View Full Version : Outdoor Portraits: Boxing

01-28-2010, 10:31 AM

(first, I don't know if the category is correct so tell me if it's not)

I need some help about shooting outdoor portraits, i'm enthusiast and this is not for some purpose, just for personal pleasure and getting more experience in portraits and film photography, and i want to do some quality portraits (as far as i'm able or have right equipment to do). Also might making some prints form the shoot if it appear positive.
I want to do a 'photo-shoot' with a friend or two, the idea is shooting a boxing player, boxer, with white bandage on hands and little red fake blood, and the other one like fallen on the ground, or getting the two of them in a fight or so.

My equipment is:

- Minolta maxxum 600si with Sigma 28-70mm 3.5-4.5, Vivitar Flash.
- Minolta SRT-101 with 58mm 1.4, 35mm 2.8, with Braun flash but not working right now.(the lens are not compatible with Minolta maxxum).
- Also i''m thinking to do this with medium format camera, and I might get it a KIEV-80 with 90mm 2.8 and 65mm 3.6. but i haven't still tried a medium format camera.

First, my opinions:

Equipment: I would use my Minolta SRT with 58mm which is nice for portraits and are sharp, and maybe 35mm for some manipulating the perspective, which would give a nice result.
Lighting: I'thinking about shootin on period before sunset, when the sun is low, shining on the subject from the side (and from back) which would give me strong shadows and nice colors (i don't wan't to blow out the face by putting directly on the sun even it would be sunset.This would put the subject a bit in a shade against the light from the side, so i'm thinking about (but i don't want) maybe using the Vivitar flash which is on Minolta maxxum, but sigma is kit lens and not much good, and are slow.
Location: I'm thinking about by a lake, maybe on a football field (like some training), or about putting the boxer by (or IN) a ruined house, and make a strong harsh ambient (i'm not sure about the sunset lighting here).
Film: It would be nice trying with some strong colored film like Fuji, or Kodak Portra VC or Ektar, to pop up the colors.

(I know that using a simple sun reflector will fill the shadows but i don't have one, maybe i'll make a search about making one)

I would be very glad and thankful if i receive some advice and opinions how to make the portraits/mood/composition/lighting better and naturally; some personal opinions, everything you might think it would be helpful.

Thank you!

Mick Fagan
01-29-2010, 01:01 AM
Stevco, I think your ideas are quite sound and I would be doing about the same as you.

Your location, time of shoot, are good. I think the outside setting would be easier from a photographers point of view as you have plenty of room to move in or out to get good framing. Inside you may be restricted in how far back you can go.

If you are starting off with the 58mm lens and things look good, then you can just move back to get more in, inside a building you will probably have to stop and change to the wider lens.

My preference is to use a fixed lens instead of a zoom. Stick with the same f stop, unless the light changes and just move in or out. You will normally have quite equally exposed negatives with this kind of shooting.

With a variable f stop zoom lens the aperture will change, this is alright if you are shooting on auto, but not so good if you are using manual settings.

I would think the best camera is the SRT 101 with the two lenses, keep it simple.

I would certainly use a reflector. You can make a reflector using cooking aluminium foil crumpled and stuck to some cardboard using pins or sticky tape.

As for film, I would suggest that you may be best if you use negative film, either B&W or colour. The reason is that you have a better chance of getting some kind of picture with an incorrect but usable exposure.

With slide film, you really have one go at getting exposure right, if it isn't right then the image is usually not too good.

I would get it right with the 35mm SRT 101 first, before using either of the other two cameras you have.

I think you have the makings of a good picture, or set of pictures.


01-29-2010, 07:10 AM
Hi Mick,
Thank you for your opinions and advice, i'm finding them quite much helpful.

About the same aperture you are saying it would be the best, mostly I'm planing to use open aperture and blur the background, from f/1.8-2.8 for 'head-and-shoulders', and about f/4. for the entire body and wider frames because the lens are manual and focusing is pretty tricky. The rokkor 58mm has 1.4 but they are not as sharp as on 2.8

I watched some tutorials about making a bounce reflector, i'ts pretty simple, also i found they are pretty cheap on ebay, some Chinese with white/silver/golden side for 11 dollars which should be enough nice.

I'm not entirely sure about the film speed, I want to use Kodak Portra 400VC (as I read +1 stop most people recommend) or maybe 160VC which is finer, but i'm afraid if I haven't the enough speed, and I need some motion dynamic shots. Also maybe B%W film, or just to convert it after.

Negative print film would be better, also for slide film I need to have very right and correct exposure, and I wouldn't use it for first photo-shoot of this kind.

I will look forward for trying to use the medium format KIEV 80 but first i would make sample test photos to see the exposure, colors, focusing, sharpness.

thanx again.