Recently I was hired by Red Bull to take photos of 3 time Olympian and current Dancing with the Stars contestant Lolo Jones for various marketing and editorial purposes.
This was the second time I was able to work with Lolo. The first time the shoot leaned more towards action and track and field, but this time we were working in a dance studio in Santa Monica CA and got to explore some “softer” less sweaty portraits.
The shoot took place before it was announced that she would be on the show, so my assistant and I had to sign NDA’s (none disclosure agreements) before starting our shoot. NDA’s are there to basically keep us from spilling the news before the official announcement. (these are usually on hand when photographing products that haven’t been released yet too)
My favorite photo from the shoot has to be from the mirror setup. It was a shot that wasn't really on the shot list but I knew I wanted to try it. But there are definite drawbacks to shooting into 3 different mirrors with lights. Because, turns out...mirrors reflect everything!
To fix this, I placed a black 5x7 popup background behind me (which i bring to every shoot because you never know when it will come in handy) and I also wore dark clothing to minimize my reflection as much as possible.
The most important part of this shot was the positioning of the lights. The light had to be minimal because I had to hide the light from 3 different mirrors. I used 2 MobiLED heads with P65 reflectors with 30o grids on them to help keep the light focused and from reflecting back into the camera.
One of the lights was placed very high and almost completely overhead and the angle was pointed at her chest and the other light head was low (about 2 feet off the ground) pointed back at her face to fill in the shadows the overhead light was producing. By using two lights this enabled me to keep her lit properly without the reflection that would come from a soft box pointing straight on.
To get the lighting for some of the other shots, I placed a large silver umbrella in front of the door to the dance studio to mimic what the sun was doing but with the strobe I could get a higher intensity of light. (I also used this modifier on lower power in other shots to give a silver highlight on her skin.) There was also a white beauty dish in the opposite corner of the studio to give a highlight when needed.
The main light for the rest of the shots was a Para 88 with the adjustment arm pulled all the way out for a nice soft effect on her skin.
3 Broncolor Move 1200L packs
4 heads 1 Para 88
2 P65 Reflectors
2 30o reflector grids
1 Large silver umbrella
Camera Nikon D810 2470 2.8 1424 2.8 70200 2.8 85 1.4