A couple weeks ago, I was summoned on a day’s notice to shoot portraits of Urijah Faber and Renan Barao for the poster art for their upcoming interim UFC Bantamweight Championship bout at UFC 148. The direction was simple – “get a good face off shot”. The budget was non-existent. The space to be used was our office building, though I was not allowed access to the studio due to another crew utilizing it. With my wife working for free as my first assistant, we setup the seamless and lights in the area of the office which I like to refer to as the “call center”. It’s a crowded space of cubicles that used to house our operations department. It’s vacant at the moment, but there still isn’t a lot of space. We hung the nine-foot seamless against the wall and got a sweep of about seven feet off the wall. This didn’t give me enough room to use separate background lights and hair lights, so I just used a sport-type reflector to light the background while throwing a bit of light on the back of the subject. The key light was a thirty-inch softbox about three feet overhead of the subject and about one foot in front with a slight angle towards the subject. For a fill light, I used a second boom with a thirty-inch octabox centered just above the camera, at about eye-level with the fighters. I didn’t bother with a fill light for the legs since the artwork only called for a knees-up shot and would have a gradient laid over the bottom.
I had each guy for a total of about five minutes, and the two of them together for the face off for about a minute. So, the point was to just focus on the shots that were absolutely necessary and then try to get extras if time allowed.
For this shoot, I used my Speedotron strobes – four 202vf heads, two 805 packs (fill and key lights), and a 2405 pack (background/back lights). This could have easily been achieved with speedlites, as well. I had my speedlites and modifiers with me in case there was an issue with the power, but they never came out of their case. Settings were as follows: key light f11, fill light f5.6 1/2, background/back lights each measured just a bit over f5.6 at the subject and f8 at the center of the backdrop. Camera settings were ISO 100, shutter 1/160, aperture f11.
Here are a few shots from the day.