Each summer the sports department here at the Herald-Republic produces a special section devoted to previews of the upcoming high school football season. There is a feature story on one player or several players from each high school we cover. The special section has one overall theme and each player is linked to that theme.
One photographer is assigned to do the photos for the section – there are 18 of them (16 schools plus one extra two-photo feature). We have roughly a month to do those photos and it’s often a race to finish the project on time because this portrait project isn’t the only thing the photographer does during that month. The project rotates among the photo staff so each photographer does the project once every three years.
One of the best parts of photographing the athletes is that creativity is encouraged by the sports guys – these aren’t our usual environmental portraits or documentary photos. So, doing these portraits taps into a whole other part of my photographic brain, a part which doesn’t get used very often. Another great part of the project is getting to work with some great kids.
This year the theme is automotive, so each photo has some sort of automotive element in it. I’m doing most of the photos out of the studio and in various locations around the Yakima Valley and Ellensburg. I’m using a combination of strobes including my Canon speedlight along with Lumedyne and Dynalite strobes. So far I’ve used as many as four strobes and as few as one.
I don’t want to give too much away yet (the section will be published early in September) but here’s a “behind the camera” look at a couple of the portraits I’ve done so far.
The athlete is Riley Maier of Selah High School. I photographed him in the automotive shop at YV-Tech here in Yakima. I used three strobes plus the work light.
Shane LeMieux of West Valley High School poses at a construction site here in Yakima. Interestingly, the construction is taking place at another high school in the Yakima area. A simple two-strobe set-up.