Over the weekend of 24th-25th October, I managed to get out with my camera to my local airsoft gaming centre in Lutterworth in order to get some images of this great sport.

Since having my first tutorial with Dave about where I’m going with my industry project, it seems clear to me that I need to get out to airsoft days with my camera as much as possible seeing as it’s this niche market that I’ll be targeting initially as one of my photography income streams.

Because I play and love the sport it’s a bit of a struggle for me to put my guns down and pick up my camera for these events. Having said that, though, I’m finding myself having as much fun photographing and interacting with the players as a photographer as I do as a player. Add in the fact that I’ve chosen to photograph events for my project during a global pandemic that has and will continue to shut most of the world’s events down, I thought it prudent to get out there and get as many images as I can, whilst I still can.

Because I’m still at the early stages of trying to establish myself as the “go-to guy” for airsoft imagery, I feel that I can get away with a few things that I won’t be able to so much once I’m established. Because of this, I decided to try a different editing style from the usual clean, crisp, colourful one I go for. This time I attempted to go for a more social media (particularly Instagram) look of a matte finish with a dark vignette. From doing this I’ve learnt that this look works on smaller screens, where social media is most often viewed, but doesn’t work (for me) on larger screens and so wouldn’t look very good in a large printed image. This is because, to get the matte look, I adjust the tone curve in Lightroom to remove some of the black from the image. I was going for this look when I started the editing process but have now realised I prefer and am more comfortable with my images having the depth and “punch” from not having colour and black removed.

I feel that I shall still adjust the tone curve in future edits but not to the extent I have with this set of images. I shall also continue to add a darker vignette than I normally would as I feel it adds to the atmosphere of the scene. This vignette will vary from image to image.

The lesson I’ve learnt here is a very important one for my progression, and I feel one step closer to finding “my style” as far as my airsoft imagery goes. It’s also allowed me to get closer to creating a Lightroom preset which will eventually speed-up my post-event editing. This will be a vital step forward for my airsoft money-making venture.

All-in-all, it was definitely the right decision to take to the battlefield with the camera rather than a gun!