Out of the camera
Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting kick boxer Luke Whelan for UK Fight Site capturing what his day to day life entails. Near the end of the session, we decided to shoot a couple of portraits in his native gym.
As a photographer, the journey from novice to professional is a very long and winding one. For me, the eureka moment was improving my relationship with light. Once you know aperture, shutter speed and ISO inside out, photography becomes less about settings and more about what story you're trying to convey. With experience, you can spot little pockets of amazing light which will give you a really effective photograph. With this in mind, a certain corner of the gym had me very excited.
Being a sunny day, the open door at the entrance was letting a huge amount of directional light in. Luckily for me, it was also hitting the wall opposite where I positioned Luke, meaning it diffused the light perfectly. Additionally, there were two small windows above the camera left and right illuminating the edges of Luke's face - it was a natural light box!
With the natural light doing the hard work, my next decision was how to compose the portrait. I decided to shoot very tight to make Luke's eyes the focus. Especially as the lighting situation gave him nice catch lights. A low aperture meant the background would be nice and blurry too.
Here is the raw file right out of the camera.
Not too much editing was needed for this photograph as the foundations were set by the environment - more specifically the incredible light. As mentioned earlier, I composed the photo in tight meaning the eyes were the focus. So a conversion to black and white, a touch of clarity and brightening up luke's eyes were the only adjustments needed.
Over the years and with experience, you get to know the photos that need a lot of editing and ones that need very little. It's so tempting to over edit but if a scene has flattering light, the hard work is done for you. As the old saying goes, less is sometimes more.
Here is the finished photograph