here, I'd probably crop it into this being the bottom in the third, A third of the shot and then just having the second two thirds of it up here. But for now I'm not gonna edit this one, I think I'm gonna move past it. I do like the shadow on his face because, again this is really all about a graphic image. It's not necessarily about, it's more of a complimentary image for the story, If there was a story on this guy. So, I think we'll skip it for now. I like this shot though, actually, this one's a little bit nicer. Let's go, maybe grab that one, 'cause again really fast. So these are some of the things we were trying with the multiple exposure. I lost the foil a lot and that's, that's really because we were, we were moving around pretty quickly. We were trying a technique that I would normally do in, with strobes, But instead I did it in camera. And it was, (giggles) it was interesting. But you can get this effect in a lot of different ways and I think this is one way to do it. I think I can pull open the foil in Photoshop. But, and then I would also blacken up, up here too because our black just wasn't tall enough for this scene. So this would be about my crop if I was gonna keep this image. I don't think I really like it though, necessarily because I think we needed one more, one more frame. Like an in-frame where he's connecting to the ground, like. Something like, I think more like when we were over here. Like this, like this would be our in-frame I think. And then the flunge of the flying lunge would be our, this part right before there so. I think this should have been our end point, we really never nailed it down. It was a hard part because we didn't get a ton of those shots, because it was such a unique style shot. But also because, he's not used to working on such a hard floor and the floor inside there was a little bit hard for him. So I was reading the athlete and he seemed like he wanted to move on, so, we kinda cut that a little shorter than I wanted to. We did end with this one, which I think is okay but, oh actually sorry. This one, which I think is okay but, again, not my personal favorite. I like the reflections on the bottom, but, the reason I like it so much is because we went from seeing the track lines from the fencing track lines to going down even lower and not seeing them, but you get a little reflection at the bottom and I think that's really cool. My problem though was, I did it so quickly and we only did one image that you could see this is a little higher then this. Because I bumped my camera, so, failure on my part, I'm fired. But we could fix that if we really wanted to, if the client liked this image, which I doubt they would. We would just pull this down, put him on his level, and again, blacken up the top, brighten everything up, the white would really pop. I would probably take open these reds a little bit more to draw more attention to him. Just to balance out these yellow shoes, 'cause they draw so much attention right now. I think if we went back and had wardrobe choices, I would probably go with a darker shoe, but he's very much into that look so. We're now into some, we did some quick portraits right afterwards with the same light set up. We had two lights in the back and we had just an overhead front. This was just two lights on the sides, just kinda cross lighting him. So that's why there's some negative light on the front. This one, I kinda like the shadows even under the eyes and everything. It really makes his hair stand out, I like that you kinda pull focus to his logo and stuff right there. Now let's pull open that to another one. But I'm always a fan of this, when you can't really get much, he had personality. But when you can't bring it out of him, again when he's tired, he was just on a really long trip. He was over in China, he was kinda running on fumes towards the end of the day. And when you can't really get much you gotta kinda make something out of nothing. So, I turned off this, or turned down that back light and tried to get it really, really dark and then try to add in his name back in there too, on the back. And I think ended up with, with liking one of these. Yeah, this is the one I think I'm gonna pull open, I like it, it's kinda got a weird funky tone to it. It's very similar to the basketball portrait, but we just took out the background out of the equation. It's little little bit more dramatic, it has more of that side light, it's wrapping around in every part. I like that you could see the USA down here, I like that you see his name and I like that you could see his mask a little bit and his foil stands out. So, we did some portraits on a bridge too, usually not a real fencing location. But it was a really cool bridge, after we got done looking at the fencing school we drove by it, and I thought, what a cool place to take pictures on! So we used the shape of the bridge to kinda frame him. I don't mind the flare. I feel like this is almost like a spaceship, this bridge, because there's all this metal everywhere, so, I feel like I'm in Star Trek. Or this is a JJ Abram's film and there's a nice flare coming through here. So, I did that bunch and actually I showed him some of the images and he really dug it too. So I leaned into it a little bit more and you'll see more of those in a minute. I like this image, there's just not much personality going on there. If we had to force an image, I would go through and pick it but I don't think for now, we would do anything. The clouds pretty nice, I like the look off like I said. I would grab that one, I like his smile in that one. That's pretty nice, I like the frame in this, again it's not my, ah, the laugh is nice, but we got a couple other one's of those. This is as better smile actually 'cause, he's looking off. I like the full length on this but I still don't know if it would be my favorite. I'm gonna mark it anyway. This shows the architecture of the bridge, a little bit more. I like the wider stance, 'cause it's such a wide frame and I like looking over me. This was a fun little move but, I feel like he was just standing there sort of. I like these sort of lean pictures an little bit better than the other ones too. So I'm gonna mark that one as well. I like this one, I'm gonna look at this one, I'm not sure, it's really heavy on the light and maybe a little distracting but I'm gonna check it out in Camera Raw. This ones actually a little nicer, this shows a little bit more personality. I like the framing, in-between here and I like that it shows the metal. Kinda mimics the metal of the mask, you still got the branding in there. That ones kinda fun too. I like this one too. Again it feels very much like I'm on a spaceship, pull that one in. That's a little much. You can clean that up a little bit but I might have leaned too hard into that whole spaceship effect. So we're gonna close out some of these, open up just the ones we like. I think I'm gonna take that one, Think I'm gonna take one of these. Actually, just quickly, because it's very much like that first image, so I think it will be a quick edit. I'm gonna take this one, this jumping picture right there and this one too because it's gonna be quick. This one also will be the same thing, I'm gonna grab this one right there, I'm gonna take this one down to three. I don't like those. I'll grab this, but I think it wont be my final select for it. Grab this smile picture, I'm gonna grab this one right here too. So now we are down from 90 pictures to nine.

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.