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Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX

Lesson 35 from: Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich

Corey Rich

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Lesson Info

35. Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What Makes A Great Action Photo


Conceptualize the Shoot


Research Location / Wardrobe / Props for Action Shoot


Safety Tips for Action Photographers


What Gear Do I Need? Packing and Prep


Workflow and Asset Management


Ingesting and Organizing Files


Editing Down Your Selects


Post Processing Overview


Working with Clients to Select Finals


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 1


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 2


Retouching & Post Processing: Image 3


Final Client Delivery


Introduction to Snow Athletes


Setting up the Shot: Using Natural Light


Getting that First Action Shot: Snow Park


Scouting Location for Action Shot: Snow Park


Capturing Variation of Snow Park Action Shot


Refining the Snow Park Action Shot


Action Shot with Strobes Overview


Shoot: Action Shot with Strobes


How to Light Using Strobes


Action Shoot: Snow Park with Strobes


Refining the Snow Park Action Shoot: Using Strobes


Capturing Variation with Snow Park Athletes


Capturing Portraits: Snowboarder


Capturing Portrait: Skier


Shoot: Feature Jump Action Shot Afternoon Natural Light


Introduction to Today's Shoot


Building a Rapport with the Athlete: BMX Rider


Scouting Location for Action Shot: Indoor BMX Park & Natural Light


Getting the First Action Shot: BMX


Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX


Prepping Gear & Refining the Action Shot: BMX


Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Natural Light


Setting up Remote Cameras


Capturing BMX Action Shots: Remote Cameras


Conceptualizing the Shot: Using Strobes in Indoor BMX Park


Lighting with Strobes: Indoor BMX Park


Action Shoot: BMX Athlete with Strobes


Capturing Variations of BMX Athlete


Shoot High Angle Action Shot: BMX Rider


Directing an Athlete Portrait: Indoors


Lighting a Portrait: Indoor BMX Athlete


Portrait Demo: Indoors BMX Athlete


Portrait Demo: Adding Atmosphere


Transmitting Live from the Field


Panel Q&A


Lesson Info

Conceptualizing the Action Shot: BMX

This is like a great sort of safe spot, or safer spot, if I'm low and this is a clean background. Anything that can happen up in this area could be cool, and it might be just real shallow depth of field. We're getting some nice bounce light up on you, so I might be sort of wide or medium focal length lens. This angle's cleaner than this angle, there's just less stuff in the background. Gotcha, totally. Yeah, well this is a unique obstacle, so I'll cruise around on it, trying to figure it out a little bit. May not have much, but we can definitely do some cool fun stuff over the doorway. Cool. And which way, I mean, maybe it's too early to say, would it be going this way? To the right, yeah, that's my natural way. Awesome. Good, that's better for the light. And then what about, just from a safety perspective, if I'm in here. You're absolutely fine. Cool. And then what about, where do you think, should we roll the cart inside the door? This might be our biggest challenge, is w...

