When I posted this image of Kassidy Kenny the other day someone commented (actually in her mom's post when she reshared it on Facebook) "who took this and how did they do it?". Well I thought I would briefly show how this image was created.
Just to give a quick background, this is not an original pose. I saw an image like browsing through images in a Google search. I loved the image and when I knew I was going to take Kassidy's pics and her being a catcher I was going to use it.
Now here is a general layout of how I took the picture:
As you can tell from the final image, I was laying on the ground right in front of home plate as low as I could get and still comfortably hold my camera. I shot in manual mode so I could sync my flashes with the camera sync speed of 1/250 of a second. I used a hatchet lighting setup that is my normal setup for an athlete. This includes a single flash almost directly over my head as the key light with a 32" Octo-Umbrella with layer of diffusion to soften the light on her face and spread the light over her entire body. I didn't record the flash power it was set on but it was about 50-60% power if I remember correctly. I then have a flash on either side and slightly behind her pointing directly at her shoulders. These are uncovered to create a harder light along each side of her. These also create hard shadows as well which really add contrast and drama to the shot. These were set at a lesser power than the key light but once again, didn't record the levels.
|My original shot out of camera|
To get the deep blue sky and darken the background I used a relatively small aperture to underexpose it. Although I had a wide angle lens, I cropped it down to 20mm to get rid of stuff that may distract from my subject. My settings were ISO 200, f/8, 1/250, 20mm
After importing into Adobe Lightroom I did some initial processing that involved slight Contrast, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpening. I also cropped the image to center up Kassidy and the plate in the image.
Then I sent the file to Photoshop to do some more advanced editing. I use a high pass filter for sharpening. Then I used the dodging and burning tools to really pull the accents out in the highlights and shadows the rim lights created. The next step is to use luminosity masks to darken the background without changing the foreground. A Gaussien Blur was applied to make the colors pop.
Then I noticed that I really didn't like the blue sky and stairs visible on the right of the image. I used a rectangle marquis tool to copy and paste the section of the brick wall on the building in the background and moved it over to cover up the distracting sky and stairs.
Once back in Lightroom, I added a bit more Clarity and then applied a John G Moore Classic Colour Lightroom Preset called Nostalgia. It darkened the background even more and slightly de-saturated the ground but still allowed great color on the reds and blues in her uniform. This gave it that gritty look that I wanted and really set Kassidy out away from the background and put the finishing touches on the image.
Hope this was helpful and gave some insight to what goes through my head both pre and post processing of an image.
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