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Adventure Photography

Lesson 27 of 32

Surf Beach & Sports Selects

Lucas Gilman

Adventure Photography

Lucas Gilman

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Lesson Info

27. Surf Beach & Sports Selects

Lesson Info

Surf Beach & Sports Selects

We're looking a few images here, like I said, this was not by anyway or any means. Eight earth shattering, shoot, earth shattering shoot, but what we're looking for here are these peak moments, thes moments where eric's getting a little bit of elevation off the waves and like I mentioned in the video to do that, he's really got to get speed on ride the wave down the line, basically, so then he can get that amplitude off of the peak of the wave, and it really didn't happen, you know? I mean, we got a couple shots, these air, the best, you know, we had we got a good background if he was higher and the water was splashing on that really dark background, it could make something dynamic, but it just didn't work out on it's like I said, it's a it's, a learning experience. Ah, and you're only given, uh, you know, you can only work with what you're given, um, you know, we made some other shots. So for instance, you saw this one, these little vignettes, but, um, you know, I'm glad you asked a q...

uestion about four run elements because this is something, uh, shot in iceland. And this is actually icebergs that have washed upon the beach and we're incorporating those those foreground elements again it's the same lens it's the eighty two, four hundred but we're using that to compress and give you that sense of immediacy to bring you right into the action on this frame a cz well is this image here which is nor short y sunset uh area uh this is a fork this is actually just the rocks there may be only a foot high on the beach and I'm literally just down in a little cove just shooting low to bring me to bring me that bring me into that image and really give me that a sense of immediacy with this guy uh sometimes a high angle looks great. This is jaws in hawaii on when we talked about giving them a place to go or where they're coming from the back side of this wave was kind of like just blown out ah, and you know, I really wanted to show him and it's sort of like, almost like a hero shot, right? So we're giving me giving him that room to go in that room to breathe essentially um but we we also occasionally do some crazy stuff uh this is here in california this is mavericks um one of the scarier days of my life our boat got hit by one of these waves and almost capsized we had people thrown off the boat but this is where you're you're putting yourself in that situation to get the shot and uh this is a very you know, one of the largest cervix in the world's forty five foot plus forty five plus but waves which sound like bombs going off when when they hit the reef um and we were lucky enough to go out on a really big day and get into some really cool positions and we're constantly working we're in the water to get into this position to seem to that that barrel on such and that's where when you're shooting on the beach your candle kind of landlocked and you're not ableto necessarily move around as much but that's where you rely on the background it doesn't have to be rocks it could be appear it could be some interesting houses or something you know we're just always looking at this and I think the real takeaway is I never want to have the guy on the sky just the guys up in the air on a blue sky with nothing of context to give me a sense of scale or sense of place uh yes there are multiple talent in that photograph so did you get talent releases from everyone so you know, I didn't get talent releases on this last one as faras everybody in this photo actually the guy that is recognisable I do have a talent release on him it's a very it's a small world just jamie mitchell it's very small world when when there's there's only a few guys in the world that actually are surfing these waves so typically everybody knows everybody uh and uh these guys were usually really great guys to work with they're excited to be out there they're sponsored they're looking to be in the public eye and they're trying to go out and get their pictures published so it just depends on it on a commercial viability what the client would be so it's not an unequivocal you know release it's it's ah hey love to have this go out there questionnaire here yeah you said that you were out on a boat and it almost capsized so were you using some kind of waterproof housing sore? You know, I was not using a housing I was just using a basically a rain cover a spray cover in this sense I was lucky enough to be on the front of the boat the back of the boat actually got hit by the wave s o all the guys in the back they're here was destroyed I was lucky enough to be on the front of the boat and I walked away uh relatively uh unshaken I guess you could say but it was it was a scary day there's ah you will see it there's a there's an advertisement by a camera a phone company out there right now that's talking about the world surf league and if you see that advertisement you'll see a clip for there's a guy's getting thrown off of a boat that was and you can see me in the very front they didn't call me for a talent release unfortunately, but I'm the little guy in the front going no don't sink but yeah so some scary stuff but you know this is what you're you know, whether it's, maui and your jaws or you're at mavericks these are the days that you're all those days on the beach where maybe you got skunked all that time that you spent, you know, maybe not getting exactly what you want when it all works out and you document one of the craziest things you've ever seen that's when all this time and all of this energy that you spent comes a flourish in