Skip to main content

Shoot: Capturing Athletic Intensity

Lesson 19 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

Shoot: Capturing Athletic Intensity

Lesson 19 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

19. Shoot: Capturing Athletic Intensity


Class Trailer

Day 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2


Ten Things You Need to Know about Branding


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 1


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 2


Shoot: One Overhead Light Headshot


Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1


Lesson Info

Shoot: Capturing Athletic Intensity

All right leo won't you come forward here and so tell us a little bit ugo you some due to this most was the street boxing that's all right show them boxing some fencing here in their excellent all right so what we do is I changed out my overhead light instead of my thirty six inch rapid box we're gonna go with a small box just to prove to you guys that the shape doesn't really matter now round modifier in the front does what in the eyes gives around catch light but ultimately that's not that big of a deal especially in a sport scenario so all you have is a little box like I've got that's all you needed to do what we're gonna do so let's do that so we're gonna move our life back so step over here and we're gonna back up our edge lights even more to give a little bit more of a contrast so leo we're gonna have you guys keep going john let's bring it out a little bit more so probably get you right about here yes come right to this point going that way forward and then we backed up the box ...

is a little bit and we'll put this one very similar to what I always do right overhead but it's going to fill in our zone three this section right here but we'll see how let's see how edgy we can get this thing and then we might way might actually go with his shirt off and we'll just start with a shirt on no just kind of uh see what that looks like okay, so let's turn the lights on because I think they were they there on so are we at let's go half power on the so we're going to go to I think it's three three twenty watts and again we talked about the grids are primarily for minimizing flare in the lens so let's back this one up a little bit and I don't have any exact uh, distance that I would say from my white sweet but I know that we're going to hopefully have a nice dark gray or you know so he pops off um and we have plenty of room to move which is good to now did you have your gloves here they're in the room right? Okay, wait. Well, well, well we'll see what happens here we're going we're going teo maybe throw those over your shoulder or something. All right, so why don't you dead center here? Okay, so let's start out with the classic like this this to start like that. Perfect. Okay, now drop your chin down. Give me a little bit right there in the focus so let's just make sure I'm not seven point one I s so one hundred two hundred of a second time that that's my if that's true it is all the way down thank you john so let's go up to about oh I don't know twenty four watts twenty thirty three wants which is very low power okay ready dr chin down keep coming keep coming keep coming right there okay this is gonna be edgy here we come so this light looks like it's a little bit too far back so yes I could see already that's a problem so we're gonna bring that forward to here still no up on the screen yet we're testing testing well he's got a boot it up I'll shoot another one though and then let's see I'm gonna look on the back here um it was pretty dark so let's go up here a little bit one two three four five that's a half a stop okay again let's just see what we got here okay, now we're getting there we're getting there yes and no we'll be there we'll get there ok so what what am I looking for ej lights so turn it off turn it back on edge lights here. Zone three here look that magic you know I just have magic powers if I could just do it you know as a little kid my dad would see the yellow light turning over here and you go and it turned green and we go so maybe I could do that, huh? All right, well, I'm gonna so right now I'm trying to get his hands in their s o I probably to flip it vertical want to do this but make sure again on this scenario that my lights are equal distance equal back because I can see right now that this one is probably a little bit closer so move it back and sometimes by walking backwards like this you can't just get a good gauge that you know you look great in a suit so we're still not up on thing but okay clip questions as a reference point here about how many feet cause I can't see from here is he middle position like about eight feet from the white sweep from your bombs from your edge lights he rips you want farther than you can say five feet right now if I see a little bit farther five feet and I've dropped these three times already today five feet but I'm gonna look here look here just kind of stand there let's try that let's try your ready um what's important is that I adjust my look in the camera does that make sense? So I'm not really worried about the distance so much I could just say you know three to five feet is a good starting zone but I'm gonna look at my image and that tells me what I want so don't don't try I would say this just really let go of the measurements and let your intuition take over so I'm gonna look at this right now and