Post Match Portaits / by Conor Cunningham

Some weeks ago I was intending to shooting an indoor game of AFL (Aussie Rules Football) on a Sunday afternoon. I've been wanting to shoot more with off-camera flash and I thought that shooting the players post-match might be a good way to practice.

I brought along along two lightstands, two snoots (Rogue flashbenders), a 106 cm (42 inches) umbrella and two flashes. The idea was simple: flash and umbrella camera left at about 2 meters from the ground with something like Loop or Rembrandt lighting.

The boys where tired and so I worked as fast as I could, and in hindisight I should have slowed down and check the pictures better. The first image used a snooted flash, again camera left but it was missing its target and shone too directly onto the subject.

Completely missed with the separation light.

Completely missed with the separation light.

Knowing the lads where thirsty, tired and hungry, I simply ditched the separation light (second flash). I also used a colour correcting orange gel for the rest of the shots to try and balance the indoor tungsten with the flash.

This chap scored some cracking goals

The above fellow was next up. Again, I worked quickly and didn't pay too much attention to detail. I would have liked to have gotten nicer shadows.

My cycling buddy.

My cycling buddy.

Well, you can certainly see the orange gel coming through, but I think it works to an extent. In highsight I could have used a slightly cooler gel, but I do like the effect it has on the face given they subjects have all been running for 90 or so minutes.


This image is probably my favourite. I don't know this gentleman, but he was kind enough to pose for me. I think the shadow under his left (camera right) eye works and his smile is genuine. Light shadow under his chin and his face pops out from the background.

At this point you've probably noticed that I have heavily vignetted all of these images. The background wasn't exactly pretty and there were people all over the place, so I shot at f/1.8 at added the vignetting in post to focus more on the subject.


I'm now happy with where might light is and the exposure seems just enough to make the faces pop out from the background. Unfortunately, I think this image suffers from too much orange gel. Again, would have liked to have used a cooler gel. Next time.


Chin out, drop your shoulders and smile. The camera only sees in 2D and sticking your chin out helps define ones jawline and remove any double chin (which all of us have if we tuck our chins close to our throat).


Last but not least, a classic sport star pic. Get down lower than your subject to make them look big. I should however have used a high f-stop as the ball isn't sharp.

Overall, I enjoyed this particular little shoot, but there are a few things I can take away from it.

  • Have things ready to go before your subjects are there (if possible)
  • Don't rush yourself
  • Review your images and exposure
  • Check your images for sharpness/focus
  • Get the lighting right!

All images were shot with a Canon 85mm f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/160 second with the flash at 1/32 power.