and you're like all of a sudden you take the shot and the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you tingle and you're like, wow, I was there you know through all this planning, you know, knowing how my camera works I got the shot and that's what's so rewarding about photography is we can all get there it just takes being comfortable with our gear going out and learning the nuances of the sports and going out and enjoying the prom do you have a question focus talk to us about how you're focusing in keeping focused stuff like this so typically like I said, I'm using sort of rule of thirds but it really depends on you know where the where the waves are typically going so you know there's waves that the surfers will not ride because they're just you know they're kind of clothes out but you're seeing where the surfers air going on those waves and such so you know I'm I'm going okay I kind of want him on the left side here because he's going to be coming this way right if we're looking at this shot here if he's coming this way I want to give him some where to go but I also want to show the magnitude of where he's come from I want to see the explosion behind him because that's what's dramatic in this sense so so I'm using, you know, basically focus point on the left sort of bottom third of this frame and I'm basically being loose enough in my zoom this where zoom comes into to play um that I could have enough breathing room to be ableto maybe straight up a little bit because you're on a boat and you're getting thrown around a lot so I'm just having him beyond that focus point and, you know, carrying enough focus to give me a little bit of a cushion in case you know, I get thrown a little bit right at the last second focus tracking yeah that'll be continuous autofocus and I use the back button auto focus on nikon cameras where a cz long as I'm pushing the button on the back it's continuing to focus and that that point that's on him is going to continue to focus as soon as I let that off it stops focusing and I can you know, I could take pictures as long as it's focusing as well but that's how I'm shooting the portrait's as well, where I'm focusing decomposing and that's just gives me you know, to me I start out manually focusing lenses and that's the process you focus recompose she you know, same thing you just happen to use auto focus and this is great in this sense autofocus allows you to capture that guy moving forward and you could be waiting for that moment where he is just about ready it crushed by the wave and then you get to see the aftermath where you're like oh, wow, you know, his board was broken in half and this was the talk of the whole the whole day until he got on our boat and then we got hit by the wave and then that was the talk of the day so some fun stuff some fun stuff so um that's that that's the surf selects here um we've got a few minutes here and I want to talk about uh did you have anything jump any questions or anything? We're gonna keep you moving, okay? Cool just want to make sure you think you had that look on your face I don't want to cut you off, but I want to talk about working with athletes again real quick because we've glanced over this and we've talked about wardrobe and unfortunately our buddy eric is not here today is probably on some exotic surf break and fiji or maui or something, but we'll get him back here eventually, but I want to show you some images that we actually for my portfolio that we did style on this is really about, you know, going out and installing this so that it looks authentic. For instance, we've got the grand teton national park here reflection and we've got her in just she just in tights and just a red running jacket super simple, but what I don't want to have happen is I don't want my athlete to show up and they're wearing everybody loves black I'm wearing black today, right? Blacks black is always in her is wearing a black jacket cause all of a sudden she blends into this landscape and this isn't a picture nobody notices that there's a runner and here they go oh that's a pretty you know reflection but what I'm trying to do is is how people look at the image and they'd be like oh cool there's somebody in there like this you want it to feel authentic were in iceland if there's a fire there's a tent ah you know I want them to be appropriately dressed they're wearing beanies it looks like it's not on the beach in florida right? So we're again we're putting wardrobe on them that is appropriate to the scene ah we're adding splashes of color two scenes where just that little bit of the green surfboard he doesn't have a really bright jacket on but just that little splash of color is something that all of a sudden draws us in and this these were what I would consider well styled ah and for me personally this is a really great image because it's not heavily branded there's not a bunch of logos uh I work with the backpack manufacturer so they're super excited but even if it doesn't go directly to them somebody else isn't going so we don't want that shot because we know that that's a backpack that's from a competitive brand so we've thought through this whole process and uh you know, we're putting our self in that position to get these images ah this was a shoot for a client and I you know how hard it is to find a cycling kit that doesn't have, like a thousand logos? Well, I eventually found one, and we put this together and they were really excited with this. This is a really simple shot in colorado near red rocks, and this is really applicable to it. Could be health care. It could be travel. It could be fitness. It could be, you know, a myriad of different things. I've shot an image which has hopefully legs to go in a lot of different places. So by picking that wardrobe, you know, the very first thing I do when we come up