Shooting inside gyms is interesting. I mean that in a few ways, it’s the type of environment where what is presented to you can look good to the eyes but often doesn’t translate well on camera. Our eyes are so good they can see colour & clarity even in dim poor quality light. So sometimes a little extra is needed. That with some careful composition to try and clean up the background helps eliminate distracting elements.
Who doesn’t love fluorescent lights? I mean they’re great, they buzz, they flicker, they’re really green then pink then green then pink then green… you get the point they can suck.
This means there is usually a bit of extra pre planning & post processing involved with shoots under ‘warehouse’ looking fluorescent banks. There are some techy aspects to how the camera needs to be set, but I don’t think I’ll go into depth here (maybe a future blog post). The main challenge is getting it set so that the ambient light is controlled to the point where colour contamination is reduced on your subject then dialling up the strobes to the point where they are properly illuminating the subject. Now I say properly, lightly, this is and many other aspects are totally subjective depending on taste and creative outcome.
Meet Sam, Ive known this guy since he was 12. He was a bit of a nerd, totally obsessed (I could never beat him on Halo) with video games and not very athletic. Now look at him!!! It’s been insane watching this guy transform in to a lean 6ft tall beast!
If you can do anything you set your mind to, then surly all barriers are only in our mind.
- Lighting this location was fun, a large warehouse with florescent strip lights overhead, lots of black, and more black, oh and a bit more black. Getting separation was key so that Sam, who was also in black, go figure, didn’t disappear into the darkness. This was achieved with a combination of kicker lights and composition.
Whilst I know Sam personally and have for many years, shooting is no different than when I’m with a new client who I just met. One of the best challenges of this type of work is responding to peoples mood and energy. I always like to have a bit of fun, it loosens people up if you can make them laugh!
- While 270lbs is impressive we still joked about photoshopping a few extra plates on the bar.
Just ambient light wasn’t going to work here for the result I wanted. While this is a static shot, we did a number of action shots, barbell snatches, dumbbell lifts, medicine balls… I wanted to keep the images selectively desaturated to focus on shape more than colour.
- Using a combination of ambient and strobes I was able to achieve separation, freeze action & also control the colour contamination that florescent lights create.
Missy was an incredible model, and on the last day of shooting on location in the Valley of Fire, NV we put in a bit of time to get some fitness shots nailed. This was actually the penultimate frame I captured before leaving Las Vegas. I spent the week with one of my all time heros, Travis Harris. Learning, laughing and having the occasional Moscow Mule, we pulled off some aweome shots that will be in my portfolio for years to come…
Ghee, is not just a personal trainer, he’s also a kick-boxer! We shot this in an old warehouse where someone had conveniently left a punch bag. Ok, we didn’t, we got permission to shoot inside a great boxing gym in Edmonton, AB and I lit the shot in a particular way so that in post I could cut the background out and relace it with a few different options for my client to choose from.
- The take away point here is, the location doesn’t always have to be perfect, but control of lighting and pre-planning go a long way to make something more unique.
This was the last shot of the day with Ghee, light was going fast, the temperature was dropping even faster and we were both tired. Equipment wasn’t playing ball this day either (ask me about Pocket Wizards lol), being a professional doesnt just mean I can take ‘nice pictures’ it’s being able to take the picture needed no matter what! If your’e from Edmonton, it’s not hard to guess where this picture was taken! For those that dont know, this is the Muttart Conservatory in the beautiful river valley.
- I always have redundant equipment on every shoot, there are always tricks up my sleeve for when things inevitably don’t go to plan. Sometimes things don’t happen perfectly in order as you would like, overcoming the obstacles and challenges is part of what makes my job so much fun.
I cant count the times I said “this is sketchy” getting this picture. BUT we pulled it off, oh man it was cold. I think it was about -10 and the wind, being high up on a bridge and right in the middle of a valley meant it was blowing a gale! Luckily the wind was blowing in the direction we needed…
- I was balancing on a bench, while Ghee was 10’ in the air trying to hold his position while fighting the wind. We had to bring lots of gear for this shot and it was about a mile walk, theres even a step ladder just out of frame below him! My lighting assistant was holding the OCF camera left high up to rake across his body to make his muscles POP! Edmonton has some awesome spots but man it can be cold!
Ghee wanted some images demonstrating him helping with posture and form while exercising, as a personal trainer his core goals are to get you moving better and fitter than you have ever been!
- After securing permission to shoot at this location we arrived late in the day to get some beautiful soft skies and rich warm summer colours. OCF was used camera left to add some punch to the Ghee & Eliza.
This was a fun project done with Eliza & Ghee, and yes, that sky is real. This was taken late summer when Alberta was smothered in smoke from the awful BC forest fires. On the plus side, it did make some really pretty colours.
- This look was achieved with one OCF camera to soften her body, whilst making his body much more defined and pop. It’s always fun to see what can be done with such simple tools, most of the time I love the simplicity of 1 light, it can add so much to an otherwise flat natural light image.
Meet Eliza, a personal trainer in Edmonton, AB. A super nice girl, fun to hang out with and great in front of the camera. We have done a few sessions together the past couple of years, she modelled for some work with another personal trainer, and modelled in a studio session to help out a HMUA who had just moved the YEG from out east.
- After securing permission to shoot at this location we spent the sunset hours capturing some edgy fitness images. One OCF was needed to make her pop from the background and make this image look almost photoshopped.