Mixed Light Basketball Portraits by Erik Christian

Photographer Erik Christian, based in Hudson Valley, NY, created athletic portraits using continuous lights and strobes. He recently shot a series of mixed light portraits for a local newspaper that annually features their local high school basketball all-stars. He decided to shoot the team much more creatively than past portrait sessions. 

By mixing constant lighting and strobes to create glowing streaks, Christian created a series that the local paper couldn't resist publishing. He also used different colored gels for the constant lighting to have diversity in the series. 

The idea was to shoot in the dark with only the colored light illuminating each player from the back. As soon as the shutter clicked, they moved through the scene with their trail being painted onto the camera sensor. The final image of each player used two strobes with a grid that froze the main action shot. Here was the setup:

  • 1.6 second exposure
  • Rear curtain sync on the flash
  • Two Einstein strobes with modeling lights set to full
  • Two more Einstein strobes set at 1/4 power with gridded soft boxes

The camera used was a Nikon D800 on a tripod.

All images used with permission of Erik Christian. 

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Isaac Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. While his images are often on the edge of any situation, photographing the situation is not nearly as interesting as photographing the edges of human emotions.

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1 Comment

These are awesome! I literally just did the same thing but with a contemporary dancer...