Off camera flash


Iya Traore

The writer Eduardo Galeano said that soccer is more than a sport, more than just a simple game with a ball. The writer Eduardo Galeano said that soccer is more than a sport, more than just a simple game with a ball.

Iya Traoré doing flips.

Some time ago, while working on a new project with the Circo Raluy, I met Iya Traoré, a former professional footballer. He discovered his passion for football in his home country, Guinea Conakry. In 2000, he traveled to France, where he played for several teams, eventually joining the ranks of Paris Saint-Germain. He then left it all to become one of the best exponents of “football freestyle” in the world. He has performed in more than 40 countries, including China, France, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Italy, the USA, Brazil, and more. He has worked with global stars like Shakira and major brands like Adidas, Nike, and Puma. He holds three Guinness World Records and has been featured on the best television programs around the globe.

The photographs were taken in Barcelona, at the foot of Montjuic. The area around the fountains is very wide, the side railings of the stairs have empty pedestals and the sun at dusk leaves this area in shadow. The conditions were ideal for Iya to practice his pirouettes and for me to photograph him in the light I wanted.

Iya Traore at Montjuic

I decided to work with two Profoto B2s and a B2 250 AirTTL battery. It is very light, compact and powerful enough for the pictures I wanted to take. As can be seen in the image above, I used the heads directly on it, without any accessories. Iya’s skin is very dark and I was interested in making it shine a lot. It would also achieve a high contrast of illumination as it is a very direct light.

Iya Traore with the ball in his neck

I placed the two flashes crosswise, forming an axis between them so that Iya was in the center of the cross. The two flashes were set at the same power and at the same distance from him. I had to attach an extension of the B2 AirTTL connector cable to separate the flashes. Fortunately the extension is three meters and does not compromise flash performance.

The firing rate was not very high. I wanted to freeze the movement but at the same time there should be a small “sweep” in the action to obtain more dynamism in the resulting image. I worked at 100 ISO, with 1/250 at f 5.6 to have enough depth of field. The sky was underexposed by 1 EV to bring the blue tone closer to the tone of the shirt he was wearing.

Iya Traore posing standing

Once I achieved the desired photograph, I took some portraits. I wanted to give an epic point to the photograph and shot the photos on the pedestal of the railing. Thus, Iya looked like a statue of a historical leader. When we make a portrait from below, we accentuate the character of grandeur and superiority of the subject with respect to the viewer.

Alexander Rodchenko The Pioneer Girl 1930

The lighting was the same as in the previous photographs as I wanted to accentuate the glows on her face and outline the dark clothes she was wearing. Two Profoto B2s were the right solution. I shot many photos because it is not easy to control the gesture of the athlete in the air. Fortunately, the B2’s battery provides up to 215 shots at full power and there was no need to change batteries.

Iya Traore with ball in hand

Iya Traoré doing flips.

Lighting scheme of a photo shoot in Barcelona of soccer player Iya Traore. Lighting scheme


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