Skateboarding Photography, as well as skateboarding itself, are fun, outdoor activities that are often associated with teens and millennials. The sheer pace of the sport coupled with the skills, tricks, and mid-air flips ensures that there is never a dull moment.
In essence, the range of skills on offer makes the sport both unpredictable and exciting, since different players have their unique techniques and tricks in their skills locker. Moreover, some tricks are so complicated, hence they may seem unique after every move.
As a photographer, it is vital to capture every skateboarding moment, as it may never be repeated. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or have specialized equipment to take great shots. With a few tips, you will be able to capture every moment perfectly!
Related: Street Photography Tips
Skateboard Photography Tips
1. Set Your Camera to Shutter Priority
As mentioned earlier, skateboard moves only last a few seconds. Therefore, your timing needs to be precise for you to be able to capture these moments perfectly. To help you in this regard, you need to set your camera to shutter priority.
A shutter speed of 1/250fps is the most ideal. You can however adjust it accordingly depending on the speed of the subject.
2. Use Continuous Focus Tracking for Your Skateboarding Photography
When taking pictures of a moving object such as a skateboarder, the biggest challenge is tracking the target subject as they move. Most cameras have a continuous focus system to assist with this. Once you set your camera on continuous focus mode, it will track and re-focus on the target subject as it moves.
3. Shoot When the Light is not Too Harsh
Lighting is an essential aspect of photography. Too much or too little of it affects the visibility of the subject. To get the best shots, you are advised to take your photos in the morning or evening when the sun’s light intensity is not too high. Photos taken at sunrise or sunset have a warm look, as the color of the skin will be orange or reddish.
As you gain experience, you will be able to take high-quality photographs even on a bright sunny day. However, to achieve this, you need to consider the following:
– The direction of the sun, and ensure the sunlight falls in front of the skater
– You can get great photos with long shadows when the sun is directly above
– For dramatic pictures, take shots when the sun is behind the skater
4. Make Sure You Understand The Skateboarder’s Culture
Skateboarding is not just a sport, but a way of life for the athletes and fans. When taking pictures of skateboarders in action, make sure you get a glimpse of the culture along with the action.
5. Get Close
Skateboarding is a sport that takes place in small quarters. Fans want to be as close to the action as possible. Your pictures should give viewers a closer look into the skills and technique that the athletes use. Make sure you get close enough to capture each move perfectly.
6. Get In a Bowl for Your Skateboarding Photography
There is no better place to perfect the art of skateboard photography than skating bowls. In fact, this is where most professional skateboard photographers started playing their trade. Once you master the art of taking pictures in a bowl, you will be better placed to take street skating pictures.
7. Street is Easier
The streets are the best place to start if you’re a newbie at taking skateboard photographs. Start with the simple shots and gradually work towards close ups and varied angles.
8. Use a Fisheye Lens
When it comes to the skateboarding scene, a fisheye lens is a must-have. These lenses offer a greater field of view and create eye-catching photographs. Moreover, fisheye lenses produce significant effects that make skateboard photography even more artistic. Using this type of lens has the following benefits:
– They create distortions that can be used to focus the attention of the viewer on the subject
– They are great at capturing things in a way we cannot see in real life.
As a novice photographer, the first images you take using fisheye lenses will probably not be usable. However, after several practice sessions, you will be able to produce masterpieces.
9. Blur the Background
Skateboard photography is all about capturing the moments with precision. In some shots, you may want to highlight the athlete. This is especially so when the image in question was taken during a complex maneuver.
The best way to ensure that only the athlete and the move are the primary focus of the image is by blurring the background, and any other distracting object. In addition, blurring the image gives it a sense of sophistication.
10. Go From Documenting to Pure Art
The skateboarding culture has a large artistic side. As you take pictures, it is vital to make things as creative as possible. Choose a setting that resonates with this culture. Notably, it does not have to be fancy – a unique spot such as a parking lot or areas with graffiti on the walls will do.
11. It’s All About the Angle
You should strive to give your viewers different perspectives of the action. Try different angle shots to give your skateboard photos a greater visual appeal. You would be surprised at how two different photos of the same thing would look at different angles.
12. Have fun and be Creative
Skateboard photography is all about thinking outside the box and being creative. Come up with new and exciting ways for capturing the action and have fun while at it. As a result, your creativity will be sparked, and you will be able to come up with ridiculous, yet amazing ideas. Ideally, you should try experimenting with positions, heights and angles to get unique shots.
Skateboard photography is an art in its own right. Your photographs should not only capture the action, but also the emotions. If you incorporate your style of photography with these ideas, you will have a masterpiece under your belt in no time. Who knows, you may even be able to monetize your creative work!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.