Although there has been a lot of resistance within the action sports community to the new boy on the scene there is no question now that freestyle scootering is here to stay for the foreseeable future. This trend has been seen played out before a number of times within the community. This is why I foresee a future where those core scooter riders who stick with the sport no matter what will be apart of the community judging the legitimacy of the next new sport to come up. Like all booming sports they are judged upon what most people see which is small children snaking everyone blindly at there local park. Not many people outside of the sport are privy to how rapidly the sport has progressed and just how insane some of the stuff being accomplished is. As the brand photographer for Grit, Crisp and Lucky scooters as well as one of the go to guys for the vast majority of events within the UK I’ve seen some crazy things done on scooters and also had the pleasure of capturing them. I’ve learnt a lot over my years in in role and hope these top ten tips for shooting freestyle scooting can help you achieve great results when out attempting to take photos of this sport
– Whats in ya Bag?
First things first and before you have even got to your shoot, what equipment are you taking? If the answer is all of your gear then think again! Shooting freestyle scootering is a lot like other extreme sports in that it is location based meaning you can spend a lot of time on your feet moving from one place to another. Only take what you need and make sure that bag you have is a reputable brand of bag so that it is both comfortable and supportive.
– Dress Sense
Bring location based means you can be out shooting in the elements or even a cold damp skatepark. These places are made for people who are exerting themselves for hours on end so don't expect there to be central heating. Make sure you wrap up enough for the location and and if possible bring a extra layer. You'l be thanking yourself when your not so cold that your struggling to fire the shutter.
– Talk Talk talk
Communication is key when shooting any action sport and talking to your subject can help you and your subject in a number of ways. Having them talk you through the trick and how they personally tweak it can help you get the best possible angle while telling them your plans saves you from placing light stands or other gear right in their way.
– Clean up
Although you should be pretty hot on keeping your equipment clean it never hurts to have a Lens pen or lens cloth in your pocket at all times. Skateparks and street locations can be pretty grotty places where lots of dust can get kicked up into the air. One quick wipe before you start prepping your the shot ensures that every pixel shall have it chance to shine as it should in your final image.
– Pre Focus
Once you have an idea of how and where you want to shoot the trick from prefocus your shot. This is key to getting the shot as quickly as possible without having your subject to perform the stunt over and over again. Getting them to stand where they shall be doing the trick and firing a few test shots is a sure way to check your all focused in on the right area.
Freestyle scootering alike any other extreme sport it quite a dangerous activity and those that decide to do it are fully aware of the risks, but thats not where it ends. As you are now documenting it you became apart of that risk and with the highly technical nature of the sport its well worthy being aware of both your surroundings and what your subject is doing. Nobody wants to take a scooter deck to the face.
I can't say enough about off camera flashes, if you are not already using them then change that right now. There are always great chances in which off camera flashes are not needed but the majority of the time I would say they are. Not only do they freeze the action well they also if used well can add more depth to your images making the action seem more explosive. They also open up the opportunity to shooting in low or even no light situations.
– Too close for comfort
Something that is almost a necessity within action sports is with a wide angle or fisheye lens. These lenses allow you to get so much closer to the action which can provide some very striking results. They communicate the extreme nature of the sport really well. If not already in your kit bag then its one for the christmas list.
– Go long
Don't be afraid to get the long lens out and go for something more scenic. If the scene is worthy of capturing and the trick dynamic enough it will work. A good variation is always needed so don't hide behind that Fisheye for fear of the trick not looking "extreme" enough.
Last but no means least remember this is only a set of tips to help you achieve the basics of shooting freestyle scooting. They are not a list of rules that are never to be broken. Switch things up, try something that is unconventional from the normal practice because you might just discover a new and amazing way of documenting the sport.