here we put the cart. If you want to, I mean, the wires aren't gonna affect me here, but as long as they're not in your shot and that's what you want, that's fine. Yeah, okay. Great, cool. Alright. So this might actually be okay, Yeah. In this zone? I mean, if you come a little more further then I can just go over it right here. Cool, sounds great. Do you want to tape down the-- Nah. Okay. I come from the streets. I love it. We run over cables all the day. Cool, I can grab that. Sweet. Let's see, Brett, I think I'm gonna go, maybe I'll start twenty-forty-seventy, see what it looks like, and then, I'd love to go to a prime, where we can just go even faster. Lemme see. I have a feeling it's gonna be more like fifty. Fifty's gonna be-- Might be twenty-four, actually. Yeah, let's see. Yeah, let's actually go to a prime. I think I'm gonna need it just for speed. I'm gonna immediately-- I'm gonna go up to... 2000 ISO. We're gonna be trying to stop some action. Do you want the twenty-four for that? I'll have the twenty-four. We'll see what the twenty-four looks like. So the beauty of this prime, this twenty-four, is it's really fast, so it's a f/1.4 lens. I don't often shoot sports at 1.4, but I'll go to even f/2 or 1.8. It allows me the ability to have really shallow depth of field, and in low light, still stop action. That's pretty good. So that's 1000 ISO--I'm sorry, 2000 ISO, 1/1000th of a second, f/1.8. And guys, if you have fast lenses, any primes right now make a big difference, to go beyond 2.8. It's dark enough in here, as soon as we get out of those patches of sun, I'm already at 2000 ISO, 1/1000th of a second, 1.8, and I might even go open up all the way to 1.4. But it gets a lot trickier with that light. Okay. Okay. And Corey, I'm good here, if I'm just looking up. (indistinct speaking in distance) Great. (shutter clicks) Twenty-four feels pretty--even that feels pretty tight. [Camera Assistant] Do you wanna go sixteen? Um, let me see, I just wanna see what this light's doing, so I can see when he moves over the top of me, does it feel like I'm a little hot there, or does it look like-- [Camera Assistant] Yeah, you're clipping the highlights. Just there? What about at the start of that? [Camera Assistant] Nope. Yeah, I think, Brett, lemme do one more pass horizontally and see what that looks like, and then we can decide, maybe we even go fisheye. Okay, Corey, whenever you're ready, let's give it a pass. (indistinct speaking in distance) Cool. [Camera Assistant] (unintelligible mutter) Yup. (shutter clicks) Cool. And I think what I noticed is it's actually on this far-right side is the more interesting picture. Like right over the arch, which, of course, I cropped his head. Yeah, let's go sixteen, because I don't think we're getting enough context, in terms of where he is in that photograph. So now I'm going to a sixteen millimeter, f/2.8 fisheye lens, so of course I'm gonna have to up my ISO or slow down my shutter speed. So I'm gonna go, and this is pretty cool, the new D5 has an ISO button, which I forgot, that's right at your fingers, so without even changing, without looking through your lens, you can up your ISO. So I'm gonna go 3200. (shutter clicks) How does that look? Yup, that's cool. Okay, Corey, I think this is looking better for me. (indistinct background chatter) Yeah, yeah. Okay, let's do it! (shutter clicks) Cool, I think that looked really, really cool even through my viewfinder. We start just getting context as to where he is. So I'm gonna kind of play with it now and start playing with the lines a little bit, figuring out how I can make this more interesting. Okay, I don't like that exit sign. I wanna show you, there's an exit sign in this hallway, and if I'm far-right, that comes into the shot. Maybe I can-- (shutter clicks) Cool, so I kinda like that line, I'm getting big yellow line in the foreground and then this is curving out, so let's try that. Corey, am I okay if I'm kinda leaning in here? Sure. Cool, alright. And I know there's people in my shot, but this is more about just how to do it. And Corey, I'm ready when you are. (shutter clicks) Cool, let's see how that looks on-screen. Looks like I cropped him out a little bit at the beginning. That starts to look cool at the end. Let's try--I wanna do that one more time. I think I could frame up just ever so slightly. Okay Corey, I'm ready when you are. (shutter clicks) Great. So--Hey Corey, you wanna check this out and tell me what's working and what's not? Wow, that's pretty nice, I like that. Cool, that's neat, I love this, like the line right here. Lemme go backwards here. So I think this spot in here is starting to look cool, at least aesthetically. Yeah, and typically, that shot right there is what you wanna go for, the middle part of the tuck. Cool, okay. Like, timing-wise. Great, and I'm conscious of, I know there's a camera operator here, Of course. Not sure what this is. Now, the other thing is, if we're trying to make a perfect frame, I would probably take this sign off the door, and I might even kill those lights in the hallway, because I think that's distracting. In fact, lemme--Brett, do you mind seeing if it's easy to kill that light and take the sign off, let's do it, because I'd love to shoot one more, I'm a perfectionist, can't help that. Let's do it, absolutely. It looks like there's a screen up there that I'm catching, but all of those are pretty minor refinements. You went with that super fish, yeah? Yeah, that sixteen, sixteen mil. That's typically what a lot of BMX photographers use if they're in a tight situation just like this, since you're trying to get everything in the shot, so you're doing well. Cool, and I think Woodward, what's great, is their ceiling is actually pretty interesting, it's like, consistent patterns, and the way that you're doing this, it's like you're framed in between these two beams, which is cool, because this is typically a pretty big challenge, is how do you work with all these lines? Gotcha, and that's probably coming from a photographer's perspective. It's nice. Exactly. So from a trick perspective that's the moment, that's the peak moment. Cool. I like also that the light's popping out. Through the wheels. Through those wheels, yeah. I like it. And it's also, it's funny, yesterday we talked about what the athletes on the snow, the dark wardrobe didn't work, but your dark outfit here is perfect. Yeah, sometimes it happens. I've actually traveled with some photographers and they'll ask, "Hey, do you have a blue shirt, a yellow shirt?" And those are colors I never use, "but it would look really good with this photo." So I understand making the colors pop and everything. Cool, alright, maybe if you're willing to, we'll give it one or two more goes, and then we'll switch it up. So there's no independent light switch, but ultimately we could cover that. Cool. I think we'll do one more frame, and then we'll move on. If we had more time, we'd cover the light inside the hallway, but meanwhile, let's-- we'll get this frame. I'm getting a little more comfortable with this, so I'm gonna try to just go a little faster, so I'll kinda jump out of the frame. Cool, perfect. I'll frame up a little higher. That's good to know. Okay, Corey, I'm good when you are. (shutter clicks) Did he go out of the frame? Looks like they're loading right now. Is that that last pass right there? Oh, that's pretty good. Yeah that was nice, Corey, it is a little bit higher. Alright, we'll do one last one and then we'll move on. I have an issue where I could do this for like two hours. Okay, and I'm good. (shutter clicks) Great. Cool. Alright, and it's worth pointing out, so I'm auto-focusing, he's almost at infinity on a fisheye, so I'm focusing on the rim, the lip. Looks great, those are great frames. Somewhere in there there's a nice one. So I'm focusing on this lip, I know we're at infinity, he's in focus, so I'm not auto-focusing once he takes off. So that's 3200 ISO, 1/1000th, f/2. on a sixteen millimeter lens. Right on. Cool. Happy with it? Yeah, I think somewhere in that batch there's a nice one. I think this adds a lot, that aesthetic of the line-- I like it. Yeah. Going through the frame. I managed to crop out the TV, and I'm not sure you can see any people. There was a rail right here that I kind of decided to just push it right to that edge, just to clean up the frame.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Action Sport Photography Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

