Canon Europe invited me to lecture about action sports photography at their CPS event near Krško. I was one of three photographers lecturing the workshop. The whole event took place at a race track and I was paired with Dejan – a moto stunt rider. The crowd gathered around the middle part of the track as I communicated our shoot with Dejan. Thanks to my friend Domink for the BTS photos!
Here is a collection of photos I made during the workshop to teach different aspects of motorsport photography: using natural and artificial light to your advantage, communicating with the athlete, what manufactures look for in the images, etc.
Canon instructed me not to go into technical details as this was a pro event with experienced photographers, but lean more on my gear. How and why I use a particular lens or when I use what camera. Regardless Canons instructions I did mentioned to the photographers to watch their shutter speeds, as a basic instruction in any sport photography. I was surprised how many blurred photos were presented after the lecture. As Dejan’s fast throttle response during some of his rotations caught a lot of photographers unexpectedly. Don’t underestimate the sport, use a fast shutter speed!
I usually like to get the athletes face in the photo while preforming the trick. As you can’t do it always and on every trick, I recommend to have that mindset in the back of your head as sponsors of the athlete prefer that the photo shows the athlete. Also display any logos of the sponsor clearly in as many shots you can. Those pictures are the most valuable to companies that sponsor the athlete!
Panning shot work great on faster moving subjects, don’t be afraid to break the before mentioned rule of fast shutter speeds! But use it intentionally if it works in the final photo. If you want to blur, blur it so that the viewer knows that that was your vision.
As I saw tire marks from a drift car in the middle of the track, I instructed Dejan to do one of his spinning tricks in the middle of the marks. It works great as a frame for the subject and ads a sense of rotation to the trick. It’s hard to preserve motion to the viewer in a still photo, so any additional help works like magic! Use your surroundings to your advantage. Also I framed the Canon flag intentionally, while it doesn’t pop out much and the flag is mirrored, you can still recognise the logo. And that’s exactly what brands want.
If the natural light gets too low, throw in a studio light as a fill to the subject to highlight it. You can still get very good photos even if the natural light is nearly gone. That way you can squeeze a few more photos that can rise you from other photographers on the location that packed their gear due to the light. For a more dramatic picture, place the light somewhere behind the subject, especially when smoke is involved like the example below.
Thanks to Canon Europe for this opportunity to lead a workshop on this kind of level and a special thanks to Zoran from CPS who recommended my work to Canon for this event. It was a great experience to teach others on what I’ve been learning through trial and error over the years. Hope to see you on any future events like this.