April 22, 2012

Australian cricket

Capturing Clarke

Hamish Blair
 © Getty Images

Hi again everyone. The next photo I've chosen to share is a bit different from the action in and around the matches of most of my other posts. I¹ve picked a studio portrait I shot of current Australian captain Michael Clarke last year.

Prior to the start of each season, all of the contracted Australian players gather for a player camp, to take care of number of meetings, media commitments etc. There are also a number of photos that need to be taken, headshots in Test, ODI and T20 uniforms, sponsor photos etc. There is also an opportunity to take some more creative portraits while we have them in the studio.

Photographing in a studio is almost the complete opposite of photographing a sporting event. Shooting a sporting event is about recording what happens. Obviously there is no control as to when and where the action happens. Most of the action in cricket usually takes place somewhere on or near the pitch, but the role of the photographer is one of an observer, anticipating and reacting to the action, with no direct input.

In the studio I have full control of pretty much all aspects of the photo. I can have the person being photographed move and pose, I can control the lighting and the background.

I was after a fairly strong portrait of Clarke. I had set up a white paper background, which I had also directed a light onto to ensure it was pure white. I set up two lights on each side of him at right angles to the point I shot the picture from. This gave a nice effect of light and shadow across his face and body.

For normal headshots, for the TV broadcast or match programs, the lighting is usually much more straight on to the face to avoid shadows and give a clear picture of the player's face, which is its purpose, but for this photo I was aiming for something a little different, which is why I moved the lights to the side, to create the shadow effect.

The Test shirt and baggy green cap highlight his position as captain of the team and I went for a serious look rather than have him smile.

After shooting the picture I worked on it a little in photoshop, I removed some of the colour saturation, which gives the photo a slightly 'older' feel. I also boosted the contrast of the photo a little to emphasise the effect of the light and shadow.


Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based photographer for Getty Images

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Keywords: Offbeat

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by LouC on (June 14, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

I've liked other photos but this one makes Clarke looks cross-eyed, his chin pointy, and his hands seem awkward. Experimental is about the best you can say about it.

Posted by Sharif Qamar on (April 24, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

HI, How does one become Getty photographer? I always think timing is The thing in sports photography, which, you of course have it..

Would like to hear from you on this.


Posted by TJ on (April 23, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

A master piece shot. Could you arrange one for Brian Lara

Posted by Dallas on (April 23, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Little boy in a man's cap? Long way to go - as next Ashes captain he's coming off an average of 21.44 in the debacle of the last Ashes series - no doubt with his fellow Aussie clique member Ponting who averaged 16.14 - and who will then be 38! Get real ....

Posted by Anil on (April 23, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Nice picture, specially the hands..Great expression.. I would have liked the baggy green to be a little lighter..

Posted by disco bob on (April 23, 2012, 0:29 GMT)

Typical hack photograph. It has no soul at all and his face looks like a Rorschach ink blot test. One would have thought that since your usual shots are of Clarke actually playing cricket, that you would have taken an opportunity to capture the man behind the kit.

Posted by Santosh on (April 22, 2012, 13:10 GMT)

Hi Hamish

I've been following your blog for quite some time now. Great job on the photographs!

However, wrt this particular shot, do you think the two lights on either side made this image look like one half was mirrored and then stitched on to the other side? (esp. with all the shadows concentrated at the centre)

Posted by paraloid on (April 22, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

Just discovered this fantastic blog and spent a very pleasant hour going through all the previous postings. Love the mixture of technical information and the "I was there details" of the circumstances of these fantastic photos and how you got them. Looking forward to the next one !

Posted by Cameron Cuming on (April 22, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

This is absolutely beautiful. I'm no professional photographer but I enjoy playing with lighting. The symmetry on his face is beautiful. Wow. I enjoy reading your little synopses of your work! Thank you so very much for your work and generosity.

Posted by aikaz on (April 22, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

hey you rock

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Hamish Blair
Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based Australian photographer who works for Getty Images. He covered his first Test match in 1996 and has spent a good deal of his career since following the Australian cricket team around the world. He has photographed over 100 Tests in the 13 years he has been shooting cricket.

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