2015 Minnesota Timberwolves Portraits

Getting a different look in the same space.

Shooting portraits at a media day session can feel like a whirlwind for the players and for the photographers. Players are taken from one station to another by a PR rep as they go through the gauntlet of TV, Radio, In House, Print, and photo stations.

Media day is an opportunity to photograph players in their uniforms before the season starts. The hope is to capture a striking image that will run as the cover photo for the season preview section and other portraits to go along with player profiles. Because time is limited and there are so many players to shoot I often opt for a simple lighting setup. Shooting on the court was not an option and photographers were set up in a hallway area of the Target Center. This season I used a White 12’ seamless backdrop.

My main lighting setup consisted of (2) umbrellas for the backdrop/backlight and a soft box as the main light. This type of setup has its pros and cons.

Pros- The photos have a consistent look, as the backdrop and lighting are the same.

Cons- The photos have a consistent look, as the backdrop and lighting are the same.

If you are specifically there to shoot for a program and season preview then it makes a lot of sense and giving the lack of time it can be your only option. I wanted to try to get a few different looks on the same backdrop. So this is how I approached it within the limited shooting time frame.

The Setups-

Setup 1 – (2) umbrellas for the backdrop/backlight and a soft box as the main light. (3) Lights total.

Setup 2- Turn off the umbrella backlights and only use soft box for a tight portrait. (1) Light total.

Setup 3- Ring light as only light source. (1) Light total.

Technical Data: (1) Light total. Main light is a large soft box. The back lights were turned off for a different look.

The Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones photos shows how a difference in overall looks can be achieved by simply changing the lighting while still using the same white background.

The photos on the left were made with the basic lighting setup for the shoot. (3) Lights total. Main light is a large soft box. (2) lights with umbrellas used illuminate background and side lighting.

The photos on the right were made with a ring light to achieve a completely different look on the same background. The ring light casts its signature halo shadow and quickly falls off giving the white background a darker look.

Basic setup on this photo of Zach LaVine - (3) Lights total. Main light is a large soft box. (2) lights with umbrellas used illuminate background and side lighting.

Setup on this photo of Karl-Anthony Towns - (1) Light total with a large Chimera soft box.

Setup on these photos of Andrew Wiggins. Photo on the left made with the basic lighting setup for the shoot. (3) Lights total. Main light is a large soft box. (2) lights with umbrellas used illuminate background and side lighting.

Photo on right (1) light with a large Chimera soft box. Note how the white backdrop falls off without the back lights

Gear:

12’ White seamless background

(2) Dynalite power packs with (3) Dynalite 4040 heads. Umbrellas & Chimera soft box

Paul Buff ring light.

Camera: Canon 1D X

Lens: Canon 24-105mm F/4L IS

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© Carlos Gonzalez 2018