The other weekend I was approached by a local IFBB bikini athlete, Effie Parnell-Hopkinson, to create some unique photography for her social media channels. The main idea for the shoot was to capture some fast-paced action photography down at Kickboxing Cheltenham. Boxing, roundhouse kicks……..basically some bad ass photographs in an amazing photogenic environment. So with my Elinchrom ELB’s packed and charged it was time to up that shutter speed and capture the action!

High Speed for Fast Action Photography

The lighting on the shoot was rather simple, almost the standard setup that I use for most of my fitness photography. The main light was boomed above to create a nice downlight, side fill for detail and separation. Most of the time I’ll use quite a strong uplight to fill in some of the boomed shadows, however, on this shoot, I opted for a 105cm shoot through umbrella. Allowing for a wider spill of light, and adding some highlights to the black punching bag.

To capture some more of the environment I used a Sigma 35mm f/1.4, allowing me more space to frame and position Effie within the brick wall behind. Looking back at the photo I might have been cool to maybe add a light outside blasting some rim light through the windows with a blue or even a warm gel. Trying to create a sunset/early morning feel to the shot. Something that when I was shooting with Joe McNally, he mentioned how to add sunlight even if the light isn’t there.

With all the lighting set it was time to get low and capture that power fast kicking action!

Nailing the Perfect Shot

Much the same as skateboarding or any other action photography, the timing of the shot is the most important factor. A second or two before or after the action has passed, the moment has gone. The same with this kickboxing photo below. Capturing the jump in the area, foot on the pad all within a split second! It wasn’t easy however after a few attempts we nailed the shot and the reaction from Effie in the video speaks for itself. Impressed and rightly so when an athlete sees their hard work presented to them!