How you can shoot the back page photograph
This back-page photo took about two minutes to make.
The blokes walked into frame, struck their poses, smiled, and … click, click, I was done.
I wish it were that easy.
Technically, the actual shoot did barely take two minutes, but the photo was planned, set up and practiced almost 40 minutes earlier.
Well, experience has taught me that sports people on training nights are a mix of busy/preoccupied/hectic/shy/running late/etc, so, I always like to have at least a Plan B up my sleeve, ready to execute.
Plan A – if you are interested – is whatever might happen that could be better than Plan B.
So, once I set up Plan B, I prepare my camera for Plan A and wait … you never know when something might happen to a star player right before your lens – it’s worth being ready.
So, I arrive and am told there will be a delay with the players. Which is no problem, because I’ve got plenty of work to do setting up.
I’m really impressed by the sky, and want to include it in the shot so I guess an aperture (maybe f4) and then find a shutter speed that makes the sky look great.
At ISO 500, I’m looking at about 1/30th of a second at f4. Which is about as slow as you want to go on the shutter when handholding with a wide lens.
Then I do something you might think is strange.
I crank the ISO up to about 1600. (You’ll see why in a sec.)
Now I’m at 1/100th at f4, and the sky looks exactly the same as it did a moment ago.
Next, I have to build the flash for fill. I dial in a really low power, like 1/128th. Put my left hand where I want the talents’ heads to be and take a picture. Look at it. My hand looks a bit dark. Sky looks great, though. Increase flash power to 1/32. Take a test picture. Hand looks too bright. Sky still looks great. Drop flash power to 1/64. Now my hand looks good. And so does the sky.
I spend a second wondering how I’d like the players to stand. Get that sorted in my head while I dial some Plan A settings into my spare camera, you know, just in case something happens.
Then, I wait.
“Shouldn’t be long,” I’m assured.
10 minutes pass and light bleeds from the sky. To compensate, I drop my shutter a click of two.
Another 10 minutes, and the sky gets darker. Another couple of clicks slower in shutter speed to compensate.
“They’re on their way.”
Almost 10 minutes later, I’m down to about 1/50th of a second at IS0 1600 at f4, and my players make it into position.
Test shot. Sky and flash exposure still looks the same as it did 30 minutes ago.
“Smile, gentlemen. Look tough.”
Thanks to over-cranking the ISO , all I’ve had to do to cheat more light out of the sky almost 40 minutes later is wiggle my shutter dial a few clicks.
If I’d picked a lower (and what most photographers would argue a better) ISO speed, I’d have be in a mad scramble trying to pull this shot off in the time allowed with the talent.
What do you reckon? Ask me anything, here.
Shot for www.bordermail.com.au