Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I hate gym lighting/A photo recipe

My daughter is now playing junior high volleyball.  I have spent four summers capturing softball and baseball and I pretty much have that under control.  I know where to sit and how to handle the bright sunlight and when to click.
Volleyball is another beast entirely.  The action is so much faster, the gym is so much more compact and the lighting is just terrible.  Awful.  Pardon my French, but it sucks, especially in a building that was built in the 1930's.
I have a photographer friend whose daughter also plays volleyball and her photos are so much brighter than mine.  Part of that is her better camera (I can't do anything about that right now) and part of it is light.  So I started thinking about whether or not I could fake the light.
Here's what I started with.  My daughter is a setter.  This was their 4th match of the season and I finally got a decent photo of her waiting for the ball.

I have learned that it is better to shoot wide and then crop...I have a better chance of getting the ball in the frame, especially since I am a newbie.  So I cropped it to make it look like I am really good.  ;)

First I did a little levels adjustment to brighten it up and then I looked at color.  Between the fluorescent lights and the yellow floor, there are all sorts of awful colors going on here.  I thought that white wall looked rather blue, so I toned down the blues a bit.  I eyeball all of this.

Finally I really wanted my daughter to stand out.  I went to the Love that Shot Olde World  Collection Textures (my favorites) to look for one that would really brighten things.  I chose one called "La Rochelle" and applied it at 50% in overlay mode.

Is it perfect?  No?  Do I love it?  Yes.  The texture brightens my daughter and creates a slight vignette.  You can still tell that it's a photo taken in a crummy gym, but it looks less like a snapshot and that makes me happy.

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