Tutorial: Shooting the Army, part 2

When we’re able to do it, we will produce another video of this shoot, showing how it was done. Meanwhile, let’s get on with the tutorial…

Part 1 of this tutorial covered the early, static shots, designed to show off the new sponsored Rugby Strip and Rugby Ball for the 2016 season.
Jamie then did some shots using our fog machine. It’s just about the cheapest fog machine there is, courtesy of Ebay, and it produces more than enough fog for any shots that we’ve wanted to do so far. The only problem with fog machines is that once the fog is out there, you can’t put it back in the bottle – energetic fanning with a 5-in-1 reflector, and having a large studio, does help to disperse it but it still takes time for things to get back to normal, so fog shots need to be taken late in the day. Fog works best when it’s either sidelit or backlit, so that’s what we did, and we deliberately created a bit of flare too. A useful tip with fog maches is to get at least some of the fog in front of the subject, because if it’s all behind then it doesn’t look real.


Fog in front of the subject, as well as behind

To get the flare, Jamie simply added another light, right at the back and pointing towards the camera. There are various ways of doing this, the light can be fitted with a honeycomb (which we did here) to control the amount of flare, and it can also be gelled, which again we did, to add a false colour for effect.

With added flare

With added flare

And when the fog had cleared, we moved on to some action shots.


Trying for a Try

The plan was there there would be a nice big crash mat for the guys and girls to land on, but nothing ever goes exactly to plan and Jamie had to make do with an air bed instead – which would be fine if only they could land on something that small and avoid the Lencarta studio concrete floor when they launched themselves through the air…

But these are army guys who also play rugby, and they just got on with it, not once but time and time again until Jamie was happy with the shots. I’ve photographed a lot of people over a lot of years, and I’ve never seen such crazy people dedicated models.

Lighting-wise, it was simple enough. We used 3 of our SuperFast flash heads, because they are the only flash heads capable of completely freezing the very fast action. The re-takes were needed simply because it was difficult to get the all-important ball in exactly the right position and because we wanted each shot to be completely genuine, which meant that there would be no straigtening of the soldiers in PP.

One flash was arranged high above each dive, fitted with a big softbox that provided lighting on the top, and attached to a boom arm. Jamie was shooting from a low angle, looking up to create the required hero effect, so the light from the overhead softbox was lighting on their backs, which couldn’t be seen, but it did a good job of both lighting the hair and creating a rimlight.

Ane another flash was placed each side of the airbed, each fitted with one of our strip softboxes, rotated so that it was horizontal, to light the entire length of the subject. Each of these softboxes was a long way away, partly so that they created hard lighting, and partly because we didn’t want anyone missing the airbed and squashing them 🙂


Now where’s that airbed?


Anything a man can do, I can do better

Jamie set his Sony Camera in “machine gun” mode, taking 10 shots per second, which meant that it was using no more than half of the fast recycling capabilty of the SuperFast flash heads, and this gave several possible shots from each dive.

And that’s all there was to it… We’ve been asked why we went to so much trouble to facilitate this shoot – well, it was a pleasure and no trouble at all. Jamie got the whole shoot done in just one day, his shots will keep the sponsors happy and the Army is happy too, and the shots go some way towards the success of the forces charity fundraising effort.

And, as well as being very supportive of our military, here at Lencarta we have the facilities, equipment and expertise needed, and we’re the only lighting supplier that can make this type of shoot happen.