How to create photographs the way you envision them

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SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
On Wednesday night, I photographed the Rock-Paper-Scissors Challenge Tournament at Bristol Brewing Company. It was a friendly competition between supporters of Sk8Strong and UpaDowna, two local non-profits raising money through the Indy Give! Campaign.

One of the challenges of this shoot was the light. There just wasn’t enough of it.

I envisioned the event as something of a mix between Rocky vs Apollo and a scene from Portlandia when they play hide-and-seek in the public library. What makes Rocky movies really great is the lighting. A boxing ring has direct, overhead lighting with dramatic highlights and lots of shadow. But with no boxing ring in sight, I had to create one.

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

I began by placing two speed lights, off-camera flashes, high up on stands pointed straight down on either side of the tables to mimic the lighting in a boxing ring. Next, I used a remote on my camera to trigger the flashes whenever I pressed the shutter and made several test exposures until I had the look I wanted.

Then I set my shutter speed to stop the action and capture the reactions of the players. The contest provided the humor — there were referees dressed in costume, and everyone took things seriously… Portlandia-style.

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

As the tournament went late into the final rounds, things got more and more pressure-filled. I was able to capture some really great moments between contestants.

The next time you’re photographing think about what kind of look you want the photographs to have. By imagining the pictures you’re going to make before you get there, your pictures will be better and more closely aligned to your vision.

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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