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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk
Thread started 20 Mar 2017 (Monday) 10:11
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Need help with how to take a unique "team" photo with special lighting

 
convergent
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Joined Jan 2006
Raleigh, NC
Mar 20, 2017 10:11 |  #1

Hi all... my daughter's college has asked me to recreate a picture that was done a few years back for their club sports. The idea is to have one player for each sport that they have in the club program represented in one picture to show the breadth of sports they offer. The usage is as a header on their website. The reason they want to recreate it is that they've added several new sports. I like the heavy side lighting for dramatic effect. When I first looked at it, I was thinking that it was shot with a strobe from one side; and I no longer have studio strobes that would be needed to do that. After further studying the picture I'm now thinking that it was a bunch of individual portraits that were photoshopped together. And to do that, I could use my speedlites offset to get the lighting effect.

How do you think this was originally created; and I'd love ideas on how to recreate it? Do it as one group; or individuals and photoshop together? What's the best way to accomplish either. I don't have a green screen backdrop or anything like that but could probably rent one or try to find a colored wall that would give me a solid color behind them to more easily edit out. Just making the background black with the speedlites would not help due to hair and black uniforms; so that's only an option if its a group photo. I could probably rent strobes if I wanted to try and do it as a group. The advantage of individual shots is of course that it could be edited later if needed.

Here is a link to the image in question:

IMAGE: https://clubsports.appstate.edu/images/carousel/eqsggmcxu4tw.jpeg

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MalVeauX
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Florida
Mar 20, 2017 10:17 |  #2

Heya,

It's an obvious composite. So that makes it even easier to do.

Use a backdrop that you can cut your subject out from.

Hard light camera left (one light is fine).

Pose each subject based on where they will be in the composite.

Do them individually.

Then simply combine them and order the layers so that you create rows.

Then replace background with whatever you want, like an out of focus thing of grain and drops like you see here (take an image of water drops with a flash, use Gaussian blur to make it look like the above, and color it how you want).

Doing this with a single shot would be much harder, because it would take several lights, and you'd have shadows of subjects on the left casting on subjects to the right with this hard directional light.

Very best,


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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Mar 20, 2017 10:55 |  #3

Definitely a composite.

With hard side-lighting like that, were it a single shot, the subjects would be casting shadows all over each other - especially since the side-light is very low.

Also, the side-light would have to be very far away (and very powerful), otherwise there would be a lot of falloff from frame-left to frame-right.


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convergent
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Mar 20, 2017 12:36 |  #4

MalVeauX wrote in post #18305914 (external link)
Heya,

It's an obvious composite. So that makes it even easier to do.

Use a backdrop that you can cut your subject out from.

Hard light camera left (one light is fine).

Pose each subject based on where they will be in the composite.

Do them individually.

Then simply combine them and order the layers so that you create rows.

Then replace background with whatever you want, like an out of focus thing of grain and drops like you see here (take an image of water drops with a flash, use Gaussian blur to make it look like the above, and color it how you want).

Doing this with a single shot would be much harder, because it would take several lights, and you'd have shadows of subjects on the left casting on subjects to the right with this hard directional light.

Very best,


Thanks for confirming what I was thinking. Do you think its important to have each person stand where they'd be in the shot, or just in the same lighting? Since the shot hides their feet in particular, where they are standing is hidden. Can't I just put them each in exactly the same spot against a solid color background and then strobe them from the left? I'd have to be careful to keep the backdrop uniformly lit so maybe one speedlite to the left to light the subject and a second one behind the subject aimed at the backdrop?


Mike - Victory Photoexternal link | Full Gear List | Feedback
5D3 gripped - 7D2 gripped - 17-40L f/4 - 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - 24-70L f/2.8 II - 70-200L f/2.8 IS II - 100-400 L f/4.6-5.6 IS II
135L f/2 - 300L f/2.8 IS - Siggy 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, 100 f/2.8 Macro - TC1.4 II - TC2 III - (2) 600EX-RT - ST-E3-RT

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MalVeauX
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Mar 20, 2017 12:47 |  #5

Heya,

Yes, you can do exactly that. Setup a booth, black background, static light position. Bring them in and shoot them standing. What I was saying was you might want to have some facing different directions with their bodies, or just consider some poses when you do them individually so that when you make the composite it looks a bit more variable, natural, less straight-on repeated over and over. You could have some with their chests/shoulders facing left or right and use that to help define the side of the rows, etc. You can get creative with it. You can do different poses of each so that you can play with it too.

You don't want to light the background if you want to blend several together.

You could however light the subject with one light, and use your 2nd light to give them a rim or fill from the other side to avoid too harsh of a contrast and to pop details like hair and helmets and gear.

