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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 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.

  • testli5504537 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.

  • testli5504537 on April 23, 2012, 18:56 GMT

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

  • testli5504537 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 ....

  • testli5504537 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..

  • testli5504537 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.

  • testli5504537 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)

  • testli5504537 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 !

  • testli5504537 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.

  • testli5504537 on April 22, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    hey you rock

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