MIC Q&A-2018 October



(photos by Nate Edwards, BYU) Nate Edwards' photo "Childs Play" was voted 'Best in Show' in the October 2018 Monthly Image Competition. Nate gives a 'behind the scenes' look at a 'behind the scenes' photo.

Quick tech stuff—camera model, focal length, exposure data, lighting used

Canon 5D mk IV

f/8 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200

Canon 70-200 2.8L II (shot at 70mm)

3 Profoto D2’s:  2-1x6 strip box’s with grids and a beauty dish.


Briefly go through the process of how the photo came about: Assignment or found/self-assigned? Any unique logistics in making the photo? What sort of post processing (or not)?

This photo was for our basketball promotional shoot for the upcoming season. We work with the athletics graphic design team on these shoots and they come in the role of an art director to assist on the shoots. The past few years we have been setting up two stations: one station on a white background where more action shots are taken, and one on a black or grey background where more stationary posed photos are taken. Jaren usually takes one station and I take the other. For me it is all about timing. Taking one shot as they are jumping in the air, trying to capture right at the peak moment.

2 photo.jpg

Nate's contact sheet of the various jumps and poses attempted in the making of the winning image

What (if anything) would you do differently if you could re-shoot this today?

If I were to shoot this again, I think the only thing I would have done differently with this particular photo is shoot it back further so you can see the cross bar and the beauty dish hanging directly above to show the complete setup. This was meant to be a spur of the moment behind the scenes shot, but I had on my 70-200 and was too lazy to switch it out in the rush of the photo shoot. There are a lot of athletes we have to cycle through and the BTS image was secondary to our ultimate goal. It took a little bit of time to get him positioned centered with the backdrop and captured at just the right time to frame it perfectly. Also, I would have taken another one with him about 6 inches closer to the camera to get a little more dramatic shadows on his face. With the beauty dish up above, the light can change drastically just within a few inches of movement.


"Straight from camera" version

Where do you look for inspiration, feedback and motivation?

Inspiration comes to me from all over the place: from driving in my car, listening to music, seeing everyone’s photos during the MIC, our students and their great questions on how to do different techniques, etc. I also try to get feedback from multiple sources: Jaren, our students and other coworkers, my wife, and others. I think it is important to get feedback from those who understand the craft, and from those who don’t, and see our work from a completely different perspective. I think I stay motivated in my work simply because I have the best job in the world. I used to do landscaping, concrete, mechanic work, etc. and any time I think to complain about going to another banquet or dinner, I try to think to myself, “It could be worse. I could be outside in the heat or freezing cold pouring concrete!” Seriously, how many people in the world get paid to take photos? We really are blessed, regardless of how we may think our circumstances are. Things could always be worse. I could be pouring concrete this winter in zero degree weather again...


Adobe Camera Raw edits shown

What would your dream assignment be? 

I think I am currently living my dream gig. I tell people I have the best job on campus, and I really believe that. I live in a beautiful state and work at a wonderful university with unbelievable coworkers. I have mentioned before about how I don’t really have any aspirations as a photographer because I was not planning on being one. But given that I am a photographer, I don’t know of any better situation to be in. I really do feel blessed and try not to take my situation for granted. Now within my current setting, my dream assignment would be another trip like the one I took to Samoa last summer. Probably the highlight of my young career so far. It was a life-changing experience for me.


“Why are skeletons so calm? Because nothing gets under their skin.” Blog stories/ideas welcome any time, email editor Matt Cashore at mcashore@nd.edu