Behind the Scenes – Softball Action Portraits

Cody, one of my Senior Models, and her sister Brianna met up with me to do some softball action portraits as a test of the high speed sync capabilities of the Strobies ProFlash 360 by Interfit Photographic.    Unfortunately the dirt on the infield of Sandpoint High School’s field was not the softest in the world which made sliding a bit more difficult (and painful) than I expected.  I have to give a big thank you to Cody who definitely sacrificed her body for these photos, the hard dirt near home plate ended up giving her a little bit of road rash . . .  sorry and thanks Cody!  Also a big thank you Cody and Bri’s dad who came out and put down the lines on the field for us so we would have more of an in game feeling to the images.

For this shoot I used three ProFlash 360 units, set on full power high speed sync.  The photos were shot with a Canon 1DX with a 17-40 f4 lens with a circular polarizing filter on front.  I could have achieved a faster shutter speed without the filter but I like the deeper blue I get in the sky when I use this filter.

The first shot that we set up was at third base.   We tried it at first with Cody wearing a helmet but in every shot it was too hard to see her face through the protective face mask so we cheated and placed the helmet in the frame to make it look like if flew off of her head during the slide.  We also did another cheat, before we had Cody do any sliding we threw the ball to Brianna and took a photo of the ball flying toward her mitt.  Unlike capturing photos during a game when I can shoot 12 frames a second I only get one take per slide so rather than risking having the ball be in the wrong spot or worse yet hit Cody during the slide we photographed it separately and added it in with Photoshop.  It is always my goal to get the shot in the least number of attempts and these two cheats helped immensely to limit how many times we had to have Cody slide.  Here is the final image, shot at 1/2000 and f4:

Softball action portrait of a slide at third base

Next Brianna put on her catching gear and we set up for a play at the plate.  Like before we started with a clean shot of the ball without Cody sliding to use in Photoshop later.  Here is a pull back shot of our lighting set up, you can also see out setup in the behind the scenes video at the bottom of this post.

softball action portrait behind the scenes

Here is our final image shot at 1/1000 and f5.0:

softball action portrait slide at home plate

Now, as promised here is a quick behind the scenes video from our shoot.  You can watch it here or on YouTube at this link: Cody and Brianna Softball Action Portraits

Since doing this testing I have receive the latest strobe by Interfit Photographic, the Interfit S1, which I will now be using as my go to for all of my on location portraits and action portraits.  Like the ProFlash 360 these strobes have high speed sync capability to be able to do actin portraits like this one.  They are bigger than the ProFlash 360 units but they have a built in battery instead of an external battery and they pack a bit more power with 500 watt seconds as opposed to 360 watt seconds.  Through my partnership with Interfit my readers and social media followers can save 10% on all of their products.  Just order directly from InterfitPhotographic.com and use the coupon code “DUCHOW10” (all caps) when you check out.

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)
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