’ll agree with me when I say: It is hard to take rock climbing photographs that are interesting. You can improve your odds of landing awesome climbing photos by following 10 simple tips. And in tod
You’ll agree with me when I say:
It is hard to take rock climbing photographs that are interesting.
You can improve your odds of landing awesome climbing photos by following 10 simple tips.
And in today’s post, I’m going to share those tips so you can land one of a kind shots. And in today’s post, I’m going to share those tips so you can land one of a kind shots.
Find unique viewpoints and angles.
Ignore what other photographers are doing, and start doing what looks great to your eye.
Find unique subject matter.
Remember Its not about the climbing route. It is about the people, the breaks, chalking up, scary routes, plants, and animals.
Whatever climbing means to you, express that in your climbing pics.
Hiking to the crag with your camera pack and your climbing gear is a pain. But no one else wants to either. If you put in the work you’ll already be ahead of the game, and much closer to finding something unique.
Extra work includes safety. Rigging your ropes, anchors, and choosing the right vantage point takes some thought. Getting yourself in the places you want to be is often hard work.
It is an investment but it will pay off with cool shots.
We all hike, climb and play as much as we can in places that are beautiful. Don’t forget to include this in your amazing rock climbing photos.
You have to think fast and know your gear well enough to capture moments as they happen.
You’ve also got to know your climbing equipment so you can stay ahead of your athletes.
Remember folks: Safety is number one priority
With climbing photography, there are a lot of moving parts. Many of them have the potential to hurt people.
When cameras, lenses, filters, or bags get dropped it is a bad day.
But when you drop something like that 40 feet up the wall it could hurt or kill someone.
So the lesson of the day: Don’t drop anything!
Keep your climbing gear backed up, and your camera gear tethered and attached. Everyone will be happier this way!
Whether you are jugging up a static rope or rappelling down from the top. Think about what camera gear you might need and only take that up with you.
If you know you won’t get close enough to use the fisheye do yourself a favor and leave it on the ground.
You’ll have athletes performing some crazy hard stuff for you so make sure you can deliver the shots.
Know your camera basics. Things like composition, shutter speed, aperture before you leave the ground. It is easier when you’re on the wall.
This helps you focus, pun intended your time on keeping yourself safe. Then getting those sick rock climbing photos.
Simplicity is great. Things are already complex enough, it’s a lot to wrangle ropes, knots, backups, biners, slings. When you mix camera equipment with creativity. Be careful to avoid complexity wherever possible.
Another reason for simplicity is to find a system that works for you and develop some muscle memory.
Most climbers are familiar with this already. i.e. the locking biners go on the right of my harness, the slings around my left shoulder, etc.
I always take my right handed ascender, the yellow aider, the sling for my camera has the green colored biners on it. Always change lenses or accessories over the opening of a bag, etc.
Over time you’ll develop habits, and it will become second nature.
Start the day’s shooting by defining what your goals are.
Is it to have a great day climbing with friends? Or is it to take great photographs? Is this a shoot for a client, or for your portfolio.
Both call for different planning, different levels of effort, and different gear.
Try to set expectations with yourself. Communicate with the people you’re climbing with what my goals are for the day.
To communicate your goals ask yourself what you are trying to do.
Is this to build your portfolio? Build an image library for stock? Or creative development?
If this shoot is for a client, they will define the goals for you. Your goals help define expectations. This is the first step to communicating those to your team.
Tell your athletes where to be at key moments to ensure the best possible photos. As well as whether you’ll be shooting tight in on them, or wide.
There’s a safety element to this. You are the photographer and need to guide the shoot because if someone gets hurt you might have some fault.
Setting expectations for yourself and your athletes. It establishes you as being in control and knowledgeable.
Gather team input because they may have different ideas than you, or may have safety concerns. They may also have shots they want to get from the day, so be open.
But it is up to you to ensure everyone is safe, and you get the shots that you need.
Be real with yourself and with those around you.
You won’t be successful as a photographer if you are pretending to be something you aren’t.
At the end its about being real with yourself and improving.
It’s ok to acknowledge you are starting out. Or that you get sketched out by the crazy exposure.
If you want to try something creatively that may not work out. Acknowledge it, own it, and do it.
To shoot climbing and find the depth. It does help to understand it. To understand it, you gotta live it and love it.
Talk to people at the climbing gym. Talk to people at competitions, send people a message on social networks.
If you want to shoot with people don’t hold yourself back. Reach out and ask them. Ask as many people as you can.
Climbers love to climb.
Make friends and put yourself out there. It’s hard as a photographer, but get out there and make your art. The more you shoot the better you’ll be at it.
A basic tenet of photography is that the best light is dusk and dawn.
It’s hard to push yourself. To get up super early and get to the crag, then get your ropes rigged and get on the wall before the sun rises.
But it definitely will make your work that much more appealing if you do it.
Light is also about shadows. Light and dark can are compositional elements. This is a tricky juggling act to expose for these situations, but if done right.
There are a lot of details in with climbing. Chalk bags, climbing shoes, beat up clothes, beat up hands, cut up faces.
Shoot this, the details help tell the story of your climb and the climbing lifestyle.
Photograph the hike in, the hike out, the setup, the faces of your friends. Shoot as much as you can of everything, not only the action up on the wall.
My go to recipe, courtesy of Corey Rich is:
Together these images are the start of a mini photo story. They bring the viewer into your adventure and help them relate to your subjects and the activity.
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