Extreme sports, also known as adventure sports, are expected to be action-packed and are often somewhat dangerous. These games are not for the weak-hearted nor the clumsy. Normally, these sports entail doing extreme stunts involving great speed or going to dangerous heights.
If you are a photographer wishing to cover extreme sports, you need a real passion for adventures to take amazing photographs of the action. To be a pro photographer of extreme sports, you need advanced equipment, a good eye and deep knowledge of the athletes’ world.
What you need
In order for you to get the best shots in the next extreme sports event you should consider packing the following devices:
- Camera and Lens- In order to take the best shots in extreme sports, you need a camera that is light enough for you to easily move around. The best lens to use should be 50 mm with f/1.8 or f/1.4. Also, if your lens is wide-angle, it will give you more vivid angles and versatility.
- Flashgun- Having a high quality flashgun will let you capture dynamic moments with a fast shutter speed and a low ISO (between 200 and 400). A powerful flashgun can increase the light in the scene without directly firing at the subject because it uses enough wattage.
- Camera Trigger- Smart camera trigger like MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger is designed to capture high-speed moving objects—which is perfect for extreme sports. This smartphone-controlled trigger has sensitive sensors that can be triggered by lightning, sound, vibration, or objects that cuts through the laser beam.
ALSO READ: 10 Things You Can Do with a Camera Trigger
Tips for shooting extreme sports photos
To help you improve your extreme sports photography skills, read the tips below and find out how you can apply them in your career as a photographer.
1. Make sure you know the sport.
If you want to find out which shots will be the best to take during the actual event or game, you need to do your research beforehand. First of all, study the sport itself—its mechanics, nature, and the area where it will be held - which is very important for you to know and to predict where the action will take place next.— This will help you know where to look and quickly decide what kind of photos should be taken.
It will also help if you browse existing extreme sports photographs on websites. This will give you an idea of what your clients or audience would likely find terrific.
2. Set the right camera settings.
Extreme sports are normally fast therefore capturing split-second moments requires a high-speed camera. Most photographers rely either on a fast shutter speed or a high speed sync flash. If you are a newbie to extreme sports photography, stick to using a fast shutter speed for easier control unless you have to shoot at night or you have to cover indoor skating.
To properly set your camera settings, first set your camera to Shutter Priority mode and choose a shutter speed of 1/500th second or faster. This will prevent motion blurs in your pictures. Beginners are also advised to start by using a wider aperture and a higher ISO to get sharper images with a bigger depth of field.
The best focus mode to use is Ai servo mode since it is intended to capture actions. You can also pre-focus to the location you intend on taking the shot, then change to manual focus to lock your focus. When your subject is in the location of your target photo, press the shutter button to take the shots.
3. Find the perfect spot to take photos.
An important part of knowing the sport is being familiar with the area where the game or event will take place. You need to find the right spot where you can capture the action and take the best shots. Also make sure you can easily move around to get as close as possible to the action.
Sports photographers usually need a special or VIP access to sports events to allow them access to the best spots where they can get the greatest shots. Make sure you organize your special access passes as early as possible to help you get to the spots you need to shoot the best extreme sports photographs.
4. Be creative with your angles.
To capture dynamic photos, vary your angles. You do not need to put yourself at risk or use complex tricks —all you need is the right equipment.
For instance, with a wide-angle lens you can capture a wide view angle to exaggerate movements in the foreground. Also, do not be afraid to get dirty -extreme sports are often best captured from low angles - so be ready to lie in the dirt.
5. Get the sun behind your back.
Taking photos with the bright sun in front of you will make it difficult for you to control the exposure. For this reason, it is best if you take shots with the sun behind you for better lighting.
6. Be as close as possible to the action.
Your main goal in shooting extreme sports photos is to capture as much action as possible. To do this, get close to your subject. The closer you get, the more you can capture— from facial expressions to the smallest of details an intense scenario generates.
You can use a telephoto zoom lens to make this kind of close-up shots possible. However you will sacrifice the depth of field and the image will be compressed.
7. Mind your safety.
No matter how hard you intend on getting high-quality extreme sports photos, remember that your safety should be your top priority. You may feel like exposing yourself to risk in order to capture split-second action, but be smart enough to know when and where risk turns into danger.
Extreme sports photography is one of the most difficult and most challenging types of photography out there. It may look easy to do but the reality is that it requires a lot of effort, honed skills, and discipline to shoot adrenaline-charged moments and produce the best photos.
If you're just starting in this unique field of photography, make sure you use these 7 tips and be patient when honing your skills. It may take time to learn from your mistakes before you master extreme sports photography, but when you do it right, remember that the fruit of your hard work is truly rewarding.