I say you know what that's an okay shot but that's not close to what I want it doesn't have the edginess that I want okay so the first thing to do I'm going down z three that's my typical uh first um adjustment so let's go one two three four five six seven eight nine ten we're going to go a full stop to see what happens I want this moody there we go there we get moody drama okay I probably don't look too far but my edge lights seem to be a little too hot so john let's not these down so let's go um let's go full house or have stopped two eleven to eleven and then I can keep building this drama here ready here we go still little dark overhead okay so now what I'll do is just pull this up one two three four five so I'm just going to start my company my my my sort of my teeter totter of things right this this this this and I start to build my look now on my monitor a little more drama and hear that seems to be a little lighter which is ok but I don't care to be lighters for the camera right okay so we're but we're getting there right so but here's our rodeo let's take and move this light toward him which obviously gonna lighten up because she's getting closer but what I want to do is I want to fall off to be a little greater so that he his face is lit and his body even goes darker than what it is so because I moved it in let's not get down on power and tried again ready because this small source is great to have pretty clothes and look how far away was I kind of broke my rule of thumb didn't I you know this is a two foot modifier at five feet so that z edgier but let's zoom in on him a little bit here too let's see what this looks like a little tighter who now starting to happen okay, now just drop your chin just a little bit not too much right there. Okay a little bit more down right there. Yes, yes, yes. Okay, so and I also feel like this light is either a little lighter or something so let's just just kind of backing up a little bit just back it up just a fraction no toward the back just it's coming around a little bit too much for me that's good that's good ok, we're gonna just that ready here we go again in here it's looking really good I think is a little lighter here, so um so let's do this I'm going to overall let's just knock it down to f a a just to give a really darker field ready drop your channel a bit more okay you're good you're you're mad come on me wait go he's got it he's got the good mean look look at this don't mess with him there like that mean can you see it over okay so now that's looking good but I still feel like my edge lights or too far forward do you guys tent that does that seem like it's too far forward here so so the simplest thing is they have him to step forward about four to six inches just come forward yeah right there okay now I'm gonna back this up because we just have that light pretty good and then this is gonna take those lights back on his face so let's see how far they go not a lot so come forward more ok so you see what I'm doing I'm trying to get those lights back a little bit everybody everybody's faces different look at where these are now these air probably a good foot or so behind that plane where most of the time I have the edge of lights here they're back behind here because his face is a lot narrower that's part of the reasons why it's um still showing up okay that's my camp this looks really good back here there we go. Okay, now I can maybe bring the value up just a little bit let's go third stop ready yet that mean look and I'm gonna zoom in a little bit tighter here just kind of just getting really go like this is what it is is a look I like right here drop it chan livermore that's the look I like this is what I like in your face bold you know pam look out look out still those life there still forward on him so when we do this let's down the power of that about half a stop that seems a little bit more power in this I'm going to go a third just a little bit I'll do three clicks over here do six klicks over there so you did five do one more so we're gonna try to balance out the the valium both those cheeks hope you blinked but this looks good in here yeah start look good so I'm billing drama I want drama, drama, drama I don't want your everyday average picture I want something that you know you look at and you think oh my gosh, superhero okay, now remember we talked about this is not super wide, but when his arms go back there looks smaller so we're gonna bring him forward a little bit to do the same just a little bit but make it look natural and then maybe give a little bit of just you know give a little muscle right when I take it ready one two three there you go. Oh yes okay so we're building drama his eyes are a little dark because he is you know but I can fix those a little bit I can clean it up and what else um let's take those gloves and let's just see if we can add one element here tio if it's too big too bold willa you know we'll uh we'll just try it waken always punt came a focus on his eyes right there add one element I think what will get you the shirt off here really get you it's not bad, you know but it might be a little too much write too distracting from his face um if we flip it that's going to be worse um why don't you do this? We'll put it in your hands like this I'll be hanging on your on your hip kind of thing so let's see if we can get that in there so I also want to make sure that I'm gonna lower this a little bit more shoot