In today's behind the scenes video commercial photographer Mike Pickles takes us through the process behind his recent work for Reebok via the agency Illume Visuals. Before you press the play button let me say this: To figure out his lighting setup you're going to need to pay attention and use some imagination because it's only touched on briefly. However, if you keep reading after the video I'll help break it down a bit. To get you started here are the time-stamps of the individual sections so you can get to the parts you want to see easier:
The final images are up here if you'd like to do a little more dissecting.
Contrary to what many fitness photographers do (myself included in some cases) Mike opted to use a softer light in the shots. In all but the final portraits he chooses a softbox but removes the diffusion and only keeps the inner baffle. If you've never photographed an athlete's physique then this is something you need to pay attention to: Your goal is to light in such a way that you get good specular highlights while maintaining a flattering light. Using a softbox like this is a good idea to try to achieve that. The inner baffle keeps the highlights from overpowering while the silver lining provides a harder light to carve the shadows.
The backgrounds are lit with a combination of gridded spots and bare bulb strobes. The kickers can be achieved a few ways but in this shoot two strip boxes are used on either side of the model to evenly light their sides from head to toe. The main thing to watch out for is keeping the light from falling off in the wrong spot.