How to: Shoot skateboarding

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by maxbennett, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. maxbennett

    maxbennett TPF Noob!

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    this is my first tutorial, i hope it may inspire people to get involved in the skate scene, or help someone who's having troubles with their skate photography. feel free to add on or ask questions.

    -max


    how to take better skateboarding photos:

    i've been shooting skate photos for a few years now, but not very often. here's 5 tips that might help out if you want to get into it, or all your photos turn out bad when you shoot:

    1. shutter speed*
    make sure the shutter speed is very fast (1/200 or faster), especially if the skater is going very fast. if it's too dark to have a small shutter speed, use a flash (it may seem too bright to have a flash, but it's vital to have a small shutter speed).

    2. angle
    make sure ahead of time where and what the skater is doing. plan out what the angle is, and don't move the camera*. make sure that the angle includes both the start, and the landing of the trick. don't be afraid to be in the way (not completely, but photos will often turn out better if the shot is low, and close to the landing), as long as you're standing up, and you have more then enough time to get out of the way. also: no butt-shots, and no heads cut off. it never hurts to ask the skater to pose where they're going to be to make sure your angle won't cut off their head.

    note: a fisheye lens will help you out a LOT with your angle. it's almost a must in skate photography

    3. timing
    sometimes people spend all their time thinking about the angle and exposure and end up shooting the skater rolling up about to do their trick, or just about to land. if it's a trick in the air, make sure you shoot either
    a) at their highest point
    b) at the time they look the most "into their trick" (legs looking stretched/lanky, skateboard 3/4 finished the trick, etc. it may vary due to the trick). remember: skaters are very repetitive, so figure out where they look the best after a few photos, then just remember how much time after they pop that they look the best, so you can shoot by listening to them.

    i find that if they're doing a grind, most of the time they look the best at the last second before they pop out. if they're doing a flip-to-grind, they often look the best just before they're going into it.

    4. keep shooting
    just because you got a good photo, don't give up, there's always a chance they'll pop it higher or whatnot, and it's always nice to have the photo where they actually land. this is where it's nice to have a digital. a whole roll of film for a single trick can start to put a dent in your wallet if you're shooting for a bunch of people.

    5. be creative
    don't be afraid to do something new. try experimenting with sequences, small depth-of-field's, b&w, different flashes/lights, shots of skate crews chilling while you're shooting the hot-shot, long lens shots of someone filming someone, etc. skateboarding is a whole different culture, and can make some amazing photographs.

    *note: if you want to try something different, try setting the shutter speed higher (1/2 is usually the best), and move the camera along with them. this can be very hard to do, and will look bad most of the time. it has to be absolutely perfect. usually a slow-sync flash will do a better job.
     
  2. hobbes28

    hobbes28 Incredible Supporting Member

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    These are some good tips. Thanks for sharing them.
     
  3. mal

    mal TPF Noob!

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    That's good advice. Although I actually shoot rollerblading, most of the rules of thumb that I go by seem to apply in skateboarding as well. Out of interest, what make and model of fisheye lense do you use?
     
  4. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Thanks alot, that's good stuff. Maybe you can tell me why this photo took on a blurry look in the arms. If I remember correctly the shutter speed was 250. So is that not fast enough?

    [​IMG]


    This shot would've come out better if I had the whole body in shot.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. eggy900

    eggy900 TPF Noob!

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    i notice that a lot of skate videos use fish eye lenses, is that the same for still photography. I'm guessing it is as i lets you get a lot closer, whilst still showing a wide area
     
  6. mal

    mal TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, fisheye lenses are almost always used although there's starting to be a bit of a backlash against them, as a lot of people think the 'low down, up close, distorted corners' fisheye angle is overused.

    [​IMG]

    Not one of mine, sadly.
     
  7. siv

    siv TPF Noob!

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    i done a lot of skate photography and videography. and yeah, photowise, those are good tips.
    and ghoste, i think it looks better a little blurred, after all, they are action shots...
     
  8. mal

    mal TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    Slight head cut offage, but otherwise I'm pretty pleased with this, considering the conditions.
     
  9. captain-spanky

    captain-spanky TPF Noob!

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    i think it looks good with the head cut off... it emphsises the height.. :)

    Thanx Max! I'll try and keep all those points in mind this time round.. :) [​IMG]
     
  10. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, I'd love to shoot Fisheye if I had the extra $2K for one =p
     
  11. nomav6

    nomav6 TPF Noob!

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    that is an awesome pic, but you might want to put it in PS and get rid of that glare on the seat of the bike, but thats just being really picky and I still feel its better then I can do so Im not trying to hate.
    A little off subject, but I haven't skated in awhile but it looks like we're past the freestyle stage, or is he just being old school with the grab? btw I think both ways are great.
     
  12. just_because

    just_because TPF Noob!

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    Have any tips for someone who is just now starting to shoot still pictures of skaters without the fisheye lense and more of a lower class camera ? Just to get me started and what not ?
     

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