Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 1

Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 1

Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 1

All photos Copyright Jamie Rowland, Lencarta competition winner

Flag flying over "Lencarta Towers"

Flag flying over “Lencarta Towers”

One of our customers, Jamie Rowland of Manicman Photography, won 1st prize in one of our monthly competitions, and part of his prize was a day in our studio. Jamie is ex army and for personal reasons he supports Help for Heros and various other charities for military personal.

Here at Lencarta, we fully support our military – not just because we supply the various military branches with their lighting equipment, but because we believe in them.  In fact, one of our guys is a reservist himself.

Para + Rugby Player = good security 🙂

So, Jamie came along with a group of army personnel from various regiments. The guy below right is 6’6″ and built like a… rugby player. I can’t say that I’m the type who worries too much about security, but I didn’t even think about security while those guys were here 🙂

JumboPara used for fill

JumboPara used for fill

The video shows what happened – as you can see, it was great fun! Later, we’ll produce a second video showing the technical aspects.

Some of the shots were simple photos of the Rugby Strip and Rugby Ball, needed for the strip and ball sponsors. Rugby players are pretty tough, and so are military people, combine those two togther and what’s needed is hard lighting – so for most of these shots, we simply used two of our Profold Strip Softboxes, one each side, each fitted with a honeycomb, to skim light across the front. Each of these was fitted to a low level Combination light stand, so that the softboxes could be at the right height without tilting them, which is essential.  Because of the size of the groups, we placed the strip softboxes as far away as possible, so that the lighting from them was both extremely hard and so that the light fall-off over distance didn’t create uneven exposure, with much more light on the people at the edges of the shot. On some shots, we used just a touch of fill flash too, and the nearest tool to hand was our large JumboPara, ideal because it’s so big that it doesn’t matter if the photographer is standing directly in front of it and blocking some of the light.

Strip softbox each side of the group

Strip softbox each side of the group

And the flash heads used were our SuperFast – they were needed for  some shots (in part 2 of this tutorial) that involved the guys and girls diving with a rugby ball, the idea was to get the shot whilst they were in the air and just before they landed on the crash mat.  These were the only shots that actually needed the SuperFast heads, but of course there was no reason not to use them for the shots that didn’t need their very short flash duration and ultra fast recycling, so we used them for everything.

Without honeycombed light on the ball

Without honeycombed light on the ball

Back to our Rugby Strip shots – this is very similar but also includes a ball, so an extra light, fitted with a 10 degree honeycomb, was used to light the ball. The shot on the right is with the lighting just on the man, before Jamie added the light on the rugby ball.

Strip softboxes used each side, plus a 20 degree honeycombed light on the ball

Strip softboxes used each side, plus a 20 degree honeycombed light on the ball

BTS shot

BTS shot

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With honeycombed light added to the rugby ball

And, to make it more interesting, Jamie took rugby shots of them wearing their No.1 uniforms too. Obviously, we don’t see Royal Marines, Paratroopers or anyone else playing rugby in their smart uniforms but photography isn’t always about reality is it?

Part 2 of this tutorial will cover some shots taken with a fog machine added into the mix, and finally we moved on to the very dramatic action shots that I mentioned a couple of paragraph earlier.

"War face", No.2 uniform

“War face”, No.2 uniform

Another No.2 uniform shot

Another No.2 uniform shot