Karate Sessions

I shot an afternoon of Karate students at a local dojo and it was pretty interesting. I did the classic white background with dual Alien Bee 1600s with one umbrella and one softbox. I used an old trick of putting gaffers tape on the spot for the talent ( students) to place their feet. That mark made it easy for everyone to get where they needed to be quickly. I ended shooting over 40 students that afternoon. I used Square as my credit card processing and I had made up a demo package of the different types of prints available to the parents.

msmedia-6824 karate child

The toughest sessions were the white on white. Using a flash meter was invaluable in nailing the exposure for the subjects while letting the white background fall a bit to grey for a touch of contrast.

msmedia-6887 karate pose with weapons

Depth of Field was critical to keep all of the subject in focus given some of the angles we were shooting at. F8 was the min F stop I used with my 24-70 Nikon lens and D700 body.


I worked with the instructors and leaders to get good proper poses that really could show off the students and have a high impact look. One of the options I had offered was a “magazine cover” so getting a good pose that would fit into the magazine was critical.



The breaking of boards is always a parent favorite and the students too. So we had a supply of boards and let them have at it. The flash was able to stop the motion for a clean action shot.

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This entry was posted in commercial photography, event photography, technique.

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