I’m grateful for the college education experience I received, but it wasn’t until halfway through my college career that I realized I wanted to be a photojournalist.
Too far into my major in 2001 to jump ship to another school and journalism major, I hung with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since then, I have used it as another tool in my kit as a photojournalist.
Nebraska men’s basketball media day earlier this fall was one of those time when I could bust out the lights.
Talk to most photojournalists and they don’t feel too comfortable with artificial light. Me? I love them. However, I will always trade a well-lit portrait for a found moment any day of the week.
World-Herald Directory of Photography Jeff Bundy said, “Corey, today you’ll be in Lincoln for media day with the Huskers basketball team. Have fun with it.” He showed me past photos from the event and then scooted me on my merry way.
The challenge in situations like this is not the lighting, but the creative thinking behind the shoot. Same lighting setup. Same space. Same colors. Make each one unique — that is the challenge.
Like photojournalism, most of the time you have to improvise as you go along. The more experience you have, the better you get when it comes to lighting. I kept main poses in my head — check, check, check — as each player came in and out. I photographed 18 players plus the head coach. Sometimes I would perform the pose for the player to see if it was cheesy or not. As it got toward the last four subjects, I was running out of ideas. Luckily, I had time with the final player, — guard Dylan Talley, seen in the first group of photos in the upper left — to change the lighting setup.
Each player had about 2 minutes. Yeah, no pressure. But hey, it sure beats having your soul stolen in a cubicle.
My lights are AlienBees B800 (320 true watt seconds)
The background light was set at ½ power
The key light (5 foot softbox) was set at 1/4th power.
The accent light was set at 1/16th power.
Above is a bird’s-eye view of my setup.
The three biggest pieces of advice I can give are:
1.) You don’t need a million dollars to produce good portraits. One cheap $50 flash can do wonders. If you don’t like artificial light, a piece of tinfoil and window light can do wonders as well. Photographers spend money on equipment because of convenience and consistency. Remember, light is light.
2.) Experiment. Experiment with your equipment. Experiment with poses, objects and locations. If you don’t fail and try things, you aren’t getting closer to success. Always experiment.
3.) Feathered light is king. What is feathered light? It’s the softest part of light falling on to an object. Feathered light is when you angle your light source away from the object you are photographing just before light is no longer falling on the object. In daily life we see it each day as the sunsets.
Tech Specs: 24-70mm EF f/2.8 USM L zoom lens, f/8, 1/250, ISO 100, Canon 1D Mark IV camera
If you have any questions you can always drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org