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Photographing Boxer Peter Quillen for ESPN the Magazine – Dustin Snipes

By Chris Nachtwey on June 5th 2014

I have always been drawn towards photographs of athletes, especially individuals vs. teams. Teams are great, but there is something very cool about seeing a great photograph of an individual athlete in their element, with a touch of their personality shining through. When it comes to boxers, I think we all think about how they are all in good shape. As a photographer that is a major part of making a portrait of a boxer, you need to highlight their body and all the hours of work they put in to be in that great of shape.

In the Broncolor sponsored video below, go behind the scenes with Dustin Snipes as he talks about his lighting techniques to highlight boxer, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillen’s body and personality for ESPN the Magazine.

REWIND: BTS AT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: HOW TO GET TWO DIFFERENT LOOKS AT THE SAME TIME

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Lighting

Dustin uses a good mix of Broncolor strobes and light modifiers to make these images. Dustin knew that Peter would be punching bags and moving around a lot, so he needed strobes that had fast flash durations to stop any motion blur. To achieve this, he dialed up the flash duration of his Scoro Broncolor packs and reduced their power, and doubled up on both the front and back strobes to provided the desired lighting. This allowed Dustin to stop any motion blur, and “freeze” Peters movements for the images.

Dustin used a mix of a beauty dish overhead, looking down on his subject to really cut into the muscles and show them off and added a fill light to catch the shadows being thrown on him by the other lights. Finally, he used a reflector behind his subject to highlight the back of the head and shoulders, and two sidelights directed at the side of his body to highlight his oblique’s and pectoral muscles when he would swing.

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I really enjoyed this behind the scenes for two reasons. One, I loved seeing how a photographer is able to “freeze” the motion in action with a fast flash duration, (yes, speedlights will not do the trick, this is one of those cases where good strobes are needed). Second, it was just plain cool to see great images of a boxer doing his thing. I thought the images came out great, and really nailed the mixture of highlighting Peter’s body and personality

Via: Broncolor Youtube channel/ Images via screencaps

 

Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

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