Black Belt Shoot - Thanet Taekwondo Academy - Ben Bowles

Anybody who has heard me talk about photography will hear me bang on about how it can give you access to amazing people doing amazing things. This shoot was no different. Based at the Thanet Taekwondo Academy in Margate, the shoot was photographing the black belts of the club with a mixture of standard portraits and action shots.

Having around 30 minutes with each martial artist, the first port of call was to shoot a portrait under lights. I set up two lights to camera right at 90 degrees and a black reflector to camera left. The result was the subject's left side being well lit with just shadows on the right. I wanted to create a dynamic black and white photograph with big contrast to give all the black belts a dramatic look. This set up gave me the look I was after!

After the portraits it was a case of getting creative. The real challenge for this part of the shoot was creating a kinetic shot that had a candid feel to it. I also wanted the focus to be totally on the martial artist. By bouncing the flash off the ceiling, it had the dual effect of illuminating the subject and making the background very dark.

In terms of the photos they wanted,  all the martial artists brought something different to the shoot. We had back flips, muscle ups, block breaking, patterns, kicks and punches. As a photographer, the variation kept me on my toes all day and - as always with the Taekwondo Academy - it was an absolute privilege to work with such talent.

Massive thanks to Chief instructor Jamaine Hemmings for organising the shoot.

You can follow the Thanet Taekwondo on Insta @thanettkd


Benjamin x

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