"Space Jam" Selfies

Who remember Space Jam, the movie? You know... Micheal Jordan and the Loonye Toons. I recently saw it with my son and, despite I never played basketball, I had to run to buy a basketball ball to make some self portrait "Space Jam"-style.

I decided I wanted to stay true to my low key style and to use two speed lights and lit the scene in a dramatic way by using the "hero light" setup or some variations of it.

Enough posing... let's get some action!

I recently discovered first hand how messy, but amazingly useful, body powder can be in portraiture to add some interesting effects by making my photos more dynamic. Give it a try.

Silhouettes are also interesting, especially if you can balance the ball on your finger, or, as in my case, if you can fake it and get lucky for that 1/160 of a seconds required to bring the shot home.

For the silhouette, I've used a single speedlight pointed directly at the white side of my collapsible background. A white wall will work even better, as it would probably be larger than my background.

How to photograph in the basketball court?

I have no idea. All I know is you do not need to go on a basketball court to take some self portraits. I have, in fact, shot those photos in my tiny living room, using a 215x180 cm collapsible backdrop as background. The great helper here is the low key style, as it allows to render black everything you do not purposely lit with your speedlights.

This is how my improvised studio looked like.


For this kind of shots I usually set my camera to f/8, shutter speed 1/160 of a second and ISO 200 (the lowest ISO setting on my Olympus) and adjust the power of the flash units to get the correct exposure. Yes, I usually use a flash meter to be sure I have a good exposition.

Of course, you need to be able to trigger your speedlights off camera by means of wireless (radio) or optical triggers.

As I said, for this photo shooting I did use a lighting setup based on the so called "hero light" setup and a more classical 1-key light and 1-fill light setup. So, there were always two flash units, without light modifiers, at work.

And, as usually, I used my high-tech device designed to prefocus the camera for the  place where I will stand (see photo above). I found it easier to manually focus once, rather than let the autofocus decide. Plus, the f/8 as aperture makes my life easier by giving me a good amount of depth of field, so that even if I have not exactly on the right spot, chances are I will still be in focus.

Finally, I always try to use the Olympus App to connect the camera to my iPhone wirelessly so that I can check the composition via the live view and have a noisy countdown for the timer, which make easier to properly time the actions.


Well, I hope this short post have entertained you and hopefully you got some ideas and useful info out of it.

Thanks for reading.