An agency approached me to do players portraits of FC Bayerns Basketball team for Adidas – one of their sponsors. Adidas created a photo booth for fans to take „selfies“ with their star players at home games in Munich. Since basketball season is right about to start it was really tricky to get time from the team so we ended up having 30 minutes to take portraits of at least 6 players. Moreover all of it had to happen before, between and right after the presentation of their new jerseys and other brand related activities at ADIDAS headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
The goal was to get nicely lit and positive portraits that fans can relate to and would enjoy taking selfies with. Doesn’t sound much of a task but at the given circumstances required best preparation and execution to be able to deliver solid results.
Usually for portrait shoots you would take time to build relation and to capture special moments that reveal inner spirits or special characteristics of your subject. In this case we had about 5 min per athlete so we had to work super fast and find a connection immediately.
I prepared a short briefing and printed out sample shots to present to the athletes upfront. This made it possible to explain everything within a minute and also helped me to figure out how the athlete needs to be approached and how to break the ice. Still athletes are not professional models and it commonly takes some aces up your sleeve to make them feel confident and relaxed in such a short time for that moment of truth that will make all the difference. Besides I was lucky to bring a step to be able to adjust my own height for a reasonable shooting angle towards some of those giants.
It is of utmost importance to have the setup ready and working on time. Even more crucial is that the hardware actually is reliable because only one very fail of hardware during the shoot could mean missing the money shot. In this particular case I could not count on getting a second chance because those athletes simply didn’t have the time.
For this reason I chose to bring a Scoro setup to be completely save and flexible for a fast shooting rhythm. This helped me to stay focused on interacting with the athlete and taking the shot. The confidence to be able to shoot at a fast pace and not to miss any of those split second moments due to equipment was decisive for the outcome and success of this rushed shoot.
About Markus Berger
“I am a photographer from Austria specialized in action sports and commercial photography. I have a sports freestyle background and like to bring that into photography. I strive to capture images that are creative but at the same time authentic and true. I like to embrace my inner child and take every shoot as new exciting challenge.