Recently we did a shoot in a gym, photographed a table tennis player. I really like playing, but when I learned the model, Chris, had a $300 paddle…well, I’d be happy shooting pics instead of playing against him. I wanted to create a number of images, smash shots, static portraits, moody dramatic scenes. We carted in a ton of lighting gear, hauled in a table and set up the scene.
One issue we dealt with, and this one comes up a lot, is trying to control the light in a white space; in this case, floor, walls and ceiling. We first set up an exposure so only our flashes would render, no existing nasty sodium lights. But the trick is adding directional light to the picture, using grids and snoots. We wanted to use a softbox, but this bounced off every surface and watered down the nice dark scene we wanted. To solve this, we added a grid to a small overhead softbox, and used 20 degree grids on the other heads in the scene. This eliminated spill on the white surfaces.
This final shot of the day was a subtle moment. Everybody was winding down, and Chris was leaning on the table bouncing a ball. This presented the prefect moment to use overhead light and the tilt shift lens to add some blur. Tech: Nikon D3, 70-200mm and 45mm tilt shift lenses, Elinchrom Rangers, Manfrotto stands and Skyport wireless system. Action shots around ISO 200, 1/200 at F11. Tilt shift shot ISO 100, F4 at 1/250.
We did a quick video of this shoot.