We recently had a chance to chat with Sheryl Bashore, of Sheryl Z Photography via Zoom. Sheryl is based out of Central Pennsylvania and specializes in artistic custom sports photography as well as high volume sports leagues and dance schools. Sheryl has been in the photographic industry for 25 years. We wanted to showcase Sheryl’s work because she is creating a very unique and creative photographic product utilizing the Lastolite HiLite and Next Gen. She introduced this concept to us at SYNC Sports, and we’re beyond excited she is using the Next Gen system in such a creative way.
NG – What made you start using Next Gen Photo Solutions?
SZ – I have been shooting volume / team photos and cheer competitions for 15 years. I started utilizing Next Gen Photo Solutions roughly 3 years ago. Honestly, I will never go back to my old process. Next Gen has made my workflow so simple for shoot day. My customers love how quick my turnaround is and how easy the overall process is on photo day. With the current pandemic we are dealing with, I am incredibly thankful for this workflow. It is great to be able to offer ‘social distancing’ on photo day and still do group photos. A few reasons why I love Next Gen: every athlete looks their best, no kid misses being in the team photo even if late or early and. Also, if I have a league that wants a more traditional team photo, Next Gen can build the graphics on a solid colored background. Even if a team wants their photos on their field, I can supply Next Gen with a background image they can use. This flexibility allows me to offer my customers options and still allows me to be creative.
NG – Can you describe what you’re doing in creating the silhouettes? How do you incorporate NG into your workflow when shooting these?
SZ – I have photographed dance, gymnastics, and cheer for 20 years. I love the movement of the gymnasts and dancers; they are graceful, and their posing is so dynamic. I actually photographed my first silhouette by accident. At one of our photoshoots, my main light didn’t fire, but the light in the HiLite did, and this resulted in a silhouette. I realized very quickly while shooting that day that even a simple pose looks elegant in a silhouette and it works across all age groups. With my HiLite, this just became so simple and easy. We had a single parent see that image and judging by her excitement and energy to show other parents we knew this was something that we were going to offer. Next Gen makes this so much easier. When we started photographing these on the HiLite, we used a Christmas tree switch that I trigger with my foot that turns my main light on and off. It is incredibly simple! With the Christmas tree light, I had found a way to mechanize what I had done on accident. However, with Godox lights, I found I can turn the light on and off from the transmitter, which eliminated the tree switch. I train and retrain my posers all the time so that they know how to appropriately pose these dancers and gymnasts for this type of imagery. Sometimes these athletes are standing in very simple poses, and sometimes they’re jumping. Either way works, but I think the more dynamic the pose, the better it is
NG – How do you market your silhouettes for sale?
SZ – I show the images on site and EVERYONE buys both the regular pose as well as the silhouette. I typically sell twice as much. My buy rate is very high and honestly every single silhouette is sold! So many people love them that it has become our signature image. Many times, parents see us taking our photos, and they get excited. I make sure the photographer and the images are always in view, but not too close to the parents. When parents see their child jumping and posing gorgeous and dynamic on the HiLite, they get excited. I will say though that, this has a lot to do with our staff and the amount of training and retraining of posing being taught, it’s how I want them to pose these athletes.