Little League T&I Setups

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Aug 26, 2008
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I have a couple of little league organizations scheduled for this spring and am curious what others do for lighting? My first year I did these leagues I went with a single flash on a bracket. The second year I went off camera with a flash in a Lastolite 24" softbox for individuals and then a single flash held up over my head for team shots. These results were fine, but I'm looking to improve. I have two AB800 and two AB1600's, but I don't currently have battery packs. I also have one of the 51" Silver PLMs from Paul Buff.

Any thoughts? I would rather hear from those that have "been there, done that" as compared to random thoughts, but I'm open to all suggestions.
 
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Jun 11, 2009
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Baton Rouge, LA / Bham, AL
Like I said in an old thread on FredMiranda, using a PLM where I shoot would turn me into Marry Poppins. In the past, I've just used a bare SB800 or two outdoors. I've tried to use studio strobes with battery packs, but IMO there isn't enough benefit over using SBs if you aren't trying to be creative by overpowering the sun. Just the logistics of studio strobes make them a pain in the rear that I don't want to deal with if I don't have to.

As far as modifiers are concerned, I prefer bare overall because I don't need to worry about wind or kids messing with it because it looks cools. I've tried boxes and umbrellas, and of those, I prefer softboxes, however they are not so good at the "T" part of T&I.

Saying that, I do want to start changing up things. I want to start shooting at f2.8-f4 and tele focal length to seperate the background. My biggest concern is that I flow so fast, I'm afraid I will miss focus on a few shots. I've also always shot the individuals and teams with same camera/flashes/setup. I think I want to convert to a 2 camera system/setup with each being dedicated to the T or the I. Doing that would allow me to attack the #1 parent complaint... squinting eyes. To do this, I think I want to have players stand underneath a tent canopy and shoot knee/waist up for individuals.

...the ole cogs upstairs are still turning for more ideas and I'm interest in other's ideas
 
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Like I said in an old thread on FredMiranda, using a PLM where I shoot would turn me into Marry Poppins. In the past, I've just used a bare SB800 or two outdoors. I've tried to use studio strobes with battery packs, but IMO there isn't enough benefit over using SBs if you aren't trying to be creative by overpowering the sun. Just the logistics of studio strobes make them a pain in the rear that I don't want to deal with if I don't have to.

As far as modifiers are concerned, I prefer bare overall because I don't need to worry about wind or kids messing with it because it looks cools. I've tried boxes and umbrellas, and of those, I prefer softboxes, however they are not so good at the "T" part of T&I.

Saying that, I do want to start changing up things. I want to start shooting at f2.8-f4 and tele focal length to seperate the background. My biggest concern is that I flow so fast, I'm afraid I will miss focus on a few shots. I've also always shot the individuals and teams with same camera/flashes/setup. I think I want to convert to a 2 camera system/setup with each being dedicated to the T or the I. Doing that would allow me to attack the #1 parent complaint... squinting eyes. To do this, I think I want to have players stand underneath a tent canopy and shoot knee/waist up for individuals.

...the ole cogs upstairs are still turning for more ideas and I'm interest in other's ideas
Thanks for the reply Joe. I use a 2-camera setup. I use the D3s/70-200 for the individuals and the D700/24-70 for teams. This works out pretty well and I don't have to keep to swapping out lenses (usually pretty dusty doing the little league teams...two bodies definitely helps to keep the sensors a little more clean).
 
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Do you move your setup with the sun? I do, which is one of the reasons I didn't like the studio strobe setup.

PS - I think there is a T&I megathread on this website. I'll search for it later.
 
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Do you move your setup with the sun? I do, which is one of the reasons I didn't like the studio strobe setup.

PS - I think there is a T&I megathread on this website. I'll search for it later.
The two leagues that I do are both locked into where I can shoot. One league is located at the end of a large lake and that is the background. I don't move all day. The other league that I just added has a large blue building on end side and a large metal/plastic manufacturing plant on the other side. I'm pretty limited as to direction. I'm almost thinking of bringing a ladder so if I had to move I could shoot down slightly and be able to clean up the background. I'll post a pic from the lake setup when I have chance to go back and find one.
 
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This is why I can't move around for this particular league...the league wants the lake in the background. Some years it turns out better than others. The year below it wasn't too bad, but last year it was hazy and there wasn't really much color in the sky or water.

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Baton Rouge, LA / Bham, AL
Have you ever considered green screening? We had a similar league that only had one soccer field and completely surrounded by neighborhoods. We eventually convinced the league to let us shoot the kids indoors against green screen but in the beginning we shot them against green screen outdoors underneath a pop-up tent. Our background shots were just stock images we took of the actual soccer field's goal. The images turned out so nice, it was the pilot setup that got other leagues interested in green screening.

I too tried to elevate myself to cut out backgrounds. I'm 6'1" and would shoot at my eye level fully standing up. The overall consensus was that parents did not like their kid "looking up". They wanted their kid to look big out there, which even in action, is shooting as low as possible.
 
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Hey Randy,

Why does the league want to have the lake as the background? It looks nice & all, but how is it connected to the sport? Granted it's more aesthetically pleasing compared to a banged up backstop with a canteen right behind it ... I'm just curious as there's such a disconnect with the actual sport/playing surface.

Also, someone here (I think) posted a link to a guy in Florida who does the T&I stuff ... here's a link to show his setup. Notice the white tent with the player standing just inside. Perhaps this kind of a format might work for you? http://glossyfinish.com/pictureday/

Take care,

Brent
 
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Hey Randy,

Why does the league want to have the lake as the background? It looks nice & all, but how is it connected to the sport? Granted it's more aesthetically pleasing compared to a banged up backstop with a canteen right behind it ... I'm just curious as there's such a disconnect with the actual sport/playing surface.

Also, someone here (I think) posted a link to a guy in Florida who does the T&I stuff ... here's a link to show his setup. Notice the white tent with the player standing just inside. Perhaps this kind of a format might work for you? http://glossyfinish.com/pictureday/

Take care
Brent
Honestly I've never asked them about moving the location. The lake, while being a disconnect from the sport, is a very big part of their area. Heck, the high school mascot is the "Lakers". Thanks for the link, I check it out.
 
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Hey Randy,

Why does the league want to have the lake as the background? It looks nice & all, but how is it connected to the sport? Granted it's more aesthetically pleasing compared to a banged up backstop with a canteen right behind it ... I'm just curious as there's such a disconnect with the actual sport/playing surface.

Also, someone here (I think) posted a link to a guy in Florida who does the T&I stuff ... here's a link to show his setup. Notice the white tent with the player standing just inside. Perhaps this kind of a format might work for you? http://glossyfinish.com/pictureday/

Take care,

Brent
Took a look at the website....I wonder what he does for team pics? Obviously not all going to fit in the tent. I like the tent idea for blocking harsh sun.....kind of ends up being a big light tent. It would work for individuals but would then be right in the way for team shots (at least in my location).
 
Joined
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Location
Baton Rouge, LA / Bham, AL
Took a look at the website....I wonder what he does for team pics? Obviously not all going to fit in the tent. I like the tent idea for blocking harsh sun.....kind of ends up being a big light tent. It would work for individuals but would then be right in the way for team shots (at least in my location).
Randy, all of my photos are 600 miles away on backups. I'll see if my can talk my parents into how to send some.

Teams would have to be shot traditionally out from under the tent. The team shot isn't as up close so subjects face/eyes arent as important as individuals. I have heard of photographers using tent that shoot individuals twice, one with bat/glove/etc for the true individual photo, and another posed as to be inserted into a composite team photo.
 

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