A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine and personal trainer, Jaap Kleinstapel, asked me if wanted to make new photos to promote his website. Of course I said yes, but it made me a bit nervous as I am a landscape photographer and never did portrait photography, especially of people during a training session (as far as this qualifies for portrait). So I asked myself the question many times; what should I do?
Well, first I checked websites and the internet for inspiration and tips and tricks. I found amazing pictures, but most (if not all) were of people posing for the camera. This was actually not what I wanted. It should be about the interaction between the trainer and trainee in a spontaneous way as if they don’t notice the photographer. By making this decision it became easy to choose the equipment that I wanted to use: camera, external flash and the 50 mm f1.4 prime and 17-50 mm f2.8. Since the gym will have many different equipment I also decided to use large apertures to isolate the people from the fore- and background. With all the info and gear chosen, I now went, fully confident, to the gym last Sunday.
First I made a couple of shots while he was training by himself. I could find some nice compositions and play around with the focus, but lighting was quite difficult.
But then the training started and it became really difficult: these people do not stand still so no time to create a good composition and with f1.4 the face or eyes are easily out of focus. Still I (think I) managed to get some good results that show the interactions but also that the training is serious and fun.
In the end I enjoyed it all and I am very pleased that Jaap is happy with the results for his website (www.jksport.nl). But I also found some points to improve myself and this altogether is, in my opinion, what photography is all about!