Why Use Seven to Twenty-Two Lights?


Photographing Athletic Portraits


Lesson Info

Why Use Seven to Twenty-Two Lights?

So again, why use seven, 12, or 22 lights on there? My most ambitious setup was 22 lights with a power generator, 'cause, like, again I don't like blowing power breakers. Why use all that stuff? So this is the setup right here, that I had with the women's national team. If you look, like I said, we're gonna recreate the setup, and do something similar, the only thing we won't have is the boom. But, if you look, so I had two sets on this one. I had this one right here, and this look had, this set had about three or four different looks in it, and then I kinda just went right here, and then this is, I called, I like calling this setup my Floyd Mayweather lighting, 'cause I was literally doing the setup for this one right here with Pacquiao. And I had two sets, I had that one, I took him from one set, and then to the other one and shot it. So, again, why use seven, all those lights, to ten lights or whatever, so, because this is all the lights firing, right? You have 'em on there, that's ...

Hope Solo, again, that's Carli Lloyd, that's how it looks when you have all the lights firing, right? If you wanna change it and give it, your editor a different look, right, with the flip of a switch you can just turn the background lights off, and boom, then you have a picture like this, right? A darker background, much more moodier and much more dramatic, right? If you wanna make it more dramatic, just turn off the front lights, with the group, different group, boom, you have a lot more drama, like this, right, and you can make it more dramatic. A picture I took of Abby Wambach like this, without the mist, got to use it as a (mumbles). You wanna go back to, you know, less dramatic, you can turn on the lights back in the front, so that's the options that you have, that's what you use, all the lights, because if you make them all fire at once, you have one look, or if you can selectively make them not go off, you have separate looks, and again, I love, love, love this look, this is the, like the Floyd Mayweather lighting on Hope Solo, and that's how, that's how it turned out. So, the next thing we're gonna do, I'm gonna walk through this entire kind of set, and show you, explain it to you how everything works, and set it up, but any questions in the audience, or here? Why you keep your paper in the box, is that because you feel they're safer there or as opposed to like a slide-in portfolio? No, so I, the reason why I have these in this box is because I had a decent box in there, but I ended up giving it to another client, that I gave them prints for. That's actually a great question, because I always like to say focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses, like, right? So anything that you have, like right? So this is obviously not a strength point, having them in this box like that, so when I meet a client, I don't show them this box, I just show them the prints and then the book, if I had a custom box, and maybe that's I think what I'm gonna be doing in the future, showing them this and then the book, I would play that to my advantage, so I would literally hand them a custom box with my branding on it and show 'em that, but yeah, to just answer your question, that's just, like, something I did last minute, and how I've been showing brand new work, it's not even published, but like when I do show it, like to potential clients that I have, I literally, I'll like, I won't hide it, but I just won't highlight this, I'll just take out the prints, give 'em the prints first and then my books underneath it, right, and they go through it like that. So I am gonna go over all the setup, oh and actually, in preparing for a shoot, since I like to shoot, like really stop-down, like at f/16, literally you're first thing you should do before preparing your shoot, which I didn't do in this shoot, so I don't think, hopefully it shouldn't be a problem, because I like to keep my sensor clean, is clean your sensor. Like, literally, that's the first step you should do. Buy a little sensor loop, buy a rocket blower, and you have to blow the rocket, the sensor first, and then swipe it with one of these, this is just a sensor swipe, I don't know if you guys have ever done it, but look at my YouTube channel, I made a video on how to clean your sensor. That's the first thing you should really, really do before any shoot, like, it will save you so much time in Photoshop, there's nothing more that drives me crazy than wasting time like dusting, taking dust spots out of your images. So that's like the first, first thing you should do, I think, and other things that I take in photo shoots, is this tool as well, this is a UE Boom, this thing really is awesome, it plays music really loud, it's Bluetooth and it's waterproof, so I take this in the shower and everything, so it's nice. But it's really great for photo shoots, because it will really liven it up and change the mood. So that's another thing that I take for photo shoots, and I will go over the setup and kind of show you, walk through everything, so. So, like I was talking about, the most important thing for this is I like using PocketWizards. So, the preparation is kind of key in this, and again, this is what works for me, and it's what I love doing, because I like doing a lot of different things. No editor has ever told me, Alexis, you're gonna have five minutes or ten minutes with a subject, give me three different looks. I'm doing this on my own, 'cause that's what I love doing, like right? I am like ADD, if you've had a conversation with me, you know I'll start like 10 different topics and not finish any of them. Who you are as a person, that comes out in your work, I truly believe that, and I see it on the work that I do, right, so this is, you know, using six lights, or however many we're using here, that's just something I love doing, right? A good friend of mine, Dan Brouillette, just taught a class here on a one-light setup, and you know, that works for him, he just uses one light and a reflector, and that works for him, you know, do you, do what works for you. So just 'cause I do this, doesn't mean you have to do that. Right? So the main thing on there to be quick and efficient with this and why you're using so many lights is the background lights, and there's two of them, so, and then the reason why there's so many lights is because I'm independently lighting everything. So these two lights right here, I have them in a PocketWizard MultiMAX, in group B, and I try to make it as simple as possible, B for background light, right, so like, right, they're in group B, so this light right here, I'm gonna definitely have to tweak it because we just put them up, but this is gonna light our background, so the way I shoot, the camera only sees the lights that pop, so the lights don't go off, your image will be completely black, right? So we put two background lights here, let's build it up. And another thing that I love, why I love using plug-in lights versus B1s, is number one, if you have to shoot a lot of athletes like that, you don't want to rely on batteries because they die without warning, and I learned that on my first shoot with the US men's team, and that was not fun, but the second reason why is because I love the monolights, they're really powerful and they'll literally show you where the light falls, and what's lit and what's not. Whenever you have a product that gives you a convenience, like a Profoto B1, it's great, it's like, but whenever you have a convenience, you're trading something off, and there you're trading off power, 'cause things are 1k, well this one's 500, but these other ones are 1k, and you're trading off a constant monolight all the time. Right, but the caveat to that is that you're gonna have to be plugged in and you need power. So there's always the trade-off whenever you have convenience, and if you ever can make something that's convenient without a trade-off, like congratulations, you just won the lottery, 'cause you'll be rich.

Class Description

Time is money when photographing high profile athletes. One must be quick and efficient, which are two traits that can apply to any photography business. Five time portrait photographer of the year Alexis Cuarezma will break down how he prepares to photograph and produce a number of different looks within minutes to give his clients different visual options. He'll explain how he sets up his lighting to maximize efficiency and produce a variety of looks within a short period of time.