right over the top and that might be too of a problem I might have been a little too high on that okay so I can't really see the gloves there we see him right there focus one to get better getting better we have a little bit of element of the gloves tells me he's a boxer um the edge lights are looking pretty good you know, uh the let's see if I can lower this light just a little bit mohr and that she have filled in his eyes from the last set so that is great in the frame so we're gonna go up just a fraction and you know we haven't done no phil card and so why don't we just put a little film now I can't do too much because I'm really pretty wide here so let's see what we do here ready one two pull on it a little wider one, two, three now this should be getting really close that's getting there look at that face now he's looking like he's gonna take you know he could hold his own right in the ring he's looking tough um maybe drop your channel a bit more right there. Okay. That's looking good and I haven't done my photo shop technique where I take the black and white in the color and I really you get his tones and skin and so um and that background might be a little dark to knock him out little dark, so to be honest with you in that scenario I could very easily just pop on my thirty six inch um rabbit box and let's do this this would be a good test watch what happens to my background and shouldn't I can adjust my value but it shouldn't change the overall look a little bit it's gonna fill in a little bit more of the, um of his body but since the soul dark anyways let's just see what happens here, okay? So bigger source it's going to be yes. So let's, go here and I would say bigger source will take a lot more power so let's just see what happens. One, two, three, four we're going to have an extra stop. Okay, so put that fill water there. One, two, three so this should lighten it a little bit. I'm not much. Then my thirty didn't go too well there did it. Um well, partly because maybe I didn't bring it. It was about the same distance. So that's part of the museum's when you back up and you throw more power to him reaches the background. But that did lighting up a little bit now what's interesting. I got more light on the left value than, uh, see how that iss is that but here's what we can do, john john, look at this. Yeah, let's just slide this this backdrop for foreign we could do that little bit right a little bit or you can put a wavy flat behind him no we just do this let's just light let's get this out the way let's just bring it closer and then you slide that box forward a little bit I think we're we're we're ok if you bring that box for a little bit so that should lighten it up so that I could have no problems cutting him out ready one two three that's pretty good there you go see that see that value there that's about right he looks great there okay so now that I've got that I also want to make sure that I don't lose some of my mega pixel so let me flip it uh vertical and we'll snap a couple like this ready some focus again come back down ready one two three all right. Give me a little bit of that look come on flex those muscles come on come on leo you look you get looking meaner than that there we go look at that now he's got that look that khun see I don't want to mess with that guy they look good that looks good what do you think he's liking it okay so now let's do this let's take the shirt off and then let's get a little bit of ah six pack action and I'll show you how I work on that. We'll put a little bit of blistering on him. Yes, poor guy but that's what he gets paid the big bucks for you okay okay same thing let's see what it looks like with a shirt off okay here we go way okay focused get that mean look here we go let's see what this looks like yeah okay now just lean at me a little bit and relax so do this coming around yeah it might be a little bit he step back so do this here's like using tell athletes okay so every athlete wants to look strong right tough so la times what happens they do this well that's not really realistic so what I want to do is relax that and get that six pack to really pop right here so we kind of curve here and then just kind of relax and then when it's time get the muscles ago right so you're kind of like your crunches you crunching the six pack a little bit but relax drop your chin drop your chin one let me focus again one two three okay mean look come on tough look here we go bleeding at me just a little bit drop you right there right there refocus here we go one two three now let me do this let me do the horizontal of this I'm gonna probably lose my my gloves but let's just show you right here one two three yeah there we get that six pack going looks pretty good there we go now I kind of missed his missing his hand, the raps so you're kind of missing the whole feel of what we're doing here, so and rhea reality, I've really got to probably do this, so let me go here, drop it, chin this will probably this is the look I want right here. So now I've got his gloves I've got his, um six there you go, that's my shot like that you can't go wrong with that. I'm going to photo shop. I'll light in his eyes a little bit. Um, you know, do you have a way? You know, I have this little thing where you have little holes in you your spray a six pack on somebody? No, no, but well, you know, you enhance it a little bit, but I usually don't touch. Did I photograph blake