Photo Shoot & Technique: “You’ll be a Man, my Son”

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: March 9, 2011

Category: Videos

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.

•    •    •

Ok so let’s move on and cover a little bit of the lighting and editing involved…

White Seamless
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.

Composite Image
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…

•    •    •

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,
Enjoy 🙂

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16 Comments

  1. DaveT

    Inspiring, emotive, technical and detailed – a great mix. Thanks
    Dave

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @DaveT…Thanks for that mate

      Reply
  2. daniela

    dear glyn, as usual thank you so much for your inspiring and interesting explanations.
    could you go a bit more into detail regarding the step “Enhance details using a blend mode and blurring technique” i’m a bit surprised that a blurring technique would enhance detail… and i’d be interested to know which blend modes can lead to more details..
    also, is there any advise you can give on posing people? these two were no pros so i imagine you had to give them instructions on how to stand, how to look, how to do this and that. my own experience in this field is _very_ limited and i often find that i overlook a detail that will ruin the whole picture or that by giving too many instructions the subject will tense up and not look natural anymore…
    once again, thank you!
    daniela

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Daniela…Thanks for dropping in and taking the time to comment; it’s great to ‘hear’ that the posts come in handy 🙂

      Re the technique for enhancing details using a blend mode and blurring technique, you can see a video on my YouTube page that covers exactly that. The video shows me working on bringing details out in a car but the technique is exactly the same; here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeE3la8dumA

      With regards to posing people, to be honest what I’ve found helps me is spending time with the ‘client’ beforehand and getting to know them. This goes a long way into them becoming more relaxed with you and in turn not being so tense infront of the camera. I’ll also have a good 15 minute or so of shooting at the start for no other reason than for us both to get ‘in the zone’ and most times these images aren’t ones I’ll end up using but it helps again to get whoever you are photographing to start to become ‘less’ aware of the camera…does that make sense.

      100% of the time though I do tend to get really into the shoot; music blasting out and I’m really quite vocal at times which I’ve been told on more than one occasion by who I’m shooting helped alot because I wasn’t just holding a camera and shooting.

      Hope that makes sense, but if all else fails bring along some bottles of wine…only kidding 🙂
      All the best to you,
      Glyn

      Reply
  3. Mark Robinson

    Glyn, as usual superb images. One question for you – can you explain how you increase contrast using Unsharp Mask. I apologise if you have explained this before, but I am relatively new to your blog (never miss a post now though!!).

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Mark…Thanks for commenting mate. Re your question about adding contrast, I’ll have a walk through tutorial on the blog covering exactly that on Monday.

      Cheers 🙂

      Reply
  4. Chanel

    Superb as usual Glyn. The before and after pics are fab!!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Chanel…Thanks for that 🙂

      Reply
  5. kelley

    Great instruction as always. Of course my favorite part was the beginning of the blog and the poem. You know me I like the story behind the people. Thanks for the morning tears, and inspiration.
    Such rich stuff!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Kelley…Totally hear you there; thanks 🙂

      Reply
  6. Christopher

    Wow you really livened those pictures up. Those are excellent images. They depict more then just clean shot pictures too!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Christopher…Very kind of you to say; thanks

      Reply
  7. Dmitriy

    Hi, you work inspire me, watch youtube with you. Thanks for sharing secrets.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Dmitriy…You’re welcome mate; thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply
  8. daniela

    thank you so much! i had actually seen that video of course, but hadn’t paid so much attention to the technique back then. that is some crazy stuff there glyn, you really are a magician with photoshop. unbelievable. thank you very much for sharing, sir!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Daniela, thank you for checking back in on the blog and for the continued support; I really do appreciate it 🙂

      Reply

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