A Fitness Shoot: Working It Out In Black and White

A short time ago I contracted to undertake a fitness shoot.  The images were for use online and for print collateral.  The proposed facility for the shoot was a state-of-the-art spacious fitness club with neutral color walls and lit by daylight balanced fluorescent tubes and the shoot involved two to three people exercising.  While the facility had mirrors, they were well-placed, and the sheer volume of the space would allow great flexibility in photographing different exercises from various angles.  Needless to say, I was stoked. 


Fast forward to a week and a half before the scheduled shoot.  The space the client originally proposed for the shoot was unavailable, and they were looking to me for help.  Rather than rescheduling the shoot, I made a few phone calls and worked out access to another facility.  There were, however, constraints:  1) the shoot had to take place either before they opened or after they closed; 2) the facility was small in comparison to original and filled to the brim with equipment; 3) the walls were various colors and hardly neutral and; 4) there was a hodgepodge of lighting types in various areas with little of it placed optimally relative to the equipment.  What’s a photographer to do?  I explained the conditions to the client, and they still wanted to go forward. 


The shoot was set up for Sunday morning at 6:45 am.  We would have approximately an hour to work.  In thinking about the lighting, I decided to take the minimalist approach, and took a  Canon Ex 580II flash as a non firing master, a 430 II flash(slave) mounted in a Lastolite 15″ Ezy Box Hotshoe unit for fill.  I didn’t want an obvious flash look.  Given the color issues-equipment, mirrors, wall and light temperature, grey card not withstanding, I knew that I would be converting most of the images to black and white.


This was one of those rare, no make that very rare instances that I actually ran late, as one of my dogs was sick that morning.  So instead of starting shooting at 6:45, I was just arriving at 7:00, which meant that we had lost 15 minutes of shooting time.  The good news was that by 7:35 we had completed shots of exercises for all the major body parts plus cardio.  By 7:45 my cameras and lights were bagged and we were walking out of the gym.  Had I not made a “pre” trip to the facility and walked it, the 35-minute photo shoot would have been impossible. 


The most difficult aspect of the shoot was making sure that there was adequate line of sight between the master and slave flashes.


And here are some of the images from the shoot:


February 2009
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Eva Cassidy - Over the Rainbow, Rascal Flatts - Unstoppable, Renee Olsstead - A Love That Will Last, Train - Hey Soul Sister, Trisha Yearwood - How Do I Live, Jason DeRulo - Whatcha Say, Byron Kelsey Atkinson - The Love That Heals, Luther Vandross - Love Forgot, Patti Austin - True Love, Phyllis Hyman - No One Could Love You More, Keisha Cole with Monica - Trust, Shontelle - Impossible, Nickelback - This Afternoon, JayZ with Ms. Keyes - Empire State of Mind



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