Australian cricket April 22, 2012

Capturing Clarke

This photo I've chosen to share is a bit different from the action in and around the matches of most of my other posts

© 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