I was honored to be asked to photograph the THS Lady Tiger volleyball teams this year, with only one request from the coach. She wanted something "Different," especially for the varsity squad.
Last year they took pictures with flowers at the Dallas Arboretum, so I went the opposite route, looking for something a little bit rougher around the edges. The school maintenance facility had some nice surfaces for backgrounds including a loading dock, wooden fence and sheet metal siding, so I gave that a shot. The facilities director was super cool about it and even provided us with an extension cord. Thank you!
The varsity shoot was early in the morning to beat the bright sun. That said, by the time we wrapped up around 9:30 I was already using the lights cranked up to full power to compensate.
For the girls who wanted to do individual shots, the sun made a nice rim light as well.
Luckily for me, these girls were willing to put up with acting a little bit goofy for the camera.
Sometimes great things just happen during a shoot. This time, a gentleman parked across the street in a perfectly red classic Mustang. He obliged the ladies and let us include it in their photos, and the coach had the idea to fill the empty grill hole with volleyballs. That really made the shoot a lot more fun.
For the JV and Freshmen teams, it was a rapid-fire shoot in the gym during their athletics time. All told it was two team shots and some 21 individuals in about 45 minutes.
Even though it was in the gym, I still wanted a different look than you typically get from sports photos.
For the teams, I tried using the floor reflection, which turned out (I think) kind of neat.
I took some team photos closer as well to save detail in the players, but I like the reflection.
For the individuals, I used a large "T" that is made into the bleachers as the background. The subjects are lit with a 3x4' softbox pretty close to camera left and a silver reflector on the other side of the net to camera right. A separate light is on the background, which is at least 50' away.
This is in a fully lit gym. To kill the ambient light, I used a low ISO (100) and high-ish shutter speed (1/200). Here is what it looked like without the background light.. if I had flagged off the main light from the background, it would be totally black.
Obviously, too much fun. Thanks to the volleyball ladies for asking me to do this. This is what you will be showing your grandkids in 40 years!
Tech info.. these were lit with Elinchrom bxri500 and bx400 lights fired by skyports.