Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Work with the subject

Mark M. Hancock / © The Dallas Morning News

Flower Mound golfer Ben Morrow poses for a portrait at the Golf Club at Bridlewood in Flower Mound on Friday, July 2, 2004. Morrow won the prestigious 2004 Justin Leonard Scholarship, a $20,000 award, as the "most outstanding" male NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation golfer.

I got some positive feedback from some co-workers about this image, so I thought I would post it to break up the grey letters on this blog.

This is an example of getting a good shot out of an average assignment. The actual photo request was to make a portrait of a golfer at his home. Joy.

The golfer's neighborhood was nice, but everything nice faced eastward at sunset (instead of westward). I told him I needed to shoot 100 frames. I also wanted to do something special with him since he was so special. Most importantly, I would need his help to pull it off. He agreed people normally agree, then they reconsider after the truckload of hungry squirrels arrives....

Anyway, I set up a strobe on the course and got the standard Tiger Woods' I'm-too-confident shot (the safe shot). Then we started trying some different shapes and backgrounds.

I suppose I should explain my strobe (a Norman P-2000) can appear brighter than the sun in an image when I turn it up all the way. I can literally have the sun over someone’s shoulder and have more light on their face. I simply stop down the sun to the intensity I want it – just like any other light. This image uses only one head. I've never even tried to use all six or one at full power.

Anyway, I wanted something unusual. We started trying to get him to jump and match the angle of his golf bag. It worked. So, we tried to have him actually appear parallel to the ground. It worked better, but was harder on the lad (he took the full brunt of each jump on his hip/butt/knee). But we were soooo close to something really cool, so we kept working it. When I layered the clubs in the foreground instead of having them close to him, it really started to pop.

This is the end result of him plopping onto the grass about 40 or 50 times. It was hot, he was tired and sweating by the time it all finished and the country club crowd got a good show with their dinner. Most importantly, we got an unusual image to set his abilities apart from the others.

The point is to work with the subject to get something cool. A nice image isn't the result of either the photographer or the subject. It is cooperation between both. Don't be afraid to ask the subject for something unique and don't let them see the truckload of squirrels before they agree.

Enough for now,

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