Aldershot Military Stadium - Senior XV Photoshoot


With the Army Rugby Union's support eight players from the Senior XV kindly gave of their time on a Wednesday late afternoon in September before travelling the following day to France for the match agains the French Armed Forces. The aim of the photoshoot was to experiment at creating some different images that were clearly true to being action images from rugby union but also highlighted the player - in this case Army scrum half Sai Vunivesilevi

This is the second photostory to be loaded on to the Army Rugby Media Portal and is part of the ongoing partnership between the Army Rugby Union and Alligin Photography to bring some of the detail behind the images.

Try Time

Creating the Images


Despite the end results of the images they were not captured in twilight or dusk conditions. Instead the cameras were set up so that they under exposed the image to create the feel of being an image captured at dusk. Under exposing a sky will always give it more depth but in this case we also set up the camera with a manual white balance. The white balance within a camera is adjustable to compensate for different light casts caused by different light sources. A tungsten light is very yellow in its output so to balance this light the camera adds a blue tint to the image. If the camera thinks it is working under tungsten light but is instead out of doors it still adds the blue hue and this serves to give a deeper blue cast effect to the sky.

With the picture under exposed, flash lights were used to correctly light up the player. To provide the amount of light needed four speedlite flashlights were grouped together and were aimed by one of the two photographers required to create the final image. It is important to get the light close to overcome the brightness of the day but also angled to emphasise the player and the skill being performed. Whilst this is being honed the player requires a fair degree of patience as the skill is repeated again and again.


The speedlight flash units are all fitted with a CTO gel. CTO stands for colour temperature orange and is used to counter the blue cast that was introduced to the image through the camera settings. This means that the player is correctly represented in terms of colour along with his playing strip.


One of the biggest issues to overcome is the timing of the shot. Flash units take time to recharge so the images were all captured through single shot photography. This means that the player and the photographer have to work closely together to ensure they both understand what each are trying to achieve. Because the skills, in this case simulating first a dive pass and then a dive when scoring a try, involved movement it also put an emphasis on the second photographer to ensure that the light remains correctly focussed on the action being captured. An aspect in this shoot that we would wish to improve better is to ensure that even with this movement we get a cleaner background on each and every image. This detail was obvious when we looked at the images in post production but was something we missed during the shoot itself. Attention to detail remains important whether a player or a photographer.

Similarly we could probably have underexposed the background even further to create a more striking effect. If we had done this then to have achieved correct illumination of the action might have require a second light source slightly in front of the player. Something for our next session.


All the images on this page were created by two photographers working with one player and a ball on a rugby pitch in daylight. The photographers were Lee Crabb from Scrumpix and Graeme Main from Soldier Magazine. The equipment used was a Canon 5DSr camera and either the Canon EF70-200mm f2.8 or Canon EF11-24mm f2.8 lenses. 4 Canon 430EX III-RT speed lights provided the light and they were fitted with CTO filters. The photoshoot was part of a partnering experiment between the Army Rugby Union and Alligin Photography with an aim to use off camera lighting on a rugby pitch to bring great action images to life that showcase the individual player or players performing a key rugby union skill.


Thanks go to Sai Vunivesilevi (player) and Lee Crabb / Graeme Main (photographers)