Behind the Photo: Sitting on the Rim

This is the story of one of my favorite photos I've ever taken.

The Location

I was on my way downtown to shoot one afternoon when I spotted an empty basketball court off the side of the road. I already had a location in mind, but something about the court just drew me in. 

So I quickly pulled off the road, parked, grabbed my gear, and walked onto the court. I looked up at the hoop and the first thing I envisioned was having someone sitting on it, looking off into the distance. 

I needed to make this happen. I called up a couple of guys I know, Charles and Julian, and tell them I have an awesome idea for a shot. 15 minutes later they arrive. 

Me: "Think you can..."
Charles: "Climb up there?"

Charles is way ahead of me. Without hesitating, he's already hoisted himself up above the rim, making a strenuous task look completely effortless. 

After snapping a few shots, I went to review them on the back of my camera -- this is the first one I saw. There, on the screen, was my vision come to life. We executed it perfectly. 

The Takeaway

Sometimes we have an initial vision in our mind that we're so committed to that we might overlook opportunities along the way. My original intention was to shoot downtown in some alleyway or other inconspicuous setting, but the basketball court ended up being perfect for what I wanted.

Keep your eyes open! Consider every setting as a possible location. You never know what will end up being the perfect backdrop.

Post-Processing

When processing this image in Lightroom, I wanted to convey the right mood. My normal style is colorful and contrasty, but I wanted to have a slightly muted and faded look to convey the moody street vibe. As David Alan Harvey said, "Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like."

 Taken with the  5D Mark III  and  24-70mm f/2.8 lens .  Camera settings: 44mm, f/4.0, 1/2500s, ISO 200. Intentionally underexposed so I could preserve the details of the sky.

Taken with the 5D Mark III and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Camera settings: 44mm, f/4.0, 1/2500s, ISO 200. Intentionally underexposed so I could preserve the details of the sky.

Besides raising exposure, I played around with the tones by reducing the highlights and whites, and decreasing the shadows a bit to show texture in his jeans and prevent them from looking too dark. I spent a long time figuring out how I wanted frame the image. Placing him too far left or right would throw the balance off, so I finally opted to place him in the center with the basketball goal slightly to the left.

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My photos tend to consistently get around 100-150 likes on Instagram. This one received 228 likes. While Instagram's algorithm can be somewhat unpredictable, I like to think this image was well-received because of how different it is from my usual work.

Change things up every so often; you'll be surprised at the results. Let me know if you guys find this post helpful! Thanks for reading.

Kevin Kleitches