Simple 2 lights setup – Behind the scenes crossfit photoshoot

I captured these images in Cannes (France) a few weeks back. 2 CrossFit athletes and a simple goal: make a series of dark, dramatic shots. I’ve done a similar video in the past with bikini fitness athlete Priscilla Del Canto back in Strasbourg. Check out the setups I used back then if you haven’t already.

For this CrossFit session, I used the same technique throughout with a few variations on placement depending on the amount of shadows I needed. The lights are almost always facing each other, helping my athlete to pop out of the dark background. The angles of my lights were chosen according to how the muscles were shaped by the shadows. I would start from the side (complete split at a 90 degrees angle) and go slowly to a 45 degrees angle.

No use of HSS here, we are inside and not a lot of light was coming in. That is the reason why I am around ISO 160 and at a speed of 1/125th or 1/160th for most shots. I wanted dark but still, keep some details in the background. With these settings, you need a very short flash duration to freeze the action. With the Broncolor Siros L in speed mode, I was sure to get the shots.

I used the Beauty box 65 as a Rim/side/back light with a grid on it for more control and to avoid light spill.

Here are a few details on 9 shots from this photo shoot. If the video goes to fast you can now take your time and analyze the diagrams and related pictures.

5D Canon mark III
24-70 mm 2.8 L mark II
2 x Broncolor Siros L
90 x 120 cm Broncolor softbox
65 cm Beauty box by Broncolor








8 and 9 share the same setup:

The video was filmed by my beloved partner and assistant Marlène, with a GoPro Hero 4.

Huge thanks to Ornella Nicolosi and Kevin Fako Rantrua of Crossfit Cannes for letting me make this video. Down below is the complete gallery:


Simple 2 lights setup - Behind the scenes crossfit photoshoothazekware

8 comments on "Simple 2 lights setup – Behind the scenes crossfit photoshoot"

  1. Incredible work.
    I have a question regarding “beauty box”.
    I saw that there is no big difference in light if you put closer the beauty box or softbox.
    If so, can I use softboxes only? If not ca you explane why?
    Thanks a lot, you are really talented guy!

    • Hi there, and thank you for stopping by… The different isn’t huge but it is still there. The bigger the light source the better, the closer the light the softer the light will be and the better quality of it is noticeable. I like the contrast given by the beautybox but it’s a matter of taste. When I need a soft caressing light on muy model (for a portrait for example) I will certainly use a bigger softbox in favor of the beautybox 65. Of course you can you use softboxes only, but is it the look you are going after? Does it suit the type of work you want to show the world? If yes than they are right tools for you.

  2. lovely article..thanks for share

  3. Hey man… Awesome of you to share your skills and knowledge!! Ever used or know the Elinchrom d-light 2??? I have been given two, and a friend wants some gym shots! – I’m in the ‘can’t afford much, need to make do category’ (using Nikon d750 and wide Primes)… Any tips with these, if you know them…?

    Maybe bit of a reach, I know haha… Appreciate your thoughts none the less… Merci 🙂

    • Sorry, I’ve never used the d lights… Only the ELD line! How much power do these have? When shooting indoors, with strobes more powerful than speedlights, you can pretty much do anything.

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