Ok so you may be thinking what on earth the title of this post has to do with the following photos; well let me explain…
Without going into too much detail I’m not a Dad nor did I have what could have been described as a ‘close’ relationship with my own Dad. Maybe it’s for these reasons that I regularly find my heart strings being pulled when I see anything be it on TV, in a movie or in day to day life where there’s a strong relationship between father and son. Geez even now as a 30 something I can find myself ‘welling up’ and having to either try to hide the fact or turn away so whoever is near me doesn’t notice; I guess it’s a self preservation thing. Funny how no matter what age I get, these feelings never leave…I can deal with them in my own way, but they never leave.
Anyway the relevance of all this is that a recent shoot saw me photographing an Ice Hockey Player who just happen to be a good friend of mine and his 8 year old son who also plays.
Now I’ll leave all the ‘techy’ side of the shoot to the end of this post but for now I just wanted to say that the relationship between Mike and his 8 year old son Laurence is everything a father and son relationship should be. Just talking to Mike and knowing him as I do, you can just feel the love and strong bond that he has with his son; the two of them are inseparable and it’s clear that the solid values instilled by both parents has shaped Laurence into a wonderful young man.
It was actually my suggestion for the shoot knowing that Mike was an ice hockey player and me having a clear idea of the kind of images I wanted to make and bringing Laurence along was something we spoke about a couple of days beforehand. It just seemed the perfect subject to shoot on the white seamless set up and reflective floor that I use which could give the impression of being on ice; but more of that in a short while.
Having worked through the shoot I asked Mike if there was any kind of logo or saying that he could think of that would be relevant to a ‘Father and Son’ and that I could maybe incorporate as text beneath one of the photos.
Mike immediately suggested a poem titled ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling as being one that would fit perfectly and is used regularly across the sport world, and my how right he was as each time I listen to this the hair stands up on the back of my neck…
It’s at times like this I’m reminded just how important photographs are as I find myself thinking that in say 20, 30, 40 years time Laurence will be able to look back at this series of images remembering the days shoot and proudly saying ‘That’s my Dad’; and that’s something really special and something I thank photography for.
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Ok so let’s move on and cover a little bit of the lighting and editing involved…
First off the shots with the white background were taking in the studio using my white seamless set up and reflective flooring…
The reflective flooring which is basically two 8′ x 4′ sheets of glossy white PVC is starting to show signs of age now having been used on many occasions but for this particular shoot this was ideal as the scratches helped to give the effect of being on ice…
One thing to note when trying to get decent reflections using this set up is that your shooting position is vitally important. Shoot from too high and you won’t catch enough of the light reflecting off the back wall to turn the floor to brilliant white nor will you catch a good reflection; best results for me always come from shooting towards the subject from the kneeling position.
As for the composite image at the top of the page, this was a 3 light set up…
Editing in Photoshop
To give you an idea of some of the editing involved here’s a couple of ‘Before’ and ‘After’ images showing what the images were like straight out of camera and then once they’d been edited…
So what was done?
- New background added
- Brighten/Sharpen Eyes
- Add contrast to skin
- Dodge and Burn face and clothing
- Enhance details using a blend mode and blurring technique
- Alter the overall colour using a colour balance adjustment layer
- Increase contrast using the Unsharp Mask filter
- Darken edges with a vignette
The same techniques all except for adding in the background and altering the colour were done to the image below too…
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So there you have it, a breakdown of the lighting and post production for some of the shots from this Ice Hockey Shoot in the studio.
As always if you have any questions or comments about anything within this post then please feel free to make use of the comments section below. Also if there’s a Photoshop technique you’d like me to explain then again, feel free to ‘shout out’ in the comments section and I’ll look at putting together a walk through or video covering it.
In the meantime,