Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich


Action Sport Photography with Red Bull Photographer Corey Rich


Lesson Info

Shoot: Action Shot with Strobes

You're on cloudy white balance with burst. Okay, perfect, perfect. Okay, so I'm on, I'm on the Nikon D and I have the Profoto Air System on top if you're wondering what this is. This is so that we can communicate with the heads. But we're not doing that now. I'm just leaving it on the camera because it makes it a little bit easier. Now because I'm shooting natural light I'm gonna go ahead and put it in continuous high so that I can shoot a bunch of frames as the athletes slide down the rail. I am on cloudy white balance. I'm 100 ISO, f5 at 1600th of a second. Now I'm in auto-focus but I'm actually gonna pre-focus on the rail. I'm so wide on a 16 to 35 that it virtually makes no difference whether I'm at 5, 5.6, f8, f4.5 I have plenty of depth of field when their 15 to 30 feet away from me. So I'm not so concerned about auto-focus. This is less about tracking and it's much more about composing my shot and figuring out what I want in the frame, I'm pressing the shutter. And let's see w...

hat we can do actually with a 16 to 35 natural light. So of course before they get out there, and actually Bret I'm gonna go ahead and pop this off, maybe I'll let you do that. One of the things that I try to do, and the reason I just took that off is I wanna keep my ball cap on a little longer, it's keeping my head warm. And so I can get it underneath my hat if I don't have the remote on. As soon as I put on the remote of course I need to turn my hat around. Okay, so let me check my exposure. And I forgot we're tethered. Okay, by the way, one other important note anyone that just tuned in, this is not how I typically shoot outdoors. I do not bring a folding table and a laptop and a generator to shoot. But we're doing this so that you can see at home the pictures that I'm shooting. So this is called shooting tethered. I have a cable plugged into the camera, we're shooting into Capture One on a MacBook Pro. And I'm gonna need to walk over here occasionally. That looks like we're actually pretty decent. I could actually open up. Why not go to 1600? Why don't I, let me shoot a frame at 1600th of a second. Okay how's that lookin'? Seems a little better for available light. Alright. Okay, so one other thing I wanna point out is I have some strobes set up, we're not using them right now, this is really about just figuring out what this image is gonna look like, what the action is gonna be as the athletes move through the frame. Hey Cody! Let's do it. (camera shutter rapidly clicks) Okay, so did a burst of frames. I bet we got 10 frames as Cody moves through the air. And right away I can see a few issues occurring. I can see, and you know we touched on this this morning, but it's worth pointing out, the rail looks great, it's branded Northstar, you can see the snowflake, it's yellow, but that black flag sticking up in the background, pretty tough. It's just an object sticking out of Cody's back. So, I'm gonna ask, is there any chance that we could actually pop the, take the black flag down? Perfect, perfect. And myaybe even just hide it behind that far rail, would be great. So, you know, I'm organizing the frame. That's kind of the first step. I'm trying to figure out what's happening in this photograph. What's working, what's happening in this photograph that's not working. Now, as you see this at home, what you're seeing is this is not the most, you know this is not an incredible composition. But I'm pretending I'm shooting this for sort of what we call the endemic world, which is in the snow sports park world, people like to see the entire feature. So you know, where they're starting, where they're coming from, and where they're ending, exiting the rail. So, Cody looks good, of course that's no surprise. Cody always looks good as he's skiing. I can also see that, one of the issues is Cody's wearing a green sweatshirt. And while it's kinda bright when you're looking at it on snow, as soon as we see it against these dark trees, and I decided to shoot in this direction because there are actually, there's a dark background. And so I can see that there's a bit of a challenge and by adding light we might be able to make Cody pop a little bit if we can just create some fill. So, I wanna do the same thing, we've removed the flag. Now I wanna shoot that same picture with Dylan on the snowboard. Dylan's in a slightly brighter top. He has kind of a reddish-orange flannel, same flannel that he was wearing this morning. So, let's try that, let's see how that looks with available light and then we'll decide to progress into adding some strobes. Okay. And let's, okay Dylan let's do it! Okay our exposure just changed. (camera shutter rapidly clicks) Okay. So, one thing that happened there is just as Dylan started heading down the hill our exposure changed so that he's in the clouds, we're in the shade, so that's a fail, right? I'm still exposed for the highlights because I have to be we still have bright clouds above our heads. And so this is a great moment where adding strobes makes a difference. Somehow we need to make Dylan's exposure on the rail equal or greater than the exposure of that background. So, this is kind of the nature of shooting in outdoor environments. We have no control over what Mother Nature's gonna dish out. We started out with bluebird sky, now we have partly cloudy. And partly cloudy I'll take any day, over bluebird sky, because it's more dramatic, it gives us something to work with in terms of elements in the sky. However, it makes it tricky because the light just keeps on changing on us. So, Cody is gonna take another pass here. I'm sort of always paying attention to what he's doing. Alright, that looked cool.

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