with the shooters is go, okay? What's the theme, right? What kind of clothes they're gonna wear and where we're going to go? Um, yes, the, uh, the last image for the lighting. Did you use your put the pro photo? That was just one pro photo off camera, and I actually just had it on a reflector. In that sense, just one light and a reflector. You see how he's a little bit harsher there. You know, it's, not his large of a light source. So there's a little more shadow, but I wanted it to be very kind of edgy, you know, because it's kind of an action shot, so it's just if you look at the shadow and you were to draw a line from where that shadow goes there's just one strobe off camera that's lighting this guy up and this ironically this was shot with a point and shoot camera so uh kind of kind of funny but just appointed shoot camera it was actually uh shot I did for the uh nikon w uh what was it a one camera which is kind of cool um so in this sunrise you're like, well she's a silhouette yes, but we're still styling these shots she's wearing formfitting close she's not wearing a puffy coach he's not wearing a sloppy jacket because all of a sudden I want her to look as fit and as good as possible so we're again we're thinking ahead even though it's a silhouette I'm so picking the wardrobe based on what's going to go and see the tops actually kind of a rusty orange so when the light got better later it's going to compliment that sort of orange sky similar shot here in iceland we've got monochromatic giving it a really sort of a timeless feel and so on and so forth so uh so that's our are sort of wardrobe selection here and uh we have some more questions we on yeah we dio actually I've got some questions I know at this point we would really love to tap you you are you know you're a world class adventure photographer, but you're kind of here, by the way, will you are and I mean just looking a resume and we'll see, you know, sports illustrated, national geographic, espn you're working with some of the, you know, the most famous athletes in the whole world, so I just want to throw a few questions your way and just we want to tap you right before you leave us it's coming it's, coming quickly, but just a couple of questions one one just for me personally, when you first started, how did you find athletes toe work with yeah, that's, that's, that's a very good question, that's one of the biggest questions. Like, um for me starting out, I worked with my friends, I grew up skiing in colorado, and I would take my friends out and eventually that you know, and that was great because I was out learning the nuts and bolts of photography. I was learning how you know what worked and what didn't work. And I remember after moving to jackson hole, wyoming, which I live for numerous years, sending a submission for to powder magazine and the photo editor being very kind and actually writing me back and saying, this is a great shot because my buddy had just gone off like an eighty foot cliff and but he was rolling down the windows which is a term and skiing that you know means your arms your way out you don't you're not very you don't look good in the air and I hadn't noticed it until that moment I never I noticed that one subtle nuance where a professional athlete or somebody was a very good skier his arms aaron and there's actually formed to it and so then I said oh well I need to step up my game I'm noticing I'm learning the nuances of this sport s o the next thing I did was I called the local you know rental shop and I said hey I know you guys have a lot of guys that are just you know they're kind of you know ski bombs but they are here to ski is there anybody who's an amazing skier like oh yeah cody in the back that guy rips you should go out with him so all of a sudden I'm going out with cody on that's applicable tio anybody wherever you are whether you live on the coast and you have a surf shop there's probably a local who's great you can go to climbing gyms a lot of these record you know thes ni specific uh uh stores are gold mines there the local skate shop may have guys that could be totally pro but they just like to skate on dh so going out and finding out and or putting an ad on craigslist for people saying you know I'm looking for these kinds of athletes will share these images for portfolio there's people looking to find sponsor worship in these numerous sports and need portrait and I need action shots so going out in first of all going to these stores putting an ad on craigslist and we're just going out and into that community whether it's the beach and and talking to the guys and they walk out of the water mean like hey johnny you ripped today I've got some great shots do you mind if I show you and building that relationship these air all things that you have to do no one's going to just contact you as you're sitting at your desk you know editing your photos and say hey I want to work with you you need to put yourself out there and you just start making those connections it's the same thing is building a business and building your brand your building those collaborative relationships which allow you teo make better pictures because better athletes make better pictures let's let's keep moving down this this topic I really like this can you talk about what are the best ways and important elements and building that good relationship with an athlete with what's your m o well I mean it I'm going to go with what I learned in first grade treat people how you expect to be treated uh is the first and foremost things you know, we live in this very fast paced environment where we're emailing or texting, you know, take the time, send people a thank you note you know, build that relationship and I understand that you know, they may not drop everything for you every time you call and ask for something but try to