Marketing cutouts for gym client

April 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

And now for something completely different: shooting marketing images for a gym and leisure operator. 

I was asked to shoot a whole days' worth of commercial grade images for use in various marketing outputs across the coming year.  The images would be on leaflets, on websites, and also posters.

Because of the variety of end uses I knew two things would be crucial to a job well done: image detail would have to be high so as to print to large formats, and lighting would need to be finely controlled for a sophisticated and glossy finish.

We set up in a large room at the leisure centre, rolling out a wide white backdrop from high to low and across the floor.  All images were destined to be cut out by the designers and so shooting against a pure white background makes their edit job much easier.

For lighting, I used Profotos for the best quality; the colour and power is consistent and they go all day without dropping a frame.  I have two heads balanced at almost equal power either side of the camera and equidistant from the model: one shooting through a large octabox down to the model and the other pointing directly up and bouncing off the ceiling.  This second light ensured a decent edge light whilst also knocking the background to white.  There's a third light on the backdrop to ensure the white is truly true.  This is about as simple a setup as it gets and I know I can shoot with this all day long.

Everyone seems to have their own approach when exposing for studio conditions indoors.  For me, I like to dial in at f8.0, set shutter at 160th and the ISO as low as I know I can take the lights.  To keep noise at a minimum on these particular images i'm going with ISO100.  Setting my camera exposure means I'm in control of every creative aspect and can then dial in the lighting power as I require it.  I also like to add one light at a time so I can properly see how each light is affecting the final image.

Once the lighting was in place I knew I would need to hold a fairly standard shooting position and focal length: both factors would ensure a consistent look to the images.  Too low and the angle would be unflattering, and shooting too wide could easily distort the model.

Establishing all these things before starting to shoot means I have a dependable workflow for the whole day.  And boy was it a day!  Photographing half a dozen models (most of whom were staff or centre users, interestingly) in a variety of set poses and utilising a whole bunch of gym equipment meant we shot a lot of photos!

  

After the studio session I was asked if I could grab a quick picture to help promote the centre's leisure programme for pregnant women.  We set up outside on the grass and I asked our lovely mums-to-be to demonstrate an aerobic pose whilst smiling.  I popped in the pushchairs for a little extra authenticity, and also kept the skyline of Canary Wharf in the background for a little local appeal.

All three mums are lit by a single Profoto head via soft box coming in camera left.  The deliberately put the lighter skinned mother on the far right side as I knew the light would fall off on that side.  I think we got a neat picture!

 


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