Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete


Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich


Lesson Info

Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete

Jeff, I think when you're ready, I think we go back on to a stand. And now, you guys can see if you're standing here watching from home, we have another light set up. We have another Profoto pack. And what we're gonna try to do is add just a little edge light and it's something that Corey made the observation right away. He looked at the photograph and he said in kind of non-technical terms, he said, "boy, I'm not just separating from the wall very much. What could you do that adds an edge to the photograph?" And that's exactly what we're gonna try to do, create an edge light that really separates out his body from that black wall. And so, we're just gonna give this a test. So Corey, maybe let me just fire a frame see what it looks like and we can analyze it on the computer. Just do the same kind of thing? Yeah, and I think it's really halfway between the top and the concrete. I went too slow there. I definitely love the edge. Just getting that separation is great. I don't actu...

ally mind all of this bleed. It actually sort of compliments this daylight right here. And this shaft of light starts to feel a lot like this shaft of light. So already you can see with that little edge right there, you're separating from the wall. And this actually starts to feel intentional. It starts to feel like we're shooting another light across the foreground and another. So there's some bleed right here. If we had time, I'd be interested in trying to keep some of this bleed off the wall and just keep it on the actual concrete. Which we just add a tighter grid and just really isolate where you're gonna be at when you're actually up in the air. And I think that zone, if I had my choice, it would be another four inches lower. Like ever so slightly. It might just be if you just kinda stand up just a tiny bit, because I can't with the speed I have go at that certain spot to get the pop you need. That makes sense. Did you just spin that light out a little, Bly? Let me just see a frame without Corey in it. It's less, but it's still there. Still quite a bit of bleed on the -- Let's try one more time. What we're trying to do, there we go. That helped a lot. That's quite a bit. That's actually really nice. And you know, maybe I should throw the lens hood on, Brett. Oh, I've got it on, okay, nevermind. You're seeing a little bit of flare on the left. Which I don't mind, that's not terrible. And the reason we don't come away from the wall dramatically is we wanna keep the -- The edge on him. This edge as tight as we can so it really just accents the back of you so you can see where you were at. If we come away too far, we're gonna start throwing another shadow that way and we're gonna get way more light and then it'll take the drama out of the shot. And let's see, now that we've spun it off, we're getting less of that bleed on to the black. Let's see if we're still getting the edge and how it looks. Let's just give it a shot. Okay, just let me know when he's coming in. You got him, Brett? Three, two, one. Okay, cool. Nice edge, yeah. I wanna zoom in, can we zoom in? I wanna make sure he's nice and sharp. Yep. Yeah, it looks great. With the focus over here we can -- So I probably went too high again. Yeah, you know it's that balance of I'm trying to decide if I get much higher I lose this cool strip of light but it's working. Look, if you're Red Bull, this works pretty well. There's a lot of Red Bull in this shot. So why don't we go -- Jeff, let's actually shoot faster with 250th of a second. Are we gonna be at our limit? Okay, we're gonna stay there then. So, Alex, how did that work? One question, you getting anything? It's okay, still dialing it in. Okay, okay. Maybe if you're dialing that in, do you want to jump on this camera and fire on the strobes here now that we have the edge light? Cool, great. Corey, I think that what you're doing is great. And we will trade this off. And another interesting point about the lighting too is, you know, lighting takes a lot of time to go ahead when you're setting everything up and we're your really going through it. So you need to plan for hours. I've been on shoots, car shoots, where we've had 20 hours of pre-light before the trigger even gets pulled once. And I think Jeff's making a good point and I'll reiterate that. This is real quick and dirty, we're just showing you the example of one light adding an edge light. I think it's all about this idea of how do you evolve the situation. What we're not showing you is the two or three hours of refining this shot. And really fixing that bleed, putting a grid on, making sure the grid is in the right spot. So, auto-focus real quickly is this button here. Or that one. Or you can use that one. Yep, that's fine and the vertical grip and that's on. Maybe just depress that shutter and see if it's firing. Yep, we're unlocked. Okay, cool, so we'll give you the count in as well. Let me slide out of your frame. Corey, whenever you're ready. Okay, so Corey's coming in. Three, two, one. Ooh, that looked like the strobe fired at the perfect time. Nice. And one of the nice things for me, as you're shooting, it's nice to actually step away. That's nice. Nice moment. Nice timing. It's nice for me to step away or if you're shooting alone, to just step away from the camera and have a bigger perspective of what's happening. I think we're all struggling with sort of where he is. I mean, you could go slightly higher. I should go higher. Yeah, and maybe it's giving up some of this strip, but I would try it. Yeah, I'll try it. You're two feet higher and see what you think. Corey, I think whenever you're ready we're just gonna try slightly higher elevation from a camera perspective. Okay. Okay, here he comes. Three, two, one. Cool, I bet that'll be nice. I think that makes a huge difference just getting him below the Red Bull branding. It would be nice to get him straight on. Sure. You know, I think what's great is this shot has evolved into, you know, we started in that far back long lens, compressed, went in with one light, shot wide and then now we're on a 24-70, a little more compressed with that edge light. And I think it's a better frame than what we started with. We could easily spend an hour here evolving it, but I think your timing is perfect. You're nailing the frame. Alex, how did that go? Looks like it was better over here. Yeah. Let me look real quick, I just want a peak. Also, I used a much quicker shutter than I was. Got it. Yeah, you can almost drag it a little more. That's kinda starting to work in there. Yeah, right there. Yeah, it's almost a little more power. Yeah, exactly. Right, one speed, but -- And again, that's something with time, you could look into bigger strobes.

