Make Security Guards Happy, Shoot a Skateboarder
By Ryan Allan
27 Sep 2007
So you like hopping fences, running from security guards and dealing with police on a daily basis? Then you should try your had a photographing skateboarding! It's not really all that bad and you can sit in ditches and alleyways all day long.
If this sounds at all exciting than read on.
I have a little list of what you will need and how to pull off a couple basic shots.
First off lets start with gear.
A basic kit includes:
A DSLR, fisheye lens, tele lens and at least two flashes. If you don't have the latest DSLR and its dedicated flashes you are also going to need some form of wireless trigger system as well.
The goal with a skateboard photo is to make the trick look as high, scary or stylish as possible. There for use angles that will exaggerate the height of an obstacle or increase the width of a gap etcetera.
The reason we use so many flashes is to make the skater pop out from the background. Off camera is the preferred since this really makes the action pop. Two flashes are enough. Three is better. Place the flashes in a position that will create some drama in the photo. The common set up is to have them opposing each other at a 45-degree angle from your camera. You are battling the sun here so get those flashes as close as you can without getting them in the shot. If you are shooting outside you are going to want to go with the fastest sync speed you can get. Usually 1/250th unless you have the good old Nikon D70. (Syncs at anything with non-dedicated flashes) You also want to get about F 5.6 or F 8 from your flash. This will help you get sharp images since skaters whizzing by at high speeds aren't too easy to focus on.
One rule within the skateboard world that many photographers aren't aware of is that you have to show where the skater is coming from and where they are going to land. This is what sets our shots apart from Johnny newspaper's shots. Sure you might want to show only the skater in the air and call it art but please resist. From a skaters perspective it is just plain confusing and hard to figure out.
Creativity is really admired and rewarded in skateboarding so don't be afraid to think outside of the box and really come up with new techniques. Skateboarding is an art and so skateboarders are very open to seeing their sport represented artistically. Most of all get out and have fun. Also wear good fitting shoes so you can hop that fence with ease.