Alex Hurtado: Smashing Sports Portraits with Canon, Godox

Updated: Sep 26

Speedliter's Blog is psyched to feature smashing sports portraits by San Diego based photographer Alex Hurtado. Alex steps up to the plate with a three light setup and engages his subjects to create confident, dramatic portraits.


What was in your camera bag for this shoot?

CAMERA: Canon 5D Mark IV LENSE: Canon 24-70 2.8L II LIGHTS: 2 Godox AD 600 Pro portable monolights, Godox V860II-C speedlight, Godox Xpro-C Transmitter MODIFIERS: Glow EZ Lock 34" Collapsible Silver Beauty Dish for key and 7" reflectors for fill and rim STANDS: Matthews C Stands

Why do you use Godox lights?

I use Godox because of the quality of light, portability, and price. I have used Paul C. Bluff and Alien Bees in the past and they're great lights but they just aren't as portable because the light and battery are separate.

What was on your mind as you planned and executed this session? Making my subject to feel comfortable is always my first and main priority. By making them feel comfortable I have a better chance of showcasing their true athletic ability.

What challenges did you encounter during this shoot and how did you navigate them? Challenges included chasing daylight, trying to get the perfect shot while the sun is going down, as well as making sure all three lights complimented each other. I chose sunset to ensure the best lighting for my shoot. I also maneuvered my subject to put them in the best location and did a lot of trial and error with test shots.

GEAR: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Godox AD 600 Pro with Glow EZ Lock 34" Collapsible Silver Beauty Dish as key, Godox AD 600 Pro with 7" reflector as fill, Godox V860II-C with 7" reflector as rim, Godox Xpro-C Transmitter


For his sports photos, Alex wants to make his subjects look confident and athletic without looking mad or mean. He says, "confidence is key!" In the shot above, he positions one of his lights in the background to add the feeling of a sports venue as well as some edge lighting.

GEAR: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Godox AD 600 Pro with Glow EZ Lock 34" Collapsible Silver Beauty Dish as key, Godox AD 600 Pro with 7" reflector as fill, Godox V860II-C with 7" reflector as rim, Godox Xpro-C Transmitter


For shots like this, Alex likes to psych up his subject. He creates conversation with his subject to help them relax. Then he guides the conversation towards how they feel while they are at a game or tournament. He asks what they would be doing and how they would feel. He wants their portrait to illustrate the intensity and emotion they feel during an important game.

GEAR: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Godox AD 600 Pro with Glow EZ Lock 34" Collapsible Silver Beauty Dish as key, Godox AD 600 Pro with 7" reflector as fill, Godox V860II-C with 7" reflector as rim, Godox Xpro-C Transmitter


What software and processes did you use for post-production? First I used Lightroom to adjust temperature and tone curve and then increase contrast, brighten shadows, and darken blacks. I added a little bit of clarity and texture and sharpened the blacks on her face. In Photoshop, I dropped in a new sky and used adjustment layers and layer masks. Last I used a high pass filter to get the image tack sharp.

How did you feel about this shoot?

I was really happy with the results and having good weather, lighting, and subject, made for a great shoot!

Check out more of Alex's work on Instagram @alexhurtadophotography or at alexhurtadophotography.com.

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