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!

Zoe Heimdal

I really enjoyed this class! I am not an "action sports photographer" -- just an avid photo enthusiast, and I found this class highly informative/interesting. Corey has a very down-to-earth quality in the way he presents information... a regular guy, who knows a ton, and is sharing his wisdom. Clearly many topics/tips were off-the-cuff as he ran into situations during his shoots -- it just felt very "real" -- like I was there with him, getting a private lesson. There was quite a bit of info dealing with camera cards/photos/apps that was ubiquitous to any photographer. And then it was interesting to hear about his travel bags and what he brings to shoots (a ridiculous amount of gear, but everything with a purpose). There are hours of on-site filming for an outdoor ski and an indoor bmx shot... with Cory trying/failing/succeeding in many attempts at things -- just like a real photo shoot would happen. His advice for capturing a good/workable shot from the get-go and then spending the time on the riskier/more-creative shots, was solid -- as far as keeping your clients happy no matter what. I was genuinely surprised at how interesting/useful I found this class (being that I rarely take action shots) -- and I'd encourage any photo enthusiast, or person in the earlier stages of any professional photography career, to check out this class. My one piece of constructive criticism for Cory/CreativeLive -- try to represent women? This class only had the briefest of inclusion of females, and left me with the impression (I'm hoping incorrectly), that the world of action sports photography, is a man's world.

Student Work