Olivier Allamand’s BMX Warehouse Shoot

Olivier Allamand - BMX

© 2012 Olivier Allamand

Olivier Allamand won a silver medal skiing in the 1992 Winter Olympics. When he photographs sports, he’s photographing what he knows. His images of BMX riders are both powerful and delicate at once, using a lighting style often found in photographs of dancers. The effect, as you can see, is pretty awesome. His account of a recent shoot follows.


On this shoot, I photographed Jeremy Brosset, one of the best flat BMX riders in France. For the location, I looked for an abandoned factory in order to create a moody atmosphere.

Olivier Allamand - MiniTT1

© 2012 Olivier Allamand

The gear I used was a Nikon D3s with a PocketWizard MiniTT1® and the following lenses: 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm. For lighting, I used two Elinchrom Ranger RX packs with PowerST4’s and S heads with Maxilight reflectors. I also used a Profoto ProB2 with a FlexTT5®. I try to always use at least two light sources or three, if need be. In this case, I used two.

Olivier Allamand - Behind the scenes

© 2012 Olivier Allamand

I never put my lights in front of the subject; I always place them on the side or behind the subject on an angle. This creates a 3D look and adds contrast on the subject, especially important for action photography.

Olivier Allamand - Abandones warehouse BMX

© 2012 Olivier Allamand

Olivier Allamand - Lighting diagram

© 2012 Olivier Allamand

I shot using PocketWizard’s ControlTL. Elichrom’s S heads as well as the ProB2 have a long flash duration so I can sync up to 1/8000th of a second with no banding. Using ControlTL gives me the freedom to create the look I want.

I shot at ISO 800 at 1/1250th of a second using f4 or 5 to get both clean action and the general ambiance of the factory. The lights were around 110 watts each.

To see more of Olivier’s work, check out his Flickr stream.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Olivier Allamand, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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