After noticing that Boardworld photo contests attract photographers of high caliber (ridiculously amazing prizes will do that), rider26 and I wanted to make something available for those of you out there who simply go to the mountains to shred and have a good time rather than professionaly taking photos. Yeah, it sucks if your riding snaps don’t stand a chance against perfectly composed photos of pros boosting out of halfpipes - so welcome to the “Most Improved Photo” competition!
In this competition, I will be posting tips on how to improve your photos. It’s amazing how a little tweaking of your composition can turn your run-of-the-mill vacation shot into something to get your mates stoked.
So, you will post your best shots in this thread, and I will give you tips on how to improve them, or praise you when it’s rad. I will be looking for the person, who over the season, puts in the effort to improve their shots. Who knows? maybe that perfectly composed sunset shot of your little sister doing a 30cm ollie will take the cake! Or it could be a mellow shot of you and your mates sharing a cold one after a hard day’s shred.
If everyone gets a little better, then everyone wins, right?
JUST REMEMBER: NO TINDYS! If you notice you shot a Tindy, just get the offending party to hike that jump again and do it right!
POST 1: THE LESSON
Here are some general tips to keep in mind. The more they get drilled into you, the better.
1. Rule of thirds
Having the rider in the middle of photo is not terribly interesting. Also, leave a space in front of the rider for him to ride into.
In this photo the rider is positioned according to the rule of thirds. This makes the photo more dynamic.
2. Leading lines
Lines in your photo leading to the action or around it is really visually interesting. Diagonals especially.
Same photo. Here we have leading lines with the trees leading up to the rider on the left half of the photo. On the right we have the big tree stump diagonals leading our eyes back to the action.
3. Show the takeoff & landing
It’s possible to cut one of these but it depends on the shot.
In this one, the rider is all up close, but we can’t see where he is. Is he dropping a cliff, hitting a booter, or just ollieing on flat ground?
4. Provide context
Show where the action is happening. NO GUY-IN-THE-SKY shots (just a guy in the air). This really should be part of point #3.
Try not to miss the grab. If the rider misses the grab, they can hike it again! (unless it’s a steezy Mark Frank Montoya no-grab)
6. Don’t over-photoshop it!
This is the most annoying. Keep the colours real - don’t crank the saturation to give yourself a deep blue sky (and in the process make your rider’s face beet red). Don’t use photoshop effects to similate tilt-shift lenses etc. It just looks fake (unless you’re a retouching pro, which most of us aren’t). Just use photoshop sparingly and like I said, keep it real.
In this photo, I’ve cranked the saturation so that I have a beautiful blue sky. Sick! Actually, the trees look pretty sick now, and the rider looks radioactive :(
7. If you have to crop, keep the aspect ratio the same
Photos in a funny size just scream, “I was a bad photo that was CROPPED”. Photos cropped with the same aspect ratio say, “the photographer who took me was brilliant and he composed his shot perfectly”.
This actually doesn’t look too bad, but it’s not an exact square crop. I look at this crop and think, ‘hmmm, what was the photographer trying to hide on the right side?’
8. When you compose, keep your horizons straight.
Tilting the photo like this makes the rider look like he’s going huge…but it just looks like I can’t hold my camera level.
and that’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure more tidbits will pop up during the season.
In closing, I just want to say that all rules are meant to be broken, but you have to know the rules first!