griffin and I took his shirt off and he's six what? What? Eight? Something like that and he's got a six pack and it's not even retouched people all say I retouched his six pack not even close he's got the real deal, so you don't want to over enhance somebody, but you want to make him look tough whatever it takes, but here we go, ready, so crunched the six pack one too three all right, give me a look again you're not here there you go there you go now I'm gonna zoom back make sure I got his head in there so just in case I need one with a full head so I have both versions take a look at the last one that's pretty darn good that's to me very acceptable of the look that I usually with an athlete now all right, so here's the good part take your body and move it this way like this okay, you have those here's what I want you teo so you're this way about three quarters and I want you just look like back of the camera turned yeah so you're known on your go back go back go back go back to your john doe right there but now you just swing your chilled shoulders toward me your whole shoulder's swim toward me keep coming keep coming keep coming keep coming keep coming. So now you're kind of like it's kind of like this you're like this and that six packs going to cut with that light this helps bill definition see that that's the real deal that looks good. Okay, so now I want to see a little bit of your right arm so that the right arm's gonna come around just a little bit see yeah, there you go there you go so let's do this let's take we're losing lots of mega pixels so we go vertical okay some zoom in here one two three I still don't see that back arm no there you go right there perfect yes keep swinging your chest toward me a little bit more just give me a little bit more okay, there you go now do you want we use look off that direction you're looking off there you go watch this doesn't look good that looks good see, now that light picks up the cheek over here that looks good so we can tell he's got gloves? Um he's got wraps so you know he looks like it could be the real deal now I'd drop him in a in a background that you know would give me a sense that he's maybe a training gym or the real real thing you'll have a question. Yes this came in from adam coppola who wanted to know how would you respond to an art director that wanted to see movement like possibly the dreadlocks flying are you a stroke? Are the light strong enough to overpower ambient light so that the strobes flash duration? So when it comes to freezing action in studio it's the flash duration that does it not your shutter speed so my shutter speed has said it it's highest seat speaking which is two hundred of second I'm at f was that eight eight so if I take the strobe off watch this no stroke let's see what comes up does it matter you black pure black so what does that tell me ami and has absolutely no influence on my scene all right so if that's the case then this the flash duration that is going to freeze action now very quickly because of karen's before most capacitor strobe studio strobes we buy our capacity driven and they used to start on they were on the floor they still make those now uh pro photo speed atran norman and there's still a bunch of them out there I use those for twenty years whatever long time their comm passer driven so capacitor driven do I have a chalk board thing here capacitor driven has these capacitors of store energy and when you say go they discharge and there's no power or light coming through your flash tube and all the settee goes power comes up comes up and also does this complete full arc of a curve to no power again so they call it the bell curve so no power full power no power the duration that it takes from no power to no power they in the engineers they call it like tea time there's a tea something tea time team duration time and for comm passenger driven strobe it's usually around one three hundreds toe one to thousands of a second out of capacity driven pack so at best scenario it's you know around one two thousand seconds to stop someone jumping where maybe we'll get you doing that here in a minute they stopped him and frees him to where he's like frozen you need a round one six thousands of a second now I've tested this so cliff and I are talking about this you take someone like your assistant and you take your stroke you ready one two three just move quick then you take a zoo in end if that hands got a ghost you know effect to it then your flash duration isn't fastened up tio now here's what you can do is if someone's jumping in the air and there at the top of their jump and then they come back down that slower up there right lesser head hands and hares flying everywhere but you can't get away with a slower slower duration if you're lucky but that's not very good scenario because you're not guaranteed that you're going to get the action so you need around one six thousand seconds so there are there are manufacturers that produce strobes that are designed for high speed. However, if you have a speed light cannon icon whatever pentax or whatever even the knockoffs the vivid tar to eighty threes to whatever those were three sixty five's whatever they were for years they were thigh wrister driven so fire esther is this here's the bell curve and so if iris ter comes along and says you have an automatic usually was designed for automatic auto exposure, so it comes here it is reading it says, oh, perfect