Francine Schaepper

Francine Schaepper

Self Portrait.

After sometime searching for Photographers specialising in Martial Arts I came across Francine Schaepper. I feel a certain amount of affinity with her motivations and style. She has an extensive range of different martial arts and as such has a well designed separate website dedicated to it. 

screenshot from website.


Black and white imagery has been used to document Karate. Giving a more traditional feel to the images.

This is Horse stance a traditional Karate they perform techniques in unison, here they are doing a 'hammer fist block'. The mirrors in the background help to add to the image. Group shots like this should help me to display the discipline of the martial artists.

standing in ready stance, waiting for instruction. Great light and composition again this is aided by the mirror. Unfortunately there are no mirrors at the Maverick academy so I will be unable to create a similar image.

Kung fu

I like the over the shoulder shot she has taken here, also because the man on the right is crouching down it gives the photo a better composition.

In this gallery there is a mixture of both colour images and black and white. Perhaps to demonstrate tradition meeting modernisation.

Low down group shot, wide angle lens.

Use of weapons as props, there are many dummy weapons at Maverick that I could document, such as knifes, staffs and swords. 

Many different outfits ranging from the very traditional to modern sports tops can be found in the kung fu section. Although there are a range of uniforms at maverick they generally only range in colour rather than style.


Schwingen (also known as swiss wrestling) is a German word meaning to swing. It is a national sport of Switzerland. Competetitors wear Schwingerhosen which are specialised trousers with belts attached to grab hold. To win a competitor must pin their opponents shoulder to the ground.

These images of Schwingen stand out drastically from the rest because of the outdoor, dirty nature of the sport. This action shot of a competitor being pinned has great detail and colour.

On her website she states that her goal is to capture the essence of Martial arts. It seems to me that she achieves this by capturing the moments of camaraderie as well as the excitement and action.

Athlete portraits

I love the lighting and action in this image. The use of dust on the boxing glove makes what would be a  very plain image suddenly full on life. I also like that the punch bag is only viewable because of the reflection on the lower side and the negative space created by the dust/chalk.

Sequence photography. In these images the subject has been flooded with light. This style of photography is unappealing to me as almost all detail has been removed from the face and arms.

This striking image has been taken in what looks like an old factory. I enjoy seeing environmental portraiture such as this. When executed well it brings the correctly exposed subject forward as the background is under exposed. 

Flash lit from the left. Subject coming slightly out of the frame.

Iaido & Naginata

Iaido translates roughly into english as: the way of mental presence and immediate reaction. It is an ancient Japanese martial art which focuses on having incredible reaction times, removing the sword or shinken from it's scabbard with extreme speed, then executing a technique or counter attack before placing the sword back again. Naginata is reference to traditional Japanese pole weapon.


I like the use of black and white in this image because the background has now been divided three ways horizontally into white, dark grey and light grey. 

Here you can see the use of the Naginata weapon. She has used a sepia tone for the image which suits the traditional aspects of the martial art.

Here the use of low depth of field and unconventional composition (empty space of the left) has created a more mysterious image.


Kendo "Way of the sword" is a japanese sport and martial art in which practitioners don protective armour called bōgu and bamboo sword called shinai. 

Brazilian Jiu Jitzu

Brazilian Jiu Jitzu is a combat sport, martial art and self defence system based around grappling and ground fighting.

The Warrior Series

These are her selected 'high end' works.

'flying side kick' Snow and clouded sky make for a dramatic image

Ninjutsu in black and white

Here she has used a colour image, good definition on the black uniform despite the black background.

This jumping action shot with staff is a good reference point for my own work as there are many jumping kick techniques in karate and kickboxing. Though I feel that this is one of her weaker images as the subject is over exposed and the background too under exposed. The black uniform disappears into the darkness and the whole image feels quite unnatural.

I like her use of natural lighting in this image. Unfortunately most of the classes at Maverick take place in the evening so I will be very lucky to get the chance to shoot with daylight.

Here the subject performs a round house kick on the edge of a cliff. Great exposure on the top half of the image (sky, water and torso/face of the subject), but the bottom half is left under exposed.