Skateboarding is one of those sports that looks like it would be easy to shoot, but in reality it is quite difficult to get great shots. Here are 10 tips for skateboard photography, that will drastically improve your images.
Shoot with a fisheye.
The fisheye is hands down the most common lens used in skateboard photography. It will capture extreme angles of your athletes and show the true difficulty of their tricks. Here’s an article that will show you the best way to use your fisheye: Mind Bending Fisheye Tips
Check out this article for the logic behind this madness. Skaters go big, but it’s a different kind of big than many other sports. Bring that camera to ground level and it will show how extreme the trick/air really is.
Work with the athletes.
It may be fun to just sit off to the side of the skatepark and shoot, but if you ask someone if they would like some cool photos with the promise of sending low res copies later, they’ll be stoked! This brings you in close to the action to get sick shots.
Fisheyes may give you cool distortion, but you won’t want this in every shot. It can take away from the tricks and your shots will end up looking too similar if all you shoot is fisheye! Wide angle won’t have the distortion and appears more natural but still crazy.
Look for cool curves/features to compose the shot around.
Shoot at sunrise and sunset for the best lighting.
Bring out a flash.
Fill flash will fill in the dark details on your athlete when shooting into the sun or midday. Don’t over crank it or it looks fake! Turn it up just enough to make the skater stand out a bit from the background. Flash is a must for any night time skateboard photography when the athletes are hitting the less “legal” urban features.
Keep the background simple!
Try to frame each picture so that the athlete will stand out and the background behind them is not too cluttered. Keep attention on the athlete, this isn’t “Where’s Waldo”.