Skate photography: The 3 things I worry about the most

Skate photography: The 3 things I worry about the most

By: Marlene Hielema

This is Part 1 of a series of video lessons on taking better skateboarding photos.

 

In this vlog I teach you the three things I worry about the most when shooting skateboarding photos.

They are:

  • Shutter speed
  • Capturing the decisive moment
  • Composition

Shutter speed basics

  • Typically with skateboarding photos, the skaters are frozen in the shot – i.e. no motion blur
  • If you want to freeze motion in your skate photos, choose a fast shutter speed
  • In my experience that’s usually 1/1000s or faster
  • I use Shutter Priority mode
  • If you do want to blur the motion for creative effects, shoot at a slower speed, like 1/250s, 1/125s, 1/60s
  • Experiment with the slow shutter speeds to get the blur effect you want

The decisive moment

  • You’ve got to capture the peak moment in a skater’s trick
  • This takes lots of practice so you may not get great results on your first try
  • Watch your skater a few times to get a sense of how the trick looks
  • It helps to have a camera that can shoot in high speed burst mode
  • And if things are moving really fast, shoot with a Lumix camera that can capture 4K or 6K Photo mode

Composition

  • Strong compositions make your skateboarding photos stand out – even if your photos are not technically perfect
  • I like simple compositions with uncluttered backgrounds
  • I like using angles in my compositions as they make photos more interesting
  • Don’t shoot from the same point of view all the time
  • Change your position so you can shoot above and below the skaters to give more of a sense of height and depth
  • Strong composition will make any skater look like a hero doing the most amazing trick, even if they are a beginner

I have tons more tips on composition, so check out this blog post too.

For best results, work one-on-one with a skater friend so you can get lots of practice.

After a few practice sessions, you’ll develop a comfort level shooting skateboarding. You’ll get to know your camera better, and the best settings to use for your style of shooting. You’ll develop muscle memory. Things will become automatic in the future.

Of course there are a few more things to consider, but those are my top three.

  • If you want more skate photography tips, go to part 2 of this series. Coming soon
  • And just for you, I’ve got a cheat sheet with a summary of these notes. Download the pdf here.

Want more? Here’s my previous post on skate photography with tons of examples.

Note:

These tips and techniques also work for bikes, roller skates and scooters.

Your homework:

  • Practice the techniques above
  • Post your best photos on your Instagram account
  • Tag me on Instagram @imagemaven and tell me which techniques you used