fot. Łukasz Skwiot



American football is a high-energy, dynamic, and intense sport. For the second time I had the opportunity to take pre-season photos of the Wrocław Panthers team, the current Polish Champion and one of the top teams in Europe. Team roster sessions are always a big challenge, especially from the logistics side. Including the players and staff, there are over 60 people on the team. Developing a sound concept and action plan is vital.



The end photos were to be used for the purposes of team marketing - to create graphics, posters, advertisements, etc. The main idea was to create photos that work best in this role. We shot two sets of outfits - black and white, so I used a classic grey background, which was to be removed in post anyway. However, I would not be myself if I did not offer some extra shots with less obvious lighting and effects.



After determining the concept, it's time to choose the equipment. The key was choosing the right lighting. My choice of lighting was Quadralite, more specifically the Atlas Pro 600 TTL. Why? The technical parameters of these lights were in this case as important as their physical arrangement on the set. The Atlas series has several important advantages - an efficient battery and the possibility of connecting to a power source. It enabled me to work without worrying about the lack of electricity, and the reliability of Quadralite’s flashes makes them a staple for these commercial projects. In addition, the efficient burst mode and the short duration of the flash itself have proved to be very useful when shooting smoke, causing it to perfectly "freeze" in the frame. This was complemented by the Quadralite Navigator X Plus radio controller; it works very intuitively, and any quick lighting changes are trouble-free. In this type of session, where I constantly modify and adapt the lighting setup for every person/model, the remote trigger is probably the most important thing guaranteeing smooth operation.



The basic photo setup was based on 3 lights; the main light source from above, and a strong backlight. This is one of my favorite setups for these sessions. For the headlight, I mounted Quadralite Flex Foldable Beauty-Dish (85cm version). This is a great solution - a combination of a beauty dish and a traditional softbox with one modifier. The large, silver dish gives me strong and sharp lighting, and when I need to soften the light, it was often enough to attach two diffusers to work like the classic softbox. Compact dimensions (for transport) and quick assembly are advantages that I do not need to mention. It was all mounted on a boom tripod centrally positioned in front of the player, shining from above at a fairly large angle. The other two lights created backlighting, which in this case I used to emphasize the silhouettes of players and build a more "aggressive" image. Football is, after all, an intense, full contact sport, so it was one of the looks I wanted to create. Setting the lights like this allowed me to outline each player’s silhouette, effectively cutting them off from the background, which is very useful during editing.



It's time for the most important part: theory! I'll show you some of the shots we created.

For the first photo; the most important thing about this type of photography was the proper helmet and face lighting. I wanted to achieve contrasting shadows the player’s face, emphasizing the face’s features, such as the eyes, and also on the helmet; the intention was to limit the strong reflections from the light.


fot. Łukasz Skwiot

fot. Łukasz Skwiot


There can also be some darker and less „punchy” shots. I love the reflections in the helmet's visor, but it's one of the hardest things to capture. The key to creating this photo was setting up the lights in the proper way. A side light and a set of reflectors allowed me to achieve this effect.


fot. Łukasz Skwiot


It's time for the last stage of the session, i.e. "special effects". Last year I went with dust, and this year, not wanting to duplicate the idea again, the team and I chose to use two different versions of smoke.


fot. Łukasz Skwiot


We used smoke grenades for photos on the field of the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw. The colors have been chosen to easily display the colors of the team and of the sponsors, and so they contrast well with the uniforms. For these photos, the greatest advantage of the Atlas 600 Pro TTL was that it’s highly mobile, while also having incredible battery power and battery life.


fot. Łukasz Skwiot

fot. Łukasz Skwiot

fot. Łukasz Skwiot

fot. Łukasz Skwiot



In summary - the equipment proved to be perfect. The lights kept to their parameters, which, with such an important and long session, is very important as it saves us time when editing photos. Power, mobility, a short flash time, serial mode, and very efficient cooling are the most important advantages that make the Quadralite Atlas 600 Pro TTL the perfect companion for sports photoshoots.







Text and photos - Łukasz Skwiot

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