understand where they're coming from, put yourself in their shoes and make sure that you're open and honest about that sort of athlete photographer relationship and what you expect uh, or we're will allow them to do with the photos make sure that you're that they understand that sure, these air great for your personal portfolio when you're when you're reaching out to potential sponsors, but if a sponsor picks you up and they want to use this for an advertisement, please refer them back to me on being open and honest in the first part will we'll alleviate any bumps in the road down? You know, down the way essentially so by being honest and, you know, treating people like you want to want to be treated and uh, working hard, I think that that is the way to build a good relationship fantastic. So this a two part question? What sport did you start with and what advice would you have toe our audience about what sport they should start with so the sport that I started with was skiing. I grew up skiing in western colorado on a podunk little ski hill and after college I moved to jackson hole because I wanted teo photograph er in in a much more interesting place. Colorado's absolutely beautiful. But I wanted to photograph these steep, expansive mountains and like I said, I started photographing with my friends and then, you know, moved on from there. Uh, and it's really a personal thing is there's no. If somebody's trying to get into this there isn't a sport, I would recommend that they, uh, go out and photograph it's what's interesting to you. I mean, if you love lacrosse and that's the thing that you really like love to go on watch photograph if you love surfing, go photograph surfing. Uh, if you love chess, photograph chess, I mean, it may not be an action sport, but, you know, there may be something I knew, you know, you know, there's no right or wrong it's, whatever you're interested in because really the moral of story is that you need to tow learn everything about that sport so that you could be the person that goes out and can make those really dynamic and interesting images because you know more about it than anybody else. So let's let's keep going with that how how do you do research for for a particular sport so you know where exactly and when to get the right shot so the first thing you can do is is go out and find magazines or publications that are about uh that knee specific sport if it were surfing it would be surfline servers journal surfing magazine and you go and you look at the images that they publish because obviously they are the, uh periodical of record they're publishing what is current and you're seeing the style of photography that they're using I wouldn't say go out and copy that per se but understand look at the nuances of those image images are they publishing all action aerial shots are they publishing mohr of the lifestyle shots the behind the scenes moment some what are they publishing if it's skateboard magazine are they publishing everything that's lit is everything lit or is it all available light is it greedy and black and white is it in color you know going and actually doing a tally and saying well they publish forty seven pictures this month and twenty seven of them were black and white on dh they were all with with some kind of strobe like okay now I have a formula for what's acceptable in the industry and then go out from there and take your own spin on it and do something unique and different what advice? The biggest piece of advice that you can give aspiring, um, action sport. Yeah, photographers for how to get started. You know, go out, be passionate, work hard, put yourself out there, and don't be afraid, teo, fall on your face, you know, go out there and make mistakes, because you don't learn unless you make mistakes and, you know, I'm gonna go back to the beginning and it's, you know, crawl before you walk and walk before you run, because if eventually, if you're going to do this, a big publication or a big client is going to call you, and you know you're going to get that job, so make sure you're ready for that step. If sports illustrated college tomorrow and says, I want you to do the assignment, be ready to do that assignment. We re ready to knock that out of the park.

Class Description

Learn how to capture the intensity and movement of an epic experience in a single, still photograph with Lucas Gilman in Adventure Photography.

Lucas is one of the most celebrated adventure photographers in the industry. His work is infused with color and energy and in this class, he’ll show you how he creates his amazing images. 

You’ll learn: 

  • How to take powerful adventure and outdoor images
  • The key to selling to commercial clients
  • Gear and equipment essentials
  • Post-processing tips and techniques

Lucas will share the history and process behind some of his most challenging and exciting shoots. He’ll also offer tips on how to prepare for long stretches of intense outdoor shooting and how he keeps his gear bag stocked for adventure.

Let one of the industry’s most exciting photographers show you how to inject excitement into your outdoor images in Adventure Photography. 



This class is perfect at all things. The best class for nature photography with or without model. Personally for me this class is best of all because we have most practical learning, that is perfect. I have sense just like I am there. I am gladly wait for starting today class because this class is two days. Buy it that material must to watch and have it on your hard disk! Just perfect. Regards to Lucas and Creative Live.


Lucas is an amazing photographer. I love how he keeps it simple with the way he explains and shows things. This class is perfect for anyone with a camera, as you can take his teachings and apply it to not only adventure photography but to any style.