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Running Through Glass Photography with Strobes: ´Capturing the Thrill of Sports´

4/17/2023 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Sports photography is all about capturing the action and emotion of an athlete in motion. It requires a photographer to have quick reflexes, excellent timing, and the ability to anticipate the next move. However, for those who want to push the boundaries of their creativity, there are ways to add a touch of drama and magic to their sports photography. One such technique is running through glass photography with strobes. In this video,  BYU Photo's Jaren Wilkey takes you on his journey to capture his bucket list shot of a BYU Football player running through a sheet of glass. Photographed with the Canon R3 and a Phantom Camera. 

Testing The Sugar Glass:

The first step in running through glass photography is to create the "glass." Sugar glass, also known as candy glass, is a popular choice for this technique as it is easy to make and safe for the athlete to run through. To test the sugar glass, you will need to prepare a small batch using corn syrup, sugar, and water. Once the glass has cooled and hardened, test it by hitting it with a hard object. If it shatters realistically, you have the perfect sugar glass.


Once you have tested the sugar glass, it's time to plan your shoot. Choose a location that allows for plenty of space for the athlete to run and for the photographer and assistants to position the strobes. It's essential to have a clear vision of the final image you want to capture, including the angle, lighting, and composition. Make a list of the equipment you will need, including strobes, triggers, stands, and modifiers, and ensure everything is in working order before the shoot.

The Photographer's Kitchen: How to make fake homemade breakaway glass

Before the shoot, it's time to prepare the sugar glass. In a large saucepan, mix corn syrup, sugar, and water, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture reaches 300°F (150°C), remove from heat and pour onto a silicone mat or greased cookie sheet. Allow the glass to cool and harden, then break it into smaller pieces of various sizes. This will give the effect of a shattered pane of glass when the athlete runs through it.

In The Studio:

On the day of the shoot, set up the studio with the strobes, triggers, stands, and modifiers according to your plan. Position the sugar glass on the floor in front of the athlete's path, leaving enough space for them to run through it. Ensure the athlete is wearing appropriate clothing and has warmed up before attempting the run. Once everything is in place, it's time to start shooting.

Capturing The Shot:

The key to capturing a stunning running-through glass photograph is timing. The athlete must run through the glass at the exact moment the strobes fire, freezing the motion and creating a dramatic effect. It may take several attempts to get the timing right, so be patient and keep experimenting until you get the perfect shot. Don't forget to adjust the strobe power, angle, and distance to achieve the desired effect.

Finished Product:

After the shoot, it's time to review and edit the images. Choose the best shots and edit them to enhance the drama and impact of the running-through glass effect. Adjust the exposure, contrast, and saturation as needed, and crop the image to create the perfect composition. Once you're happy with the final result, share it with the world and let your audience marvel at the stunning sports photography you've created.


Running through glass photography with strobes is a unique and creative technique that can add drama and magic to your sports photography. With careful planning, preparation, and practice, you can capture stunning images that will leave your audience in awe. Remember to test

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About BYU Photo:

This is the Youtube home of Brigham Young University Photography. Jaren Wilkey, Nate Edwards and their staff showcase BYU with their photographs and videos. Learn more at and at

Images and video via BYU Photo