Class Description

Being an action sports photographer is about more than getting freeze frames of famous athletes. It’s about documenting the experience of people for whom the line between passion and work is blurred. At his or her best, the action photographer tells compelling stories that show us at our most daring, fearless, and adventurous.

Corey Rich is one of the world's leading outdoor adventure and action sports photographers, adept at distilling the essence of extreme action sports and adventure travel and lifestyle.  In addition to documenting extreme sports for Red Bull, Corey has worked for many of the biggest brands in the world.  This is your opportunity to follow Corey as he prepares for a shoot on location, and learn how he evokes powerful brand stories like those he has made for Red Bull. 

Join us for this live class, and you will learn:

  • How to work with a client, and shoot with their brand in mind
  • How to prepare yourself and your gear for a shoot in an extreme environment
  • How to take photos of extreme sports pros, and work with variable light conditions

This class will stream live from the location of the shoot in Lake Tahoe. Corey will be shooting Red Bull athletes as they perform at Ski Mountain Terrain Park and at a nearby BMX park. There will also be a live session from a Tahoe cabin to discuss photo theory and Corey’s experience of building his photo practice and working for Red Bull. 


1Class Introduction 2What Makes A Great Action Photo 3Conceptualize the Shoot 4Research Location / Wardrobe / Props for Action Shoot 5Safety Tips for Action Photographers 6What Gear Do I Need? Packing and Prep 7Workflow and Asset Management 8Ingesting and Organizing Files 9Editing Down Your Selects 10Post Processing Overview 11Working with Clients to Select Finals 12Retouching & Post Processing: Image 1 13Retouching & Post Processing: Image 2 14Retouching & Post Processing: Image 3 15Final Client Delivery 16Introduction to Snow Athletes 17Setting up the Shot: Using Natural Light 18Getting that First Action Shot: Snow Park 19Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park 20Capturing Variation of Snow Park Action Shot 21Refining the Snow Park Action Shot 22Action Shot with Strobes Overview 23Shoot: Action Shot with Strobes 24How to Light Using Strobes 25Action Shoot: Snow Park with Strobes 26Refining the Snow Park Action Shoot: Using Strobes 27Capturing Variation with Snow Park Athletes 28Capturing Portraits: Snowboarder 29Capturing Portrait: Skier 30Shoot: Feature Jump Action Shot Afternoon Natural Light 31Introduction to Today's Shoot 32Building a Rapport with the Athlete: BMX Rider 33Scouting Location for Action Shot: Indoor BMX Park & Natural Light 34Getting the First Action Shot: BMX 35Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX 36Prepping Gear & Refining the Action Shot: BMX 37Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Natural Light 38Setting up Remote Cameras 39Capturing BMX Action Shots: Remote Cameras 40Conceptualizing the Shot: Using Strobes in Indoor BMX Park 41Lighting with Strobes: Indoor BMX Park 42Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Strobes 43Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete 44Shoot High Angle Action Shot: BMX Rider 45Directing an Athlete Portrait: Indoors 46Lighting a Portrait: Indoor BMX Athlete 47Portrait Demo: Indoors BMX Athlete 48Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere 49Transmitting Live from the Field 50Panel Q&A


a Creativelive Student

If you're looking to learn from one of the greats of action photography who also happens to be an incredible instructor, look no further! Corey Rich and his fantastic team will show you every facet of being a great action photographer and they share all of their insights from A to Z. Their instruction is heartfelt and they laid it all out there for everyone's benefit. A huge thank you to Creative Live and Red Bull Photography for bringing this to the world. This is a must have class in your library!


One of the best photographic purchases I've made. Big fan of Corey Rich's work and getting a behind the scenes look at how he works and thinks was thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening. Corey and the others also provided a great amount of insight into the business world behind action sports photography.