mosher it chops it at the beginning of the bell curve and that's a really short time so your frustrations short so that's how they get away with very inexpensively billy eh strobe that can get high flash durations it's a lot less power but it's a real fast oration. These are the policy buff einstein's. They were designed. These are thigh wrister driven and they are just like your speed lights able to cut the bell curve at the beginning. And so at the very back of here it tells me what my tee time is. So let me spend this here will show you this tee time is set to where's my glasses because I can't see right now it's at five thousand six hundred tee time at the setting of set at that's plenty to freeze him my background lights probably or not, because there yeah, because they got more power. So here's, what I have to do, I go and I down power these lice until I get around five thousand six thousands flash duration and then I say, and I matched this light which will be even lower raise my s o two, eight hundred semi have stopped about five, six and a little extra and family I can freeze any athlete jumping in the air. Does that solve that? Okay, so it's a little bit tricky now here's the problem with most flash manufacturers, they don't give you the information of what the true tee times are. A lot of times they don't want you to know because they're really bad in terms of high duration so they don't post him. So when I first five years ago extra thinking about six years ago, I started figured out I need a freeze action and I'm trying to find a tee times I couldn't find him, but the nice thing about paul see both is him post them all. Not only does he posted on his website there on the back of the camera, so you don't have to guess so. That's a good solution to solve freezing action, but if you have speed light, you can do it now. It's just not a lot of power, right? You push are put in speed, lights and a big box like that, you're going to have very little power coming out so you could do my speed lights you can use smart, you can actually put a speed like bear speed light and practice and shoot and there's doctors like joe mcnally some of those guys are doing this with just speed lights meaning meaning and they stack a few of them and so they get a lot of power out of two or three of them and that's how they get you know, dancers jumping through the air but if you really want the big strobes, you have to make sure you get the tea time in the flash duration to get at least around one six thousands of a second now you may your testing maybe that you could get away with one four thousand I don't know I've come up with a round one six thousands and my testing I know that was safe there so when blake griffin jumps in the air and I take a picture I did his stuff I knew is that one six thousands of our flash duration and there was no question that I could freeze him jump into the air so that gives me confidence I'm not guessing now remember you said a little leeway between your room lights and that is their first tea time can you have it a little bit under when you're in lights or if yu long's your main okay, so the question basically is can you have let's say this is one six thousand second that's one for thousands of a second you might get away with that because this this is the front one, but I would not. I would not risk that not on a big shoot, a commercial shoot. I want to make sure that I'm frozen, right. I want to make sure that I got and so I just go six thousand silver here, tea time, and then whatever this falls, that it may be one, eight, thousands. But I want to make sure that at least my my slowest aeration is at one, six thousands of a second or thereabouts. You don't have to go exactly one six thousand, don't take that as the golden rule. Like I said, do your test. I tested a ceiling fan, you know, just testing my lights, and I saw that I found out some of my strobes that that weren't considered. You know, they were terrible, big ghosting, but these frozen pam.

Ratings and Reviews


Joel Grimes reflects the true meaning of a passionate modern artist. Seamlessly blending his old school film techniques in todays ever-changing digital world with such amazing realistic results. Not only in his own body of work, but achieving the same outcome while teaching LIVE, even when things don’t always run smoothly, much like the real world. Thank you Joel for sharing your hard work and talents, your struggles, most importantly, your honest open teaching style with such detail in every segment. Much appreciate CREATIVE LIVE for keeping it real with good talent, on and off screen showcasing common humanity in us all. Indeed, a revolutionary company. Manny DaCunha.

a Creativelive Student

As an editorial and photographic professional it's refreshing to find new cerebral information that goes beyond simple instruction. It was motivating to see Joel, a highly respected professional who is successful in "real-life", display his thought process, points to be successful, and insights into his art. When you have been in the industry, working full time, you need those moments to relax, visualize and re-energize so you can look at projects with a renewed vision and passion. Joel and his Commercial Photography course did that and more for me. If my schedule allowed, I would certainly join Joel at one of his workshops. Only thing better than this CreativeLive would be attending live. Thank you Joel.

Student Work