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Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich

Lesson 34 of 50

Getting the First Action Shot: BMX

Corey Rich

Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich

Corey Rich

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Lesson Info

34. Getting the First 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

Getting the First Action Shot: BMX

I think this elevated angle cleans up the background. And I don't even need the hood. I'll take it, though. Does it feel like, we'll see if we can do this tethered. There we go, that's perfect. That's the first time we've used our cart on a pitch. Okay, Cory, when you're ready, let's give it another go. (camera clicking) Awesome, that looks great. Oh, that's really sweet. I'm gonna try to isolate. That looks good. You guys like that angle? I bet that's even better, just being. Okay, Cory, when you're ready, let's do it. (camera clicking) Great, so one thing that I'm being really conscious of, even though we're at Woodward, and Woodward's being super supportive, I'm not crazy about that W and the exit sign in the background. So I'm actually framing down, so that I'm just at the edge. I'm just isolating, I want this black wall, and some of these yellow lines. Now I'm exposing for the highlights. I'm opening up slightly, I'm probably a stop brighter than the highlights. And so really, I'm...

trying to capitalize on, this image is about Cory being off the ground, doing the bar spin, I think is what it's called, with his shadow right in that rectangle. Which is really, really cool. So let's see, yeah, okay. So the frame that you're seeing online now, I think this is as close to successful as I've done thus far. So by controlling the exposure, I'm exposing for those highlights, we're getting a nice rim light on Cory, he's almost isolated in that rectangle. That's looking pretty good. Hey, Cory, check this out if you want, on the computer, and see if, uh, we did this yesterday with Dylan and with Cody. But getting Cory's feedback about what's working or not working is super helpful. Oh, I dig it, yeah. Cool. And I feel like I'm a little off on that frame. Go forward one, Bly. Yeah, right there, that's kinda nice, where you're totally isolated. This part, so what we got here, the framing of the shadow is brilliant. The timing of the bar spin is what we gotta work on. So we can do some more, I'll start earlier. That way the bars are backwards in the shadow. That's great, let's give it a few burns, and I'll try to stay in focus. Yeah. Capturing that moment. If we're workin' together, tryin' to figure out the best place. Cool. That looks good. We're workin' together on the shadow, tryin' to figure out the best place to come from, so if we just aim for the little bit in the corner of the shadows. Cool, great. Let's give it a couple more passes, and then we'll switch it up and try something new. And I think the idea, if you're watching from home, it just takes trying it over and over. I like to create the illusion that I do it in the first burst of images, but it turns out it almost never works that way. It's always shooting over and over. Okay. (camera clicking) Great, okay, and I know I let the Woodward W pop into the frame, but it's so dark back there that we're really not even seeing it. So, okay, I'm not sure if we got the better handlebar position. Let's give it one more go, Cory. Yeah. And right now I'm just pre-focusing. (camera clicking) Okay, there's no focus change. I'm at 50 millimeters, f4, I have plenty of depth of field. When I'm this far away from my subject I'm almost at infinity. How was that landing, okay? Boom. Cool, was that last frame? Go back one. That's it. Cool, sweet. I mean, we can-- We can define a little more, like-- Yeah, let's do one last one and then we'll switch it up. We'll try something new. That looks great, Cory. Here's to natural light. And I'ma frame this one a little differently. Alright? (camera clicks) Yep, let's do it. (camera clicking) Okay, now you can see there I made Cory smaller in the frame, and just put more black space around him. And sometimes providing dead space for your editors or your client, you know Red Bull might want this picture in the content pool for dropping text in, because they're gonna advertise in a speaking engagement with Cory. So I'm just giving visual diversity here. Cool, that's great. That's the one. Awesome, alright, so, and again, in the reality I would work this situation more. I'd try 12 different locations, I'd go up high, I'd go down low, and keep on taking advantage of this light. But let's try something on this hump. I think that's pretty cool looking. Let me, I'll roll over it a couple times. Great. And see which-- Cool. Most likely 'cause the sun's this direction, it's gonna be best, so. Great, and I'll kind of watch and then make a decision about where I want to be to shoot. I know it's not gonna be right here, just given there's this some stuff in the foreground. (camera clicking) Okay, so that's gonna be tricky because he's not really in the light there. How about that way? Yeah, that way the light pool, it comes off the top of it. Yeah, let's see what he's got. And it's really helpful, I'll say, to work with an athlete like Cory that's been around cameras so much. He understands the challenge. I'll come over there. Cool. Yeah, so after ridin' around on the hump a little bit, it looks like the lighting isn't particularly in the right spot to getting the photograph you want with the shadows. Sure, sure. That would probably be more like a strobe setup. Yep, cool. And I think what's happening here is really important to point out. Cory's been around enough cameras, he understands what works and what doesn't work here. I saw it immediately as he went over the hump. I said oh, he's outta the light. Like, the hump's in the light, there's a big highlight, he's not in it. And making the call and just saying cool, this doesn't work right now, just saved us an hour. Because banging your head against a wall to make a picture that doesn't exist doesn't make sense. So instead, we're just gonna switch gears and figure out what's possible.

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. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Action Sport Photography Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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.