Team GB swimmer Martyn Walton
I was asked by the Comet newspaper in Stevenage to go and take some photos of local Team GB swimmer Martyn Walton who had just returned from the Baku 2015 European Games. Martyn returned from the capital of Azerbaijan (I had to google it) with five medals including one gold, 3 silver and one bronze. As you can imagine it takes a lot of dedication to compete at the highest level and Martyn trains 9 times a week at Hatfield swimming club but he managed to fit me into his busy schedule. The night before the shoot I sat down and scribbled down some ideas of what kind of pictures I would like to come away with. The Comet needed some standard headshots for future stories about Martyn as well as some with his new medals. On top of these headshots I wanted to try to take a picture showing Martyn with his medals and the colours red, white and blue in the picture to represent Team GB. The only problem was I didn’t know what kind of space I would have to work with at Martyn’s house. I drew up a lighting diagram and hoped to have a neutral coloured wall and enough space to work with. I planned to light the background wall with a flash with a red gel on it, have a hair-light with a blue gel and snoot and a main light in a softbox in front of Martyn to camera left (as shown in the lighting diagram below). Luckily it all worked out and we had the space to work with to produce a pretty cool portrait. I chose to shoot looking up towards Martyn to make him look larger in the frame and to make him look proud to have won the medals competing for Great Britain. It reminds me of how he would look if he were standing on a the winners podium. The addition of the Union Jack flag also adds to the image and thanks to Martyn’s very supportive parents for having several to choose from. I had Comet sports reporter Damion searching through a 24 hour supermarket late at night looking for one and he came up empty handed!
For the other pictures below I removed the gels from the flashes and did not light the wall behind Martyn because I wanted it to be grey so his white top would contrast against it.