I wouldn't light the background. I would leave it as black as possible so that you can cut them out and combine them all together.

Make a separate background for the final composite. Or leave it black. Whatever you care to do.

Very best,


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convergent
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Mar 21, 2017 12:18 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #6

If I leave the background black, won't it be hard to pull the players off cleanly? With some having dark hair and black jerseys, I would think that the separation would get messy. I was thinking to use like a green chromakey background since there is no green in any of this. Then I could cleanly get the players extracted. I'm not expert in this in photoshop, so I may be completely thinking of this incorrectly so that's why I'm asking about your suggestion of leaving the background dark. I suppose a backlighting of the players would help create the separation, but is that easier than solid color?


Mike - Victory Photoexternal link | Full Gear List | Feedback
5D3 gripped - 7D2 gripped - 17-40L f/4 - 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - 24-70L f/2.8 II - 70-200L f/2.8 IS II - 100-400 L f/4.6-5.6 IS II
135L f/2 - 300L f/2.8 IS - Siggy 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, 100 f/2.8 Macro - TC1.4 II - TC2 III - (2) 600EX-RT - ST-E3-RT

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nathancarter
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Joined Dec 2010
Mar 21, 2017 12:59 |  #7

convergent wrote in post #18306996 (external link)
If I leave the background black, won't it be hard to pull the players off cleanly? With some having dark hair and black jerseys, I would think that the separation would get messy. I was thinking to use like a green chromakey background since there is no green in any of this. Then I could cleanly get the players extracted. I'm not expert in this in photoshop, so I may be completely thinking of this incorrectly so that's why I'm asking about your suggestion of leaving the background dark. I suppose a backlighting of the players would help create the separation, but is that easier than solid color?

Dark, but not completely black. Unless you do a separation light on both/all sides. Slightly lit black background, or unlit gray background.

Green screen has significant potential to cast a green tint onto the subjects, unless you have a ton of room to work. This is exacerbated when you have reflective surfaces, such as those goggles and helmets. You're going to get green artifacts anywhere the background is reflected toward the camera.


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convergent
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Mar 22, 2017 10:07 |  #8

nathancarter wrote in post #18307020 (external link)
Dark, but not completely black. Unless you do a separation light on both/all sides. Slightly lit black background, or unlit gray background.

Green screen has significant potential to cast a green tint onto the subjects, unless you have a ton of room to work. This is exacerbated when you have reflective surfaces, such as those goggles and helmets. You're going to get green artifacts anywhere the background is reflected toward the camera.

OK, I'll try to do some testing and see how it goes. I no longer have studio strobes so will be trying to do this with two Speedlite 600s and a transmitter.


Mike - Victory Photoexternal link | Full Gear List | Feedback
5D3 gripped - 7D2 gripped - 17-40L f/4 - 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - 24-70L f/2.8 II - 70-200L f/2.8 IS II - 100-400 L f/4.6-5.6 IS II
135L f/2 - 300L f/2.8 IS - Siggy 15 f/2.8 Fisheye, 100 f/2.8 Macro - TC1.4 II - TC2 III - (2) 600EX-RT - ST-E3-RT

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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Mar 22, 2017 10:20 |  #9

That's enough gear for this sort of look, if you're shooting one person at a time.

One bright (bare??) light to frame left, a little bit of fill in a medium-small modifier from a little bit right of camera axis (maybe even a reflector, not a second light). The spill should light the background enough for selection/extraction purposes.


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Grumpy_one
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Apr 27, 2017 17:33 |  #10

I do composites all the time for team sports, heres a couple for ideas:

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Grumpy_one
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Apr 27, 2017 19:51 |  #11

the other one form this year
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Canon 7D Gripped, 5D3, 24-70L II, 70-200L 2.8 IS Mk I, 85 1.8, EFS 17-85 4-5.6 (for sale), 580EX, 50 1.4, t/c 1.4 MkII
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sfinkernagel
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Joined Apr 2006
Pocono Lake, PA USA
May 10, 2017 18:38 |  #12

I do this a good bit also, my choice would be to use the green screen, but I have a lot of gear specific to that. One main light, pretty close to on axis, 2 lights from behind creates a nice separation, which reduces spill and makes cutting out easier. I have a green screen program that makes pretty quick work of that, including saving any green places on the shot that need to be kept.

Without that, I think I would use a grey or white background to make extraction easier. White might even allow you to use a layer blend mode of "Darken" so you could cheat a little on the extractions. Without some kind of rim light, I think you'll run into trouble with dark hair and uniforms.

My 2 cents...




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