I was contacted last week to photograph the TNFC-Impact-96 girls state (Tennessee) soccer champions. (Click twice to view them ‘large and in charge’.)

(Well, actually, I was approached quite some time ago but we couldn’t get their schedules and mine to match. And with this team, the only thing more intimidating than schedule matches is a Soccer match!!!)

     Then, the magazine Junior HYPE asked the team if they might  run a feature on them.  All of a sudden, we had the impetus to take some photos. 

     Sometimes we all need a little push…

     The team had a particular ‘look’  in mind and they provided me with samples. It’s a pretty popular style of lighting amongst photographers, particularly for sports portraits.

   …Not something I had previously attempted, but if you have been following along you will expect that I studied the samples to come up with a pretty good idea of how they were lighted.

     Then, just to make sure, I contacted a couple of other photog’s whom I respect and asked if they thought I was on the right track. We reached a ‘consensus’ …and I studied and planned a little more.  I think there’s a ‘medical’ acronym for that now…OCD, or something.  When I was a kid, the Boy Scouts had a term for it also…

“Be Prepared”

     The kink in the works here was that there would be 17 players in our photo. Most of the samples showed 1 to 4 subjects.

“…This is your mission…Should you decide to accept it…” (Name that 60’s TV show)

     How to evenly light 17 girls ladies with equal blown-out highlights added for dramatic effect…

     The advantage, from a photographer’s viewpoint, was that we were NOT looking for the traditional ‘beauty’ lighting of a studio setting or ‘prom’ pictures.  We were NOT trying to indicate ‘Daddy’s little girl’.

     The disadvantage was that we were NOT looking for the traditional ‘beauty’ lighting of a studio setting or ‘prom’ pictures.  We were NOT trying to show ‘Daddy’s little girl’.  (To wax sentimental and get ‘all misty-eyed’…they’re ALL ‘Daddy’s little girls’….I’ve got one, too… same age as these girls)

We wanted that tough, no-nonsense, ‘heavy-metal’ look that proclaims,

“We are here to ‘Play’! If you’re not…?!…well, we can throw  a little butt-kicking in for no extra charge!”

     We scheduled the shoot for sundown and actually the weather, light-wise, cooperated. A very cloudy day with rain drizzles right up until shoot time…literally.

(The lighting units had plastic garbage sacks covering them during the testing phase. You know… that ‘electricity and water’ paranoia that haunts photographers and musicians and hair-dryer-warning label-writing attorneys…)

     Due to unforeseen circumstances (see my last post for more of that….what’s with me and the rain?)… we were an hour late in starting the photos.

     Now, I don’t know how many times I’ve really put a watch to it, but the fall-off of light from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.,  pre-Spring equinox is significant… No…it’s dramatic!…it’s a game changer.

Particularly on a cloudy evening!

     I guess this is where the experience(s) of age helped.

I didn’t throw up my hands or proclaim, (as I have heard done by several… names withheld)

“I can’t work under these conditions!

     What I did do…was realize that we were now moving into the post-production necessity planning mode, the digital photographer’s contingency plan, and I shot the background without subjects before the light disappeared entirely.

By the time the shooting commenced, I could barely see the girls…and the background was gone.

(Thank goodness for auto-focus!!!)

I had to trust that they, the team, would do their part.

      So… it’s dark and cold and windy and wet and we have 17 shivering teen-age girls ready for me to ‘get on with it’.

     They were certainly ‘troopers’.  I never heard a whimper of complaint .  We were all on a mission…I could feel it, and I think that’s important for subject and photographer alike.  We each/all had a goal!

  Hmm,…now what do you do with 17 sets of hands, arms and legs? 

     I tried crossing this one’s…no, not you…right hand on hip…no, the other right  hand….

and when I finally gave up trying to direct and said,

“Okay ladies….Attitude!!”

Wham!….they executed…they actualized… They brought their game faces !

      I would love to see them open each match with this line-up…stand just a half a step over mid-line as the opponent enters the field…give them this look for about 3 minutes…collectively shrug their shoulders and smile and then start warm-ups…Quiet Intimidation…

     In the ‘darkroom’ I put the team into the previously shot background and tweaked and fidgeted…

     I used a little Topaz Detail and a Nik filter to get that ‘crunched’ look. Then I followed with another Topaz filter,  ‘Denoise’ .

Would the photography Masters of old approve?

Nahhh…Probably not.

Then again, if they were poker players they would agree that you play the hand that you are given.

     BTW…the title of this post…!? 

     It’s my understanding that you don’t hear that word very often if you are on Audrey’s end of the field!!

~ by rkpowers on March 13, 2011.

One Response to “GOOOOOOOOOAL…..!!!!!”

  1. Superb Randy, Really enjoy the step by step description of the creative process.


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