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As you get older, people keep telling you how they wish they were 20 again. They say their bodies have broken, they have no energy, if only they had youth again. Ummm, excuse me, you're in your 30's, that's not old and it's not to late to work out. My friend Silvia is proof that turning 30 means nothing. Silvia had approached me about a photo session to celebrate her birthday and her fitness journey.
We went down to our gym and set up some balloons and took some shots that would be described by Silvia as "being extra". I used the daylight as a fill and my flashes to key and backlight to light her up and make the color of the balloons stand out.
She also asked for some fitness photos to celebrate her journey. We did a variety of workouts that she liked and that worked well on camera (sometimes when you're working out, your face just doesn't look right - remember to breathe). I would make her do the lifts slowly and hold things that would normally be fast. It's all for the picture after all, I don't care if it burns, I need the shot and you'll love the outcome.
It was dark. The morning air smelled of the rain that had sung me to sleep the night before. I was reluctant to leave the cocoon I had made myself in bed as I stumbled to my truck, camera in hand.
"So tired, will coffee even help at this point?" I thought to myself, driving down a deserted road that normally bustles with the roar of single occupant cars all going to the same place.
The week prior, I had booked a photo session with multiple clients; a realtor, a music artist, a fitness trainer. Three different styles in one location, the challenge excited me; however, not enough to wake me up.
Piedmont park is quiet just after dawn on a Saturday morning. The sea of cars isn't flowing and the constant noise of construction has yet to begin. We walked clumsily into the park heading toward a spot I had scouted a lifetime ago. Passing a morning workout group of about 20 people doing situps on grass damp from rain and morning dew, our crew reached our location.
The skyline behind us was perfectly lit from the rising sun. I set up an off camera flash with an umbrella to deflect and diffuse the flash onto the subject. For warm ups I had each person pose how they wanted to, getting them more comfortable in front of the camera. Lenses and lights can intimidate - play some music keep the mood light and people realize we're just having a good time.
Once out of the awkward beginning stage and into the fun photo sesh stage, the pictures started to come out wonderfully.
"I want to look cool," said the rapper.
"Make me look like a boss, just like king of the city," the realtor had suggested to me.
"I want to promote my training business and show my results to my clients," said the trainer.
After capturing each of looks in the skyline, I had spotted an interesting architectural feature and moved there. The sun had moved up in the sky some, creating a backlight and some incredible flares. I filled my subjects with a reflector and my flash and got some really artistic shots.
Before long, the sun had risen too high in the sky and I called the shoot a wrap. The light was harsh and shadows were apparent, but mostly I was starting to sweat. People had begun to gather in the park, walking their dogs talking about where to have brunch. Children jumping into the pool and screaming (as one does while jumping into water) could be heard across the track.
One of the perks of drinking hot coffee in the summer is that it's still warm when you leave it in your truck for hours. I took a sip and headed out to edit the photos.
Check out the full sets on my photo page!
I met Derrick (Dsams) after taking one his classes. I never knew how long and heavy my legs were until after he made me do 1243 leg lifts and 333 squats (am I really exaggerating though?). He saw the video I made for Frank and wanted one of himself. Dsams wanted to focus on his agility training, so as revenge for making me sweat I agreed to make him a video shot entirely at 120fps to make him look slow.
We met up at a park where he set up some ladders, hurdles, and ropes. I could tell his was wearing his "fast" shoes, so I too, strapped up. I whipped out my A7SII on my Letus Helix jr. stabilizer to run around with him.
As promised I shot a bunch of the stuff at 120fps so I could later bring it back in edit and mess with speeds. We spent about 2 hours shooting at midday in July in Atlanta (what is hot?). We got a bunch of really cool footage. Sometimes I didn't even hit record and he was still working out (what a beast!).
Finding a song to match the workout is always the hardest thing for me. I don't pick music until after the shoot so I can look back at the footage and decide how I want it to feel. I wanted it to feel dreamy but still have a beat. I edited everything to the beat until the rapping stopped and then just sort of montaged it. I messed with speeds, coloring and just a couple effects/transitions and got the final product. It's only a minute long for social posts.
Check out the finished video: D. Sams Fitness
Check out dsamsfitness on Instagram.
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