How do I achieve shots like these?


TPF Noob!
Jan 12, 2006
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Hi all,

A couple of questions if I may.....? I was wondering how I would acheive shots like the ones below (at low light). I know I will have to use a flash, so ive gone out and bought one specially. My main concern is.... because of the low light levels I will not be able to get a fast enough shutter speed to really capture my subject without it being a blury mess. I suppose I could switch to manual mode but then I recon i would just be guessing. I was thinking I needed a shutter speed of about 1/100 sec if not faster. Would this be possible in such light condiions.

The shots I am wanting to take, in my mind eye are going to be similar to this (skateboarders). Sorry to I tried to upload just the image and then I tried to post the links for the certain images but it wouldnt work. You'll have to go to portfolio and then onto action shots. Its mainlly the skateboarders at night.

Any help would be greatlly apreciated.

Thank you thank you thank you. You wonderfull photoforum people.

All the best
There a several different lighting conditions on that site...I'm guessing you are asking about the ones in lower light.

I looked at a few of looks like he is using off camera flash. You can tell that flash was used...but the shadows are being cast at an angle that is not the same as the camera to subject direction. Off camera flash can be triggered with a cord, or wirelessly with optical triggers or radio slave triggers etc.

It also looks like he used fast shutter speeds, because it's not really all that dark and I didn't notice any ghosting. If it was darker (with low ambient light) a flash would be sufficient to freeze the action at any shutter speed...because the flash burst is very short.

What camera & flash do you have? You should use your camera's fastest sync speed (fasted shutter speed usable with flash). Usually 1/60 to 1/250. Then figure out the right aperture & flash setting for good exposure.
im not expert but i think he's used a bit more than just a flash looks like studio lights in my oppion
Cheers guys

Big Mike, I am using a Canon eos 500, this has a built in pop up flash as im sure you are aware. I also have a flash gun with a tilt/bounce head. Im not too sure of the modle but its a miranda one that connects to my hotshoe connection. I have on order a wirless slave unit which should be here soon. I was thinking of mounting my Miranda flash on this and then putting it on my tripod. If im right I would then have to use my cameras built in flash to fire the slave??? Correct??

How do I know that what shutter speed I choose say 1/150 sec will sync with my flash. (not too sure what syncing is to be honest). Im not very experienced in flash photography.

Thanks again guys for your help.

If you want a lot of specific advice for skating have a look at the forums at, there are sections on taking and lighting photos.
If you ordered an optical slave, then yes...all you have to do, is to put your flash unit on it...then fire your built-in flash to trigger it. You may have to find the right position to place the that it gets enough flash to trigger it.

The shutter speed does not really matter that much with flash. This is because the flash fires very quickly. The sync speed is the fastest shutter speed that the camera can use with's a limitation of the camera. I'm guessing that yours is 1/125. If you set the shutter to say 1/250...the shutter might not be all the way open when the flash fires.

On the other hand. If you leave the shutter open can expose more the background with the existing ambient light. Other wise, you get bright areas from the flash and the rest of the photo may be too dark.

The more I think about this...the more I realize that it's a fairly advanced thing to do. As suggested, check out how other photographers are doing it.
Thanks for some sound advice guys, the haze is lifting a little now.

I'll check out skaterperception straight away.

Thanks again

PS I'll let you know how I get on:) :) :)
Skate photography is really difficult, especially in low light, but stick with it and it gets easier, I promise. If you end up getting more into it you should give these a try. I just got mine, and they're an absolute godsend in terms of reliability and versatility. For what it's worth, here's my first effort with them. If I remember rightly, I took it at 1/200:


Good luck.
some of those shots look like hot lights maybye just rigged with a extension cord or something, cause those skaters are gonna need a lot of continuous light anyway to do their stunts without killing themselves, 2 birds killed with one stone........

just my 2 cents

buy these, you can always return them...

i think home epot has them for like 30 bucks
I've never seen continuous light used for professional skate photography. In my experience it's always a few strategically placed flash guns controlled via a radio slave unit. The scenes tend to look darker than they are because of the high shutter speed. For example, the shot I posted was taken about half an hour before dusk - there was more than enough light for the skater to see what he was doing but in the picture it looks like the dead of night.

I'm sure it's used from time to time, but I've never come across it.

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