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Working with a kiteboarding photographer

Dec 21, 2009

Author: compiled by John Bryja, photo by Steve Broadbelt

Kiteboarding photography

One of the biggest challenges for photographers is shooting riders that are new to being photographed. Here are some tips from them to make sure your first big photo session goes well.

Look at the camera When working with a kiter I haven’t shot with before I usually joke that I’ll have to train them how to ride again. This is because when working with a photographer you need to ride for the camera. Do tricks where you can look at the camera, so when you get home and look at the shots, it’s not just a bunch of ass. ­—Stephen Whitesell

Know where to do the trick
Make sure you’re aware of what lens the photographer is shooting with and where to line up. For example, with a fish-eye lens you have to ride pretty close. —Tracy Kraft

Be productive Remember, there’s nothing worse for the photographer than for the rider to make one trick near him, continue past, do three more moves and drop the kite. If a photographer has to wait ten minutes between moves he can shoot, he will soon feel he’s wasting time. ­—Stephen Whitesell

Go with the flow When shooting with a crew, try to get into a flow so that nobody is getting cut off. There tends to be a lot of “traffic” near the photographers. Organized traffic is a good way to avoid anyone getting frustrated. —Tracy Kraft

Be creative Don’t make the photographer come up with all the ideas. Survey the area, find out what direction the light and wind are coming from. Based on those criteria do tricks to favour your body’s rotation in the desired direction. This will help the photographer walk away with more face and less butt shots. —Bryan Elkus

Land your tricks Try to pull tricks that you can stick for the first half of the session. Magazines are leaning more and more to using shots from a sequence in which the rider pulled the trick. After you stick a few sick sequences, go for broke. Hold the grab and try not to spray yourself in the face. —Jason Wolcott

Wait for the sun Don’t do your best move of the day when a cloud blocks the sun and ask, “Did you get that?” Think, wait for sun and ride for the camera. —Stephen Whitesell

Tweak it out Just because you can do a Double S-bend to blind with a Back Mobe out doesn’t mean it is going to photograph any better than an Indy Grab. In fact many times the more simple tricks, when tweaked out, prove to work out better. Learn your grabs and tweak them out! —Bryan Elkus

Don’t hit us Camera gear is expensive, as well as medical bills, try not to hit us. —Tracy Kraft

Give thanks Buy the photographer a six-pack or a burger. They spent three hours standing on the beach or swimming in the water while you had fun. It’s kitesurfing, so we all know the photographer is not getting rich, he is shooting for the love of it. —Jason Wolcott

Think body position
As the rider, do not look at the camera when being photographed. It looks very unnatural and awkward 95 per cent of the time. Instead, the rider should be paying attention to their body position or better yet making sure they are grabbing and poking out the trick. —Bryan Elkus


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