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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Portrait from below
Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 10:58 AM on 03.20.06
->> I'm wondering if anyone has shot a portrait from below a subject by having the subject stand above the camera on a clear plastic or plexiglass sheet. I'm trying to figure out how thick the sheet would need to be to safely support the weight of one or two people. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Dave Rossman, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 11:04 AM on 03.20.06
->> Robert Seale took a shot like the one you are describing.

http://www.robertseale.com/gallery.html?gallery=MORE%20PORTRAITS&skipno=21&...


check it out.
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 11:49 AM on 03.20.06
->> Yup, seen Robert's portrait and several others like it. I'm hoping to find out how thick the material needs to be before I go visit the plastic fabricator.
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Mike McLaughlin, Photographer
Neptune City | NJ | USA | Posted: 12:06 PM on 03.20.06
->> Peter,

I did a shot like this a year or so ago. I talked to Robert ahead of time to get some idea on the specs. I ended up buying a sheet of 3'x4' plexiglass 1" thick. It worked great holding the weight of a kid about 200 lbs, don't know if it woulld hold more than one.

If I can find the info on the company I got it from, I'll get back to you. The company was in Texas and the guy was extremely helpful in figuring out the size and thickness I'd need to support the weight. I searched all over NJ and much of the east coast coming up with prices from $1200 to $1600 for a sheet that size. The guy in Texas was $200 + $50 shipping had it in 3 days.

I'll try to dig through my old receipts and find the info.

Good luck!
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Mike McLaughlin, Photographer
Neptune City | NJ | USA | Posted: 12:08 PM on 03.20.06
->> If you go to my website www.mikemclaughlin.net in the Sports>Sports Portraits section you can see the shot I did.
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Rich Obrey, Photographer
Gorham | ME | USA | Posted: 12:44 PM on 03.20.06
->> I did a plexiglass shot awhile ago, inspired by seeing Robert Seale's portrait on SS.com.

I put it on my home page here for review.

Golfer Shawn Warren is standing on a 4' by 3' sheet of plexiglass 3/4" thick, braced by two sawhorses. One softbox to light him. Cloudy day helped a lot. It was shot outside at his home golf course in Gorham, Maine.

In one version, a jet plane landing at the local airport flies through the frame to add to the surreal feel.
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David Rabian, Photographer
Wilmington | DE | USA | Posted: 3:46 PM on 03.20.06
->> I had been poking around recently too, you may want to check out this place...

http://www.interstateplastics.com
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 4:39 PM on 03.20.06
->> Thanks for the help all. We actually have a plastic company right here in town:

http://www.vermontplasticspecialties.com/

So I won't have to deal with shipping. Hopefully I'll be able to pull it off with something they have in stock.
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Jacob Hannah, Student/Intern, Photographer
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 11:30 PM on 03.27.06
->> Nice shot! Looks like everything worked out well.
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Rick Burnham, Photographer
Enfield | CT | USA | Posted: 6:37 AM on 03.28.06
->> what size sheet did you end up using?
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Cameron Davidson, Photographer
Arlington | VA | USA | Posted: 7:19 AM on 03.28.06
->> I've shot this type of portrait for years. The first one I did was of a famous golfer for Soft Spikes. (I forgot the golfers name.)

I've used 3/4 and 1 Inch think plexiglass. The key - is: Reflections are a bear and half - you must cover yourself in black and create a hole for your lens - otherwise you have to deal with your image in the glass. Be careful with your lighting.

Plexi scratches like crazy - just look at it the wrong way and it goes goofy.

Anything less than 3/4" think plexi is too thin - it will move around a lot and in the back of your mind - the nasty little devil that encourages doubt, will keep nagging you with the thought that all that you are shooting, is going to come crashing down on you any second. Not the best thing for focusing on creating a stunning image. Spend the bucks and get the thick stuff.

Check out these shots I did for Smithsonian and Getty a few years ago.

http://www.camerondavidson.com/getty/ar6334-001.jpg

http://www.camerondavidson.com/getty/at0390-001.jpg

The lawnmower shot was done for a story on the American obsession with lawns and the second was shot for stock.

The portable saw horses from Home Depot are great for holding the plexi. Get four of them. Also, bring a pillow for your head.
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Alan Carroll, Photographer
Sheridan | WY | USA | Posted: 8:46 AM on 03.28.06
->> Peter,

Nice shot. Do you mind me asking how you lit that?

Alan
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 7:35 PM on 03.28.06
->> I ended up using a sheet of 1/2 inch plexi that measured aboput 4x5 feet. My employers were not willing to pay for a custom cut sheet, so I ended up getting a leftover sheet from a local hockey rink. I built a wooden support structure to hold the plexi from all four sides.

With the 1/2 inch, I had the subjects keep their feet as near as possible to the edges. Fellow Sportsshooter Glenn Russell and I tested out the rig first, and as you moved weight toward the center the plexi started to flex. I second everyone's above suggestions to get 3/4 inch or 1 inch thick if you try this.

The lighting was done with 2 Elincrom 600 heads into umbrellas. Cameron is right about reflections. We used a good amount of black felt and seamless.

The last major hurdle was the fact that the female subject was in a cast on her left leg, so there was no way to fit a skate on it. The left skate and the ice effect involved some Photoshop work.

Glenn has some nice images of the setup and the shoot. We'll try to get something posted soon.
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Ed Wolfstein, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 7:13 AM on 03.29.06
->> This morning, the Burlington Free Press published Peter's article all about the image in a feature called "Behind the Lens". Great stuff, Peter - and no need to bug Glenn, here's the whole article, along with Glenn's shot of you at work:

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060329/LIVI...

Fun!
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Alan Carroll, Photographer
Sheridan | WY | USA | Posted: 8:41 AM on 03.29.06
->> Very cool. Thanks for posting the article Ed. I love it!

Alan
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Raj Chawla, Photo Editor, Photographer
Essex Junction | VT | USA | Posted: 1:52 PM on 04.05.06
->> Way to go Huoppi. I've been asked about a dozen times about this shot...I've referred everyone to your Sportsshooter page...

Not shocked they wouldn't pay for plexi...

Raj
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Steve Puppe, Photographer
Mission | KS | USA | Posted: 10:01 PM on 04.09.06
->> How do you light the underside of the shoes without getting glare?
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 10:24 AM on 04.12.06
->> Steve- Check the link that Ed posted:

http://tinyurl.com/m65p2

We have a photograph of the set-up. It was lit by two Elinchrom 600 heads with umbrellas. One on either side of the subjects.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
New England | | USA | Posted: 10:35 AM on 04.12.06
->> Peter

I notice Glenn didn't get down on the ground and get under the set up.........


Nice photo, love the blending of the ice effect you laid over the plexi glass.
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
Burlington | VT | USA | Posted: 7:45 PM on 04.12.06
->> Thanks Steven...

Actually Glenn was down on the ground for quite some time. Since he was the "assistant," he was down there taping up all the black felt after the athletes first climbed up there.
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Thread Title: Portrait from below
Thread Started By: Peter Huoppi
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