In December I got the opportunity to shoot with amazing Muay Thai athlete Christin Fiedler of Austria. The aim was to create images that are strong and reflect the spirit, discipline and power of this martial art.
Christin is also supporting an initiative of the IFMA (http://www.ifmamuaythai.org) that is called „Strong hands stop violence against woman and girls“ and some of the images were also planned for their support. We were invited by RS Gym in Salzburg to use their trainings facility for the shoot and that gave us lots of space and saved lots of time too.
For the shoot I setup a black background and two Move 1200 L units with three heads mixed with standard reflectors and a softbox. To be able to light up both sides of the athlete I used a 10 meter extension cable for one of the heads.
As a main light I choosed the Beauty dish with a grid to have more of a spotlight and a dramatic fall off of the light on Christin. The other lights helped to shape the sandbag and also add dimension to the athletes body.
Usually for this type of studio setups I always try to have an assistant on site especially also to help with special effects like fog, water or anything crazy I usually like to add.
Unfortunately on this day I was left by myself and used the self timer, remotes and fast acrobatic body control to manage all tasks on set. For some of the shots involving water spray or a fog machine I kept the camera on a tripod and fixed the angle and framing. Then I set a timer of 10 seconds and a recording rhythm of 5 images total with 1 image per second.
That gave me enough time after triggering the camera to get in my spot and start with spraying water or handling the fog machine. As you can see on some of the outtakes I didn’t always get exactly out of the frame but strangely appeared here and there. Mostly difficult for sure was however the timing for Christin to hit the bag in the very moment the camera would trigger the shutter. Eventually after several tries the timing was dialed in and we started to work on details like exact body position, look, special fx…
One of the main shots was planned as a commercial composite and ended up being edited by a retoucher friend from vienna (michaelramhardter.com) – we wanted to create a fire storm action image with a very strong dramatic look but an authentic style. I shot the action on the plain black background and the rest was then added in Photoshop.
It was quite funny to see what you can accomplish in photography even if you are on site all by yourself. There always seems to be a way to make things happen and to find solutions on the go. Therefore I also love the Move Packs, because they allow me being easily able to change setups or locations in no time. For this reason we were also able to save time and to work with some UV light at the end of the shoot and come up with a black and white UV punch photo involving a completely different look compared to the rest of the images.