Viewing entries tagged
photography

IMPROVE YOUR SHOOTING SKILLS

IMPROVE YOUR SHOOTING SKILLS

Do you want to know how I made it as professional Freerunning athlete? Talent, ambition and, you bet, luck. But there are a few easy rules I follow when I work on photo productions as well. If you want to become an interesting movement artist or learn how to shoot pictures professionally, this article is for YOU.

Here are my key rules for rocking photo shootings!

#1 - DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VIDEO & PHOTO SHOOTINGS

First of all: there is a HUGE difference between doing photo and video shootings. While a videoclip is way more interesting when you combine different moves and create a changing dynamic line, a picture just captures one specific moment. In a picture there is no „before“ or „after“ - I mean, sure, an interesting picture can tell the story from A to B as well. But in the end the moment the photographer pulls the trigger is the only one that counts.

This is my rule #1: Think in moments, not in moves! A picture captures only one moment.

Try to make that moment perfect! Sometimes when I try out new photo-moves the landing is really crappy - but if the right moment was captured the landing doesn’t really matter. (Don’t risk your health though!)

Before jumping I think about the form I want to display.

Just focus on one moment while being in the air!

#2 - THE BIGGEST MOVE DOESN’T MAKE THE BEST SHOT

As mentioned in an earlier blog post about working with Jason Paul for NIKON in 2014, the biggest move does not make the best picture. I would say there are moves that work perfectly fine in front of the lense and others that just don’t. Especially when it comes to bigger moves like double fulltwists or double flips - forget them for shootings. 

An example: I really like twisting. I love the dynamic feeling of it, the power build up and the release in the end. But from my experience I can tell in a fulltwist or a cork (as long as you don’t pull some breathtaking airform in it) you won’t be able to create a stunning picture moment: in almost every position you are crooked or bent in a strange looking way. Take a step back and go with a nicely stretched out Gainer or even just a Backflip! 

A good movement picture works (most of the time) by drawing dynamic lines - which you have in perfectly executed basics most of the time.

So rule #2 is: Stick with the basics - the biggest move doesn’t make the best picture.

 

#3 - WORK WITH your PHOTOGRAPHER

Whenever I work with a photographer and they ask me about good Parkour locations I just answer the following: „The most important thing is that you have a background and framing that fulfills your vision. I can adapt my moves to whichever surrounding, whether it’s a wall, flat ground, a bar, or whatever.“ 

I totally mean that. If the background or the location is just not interesting at all it doesn’t matter how cool the spot is from the athlete perspective - the picture will probably suck, even though your airform looks hot.

Work with your photographer. His creative vision of the final picture goes first. All you have to do is being able to adapt your skills to your surrounding - which is the basic Parkour philosophy anyways ;-)

Here is my rule #3: Work with your photographer, follow his creative vision.

#4 - BUILD A REPERTOIRE

After 5 years of shooting experience I acquired a feeling for which moves look good on a picture and which do not. For sure I have a repertoire of moves that do the job. This helps me a lot especially for paid projects - even when there is time pressure I know exactly which moves I can pull that will leave a good impression and make photographer and client happy. To get an impression of which moves are in my repertoire, you can check out my instagram: @loukewilson

My rule #4 is: Have a picture-move-repertoire.

You don't need many moves in your repertoire if you're good - vary them over and over again and make them look different ;-) But there is still the risk of getting stuck, doing the same stuff over and over again. To prevent this, keep going and read rule #5.

Even though all the pictures above show just a backflip, every single one looks different. Vary your moves!

#5 - THINK OUT OF THE BOX - BE CREATIVE

The nice thing about action pictures is: you don’t see moves you see forms. 

For sure these forms can be related to classic moves - but they don’t necessarily have to. Even the most simple motions can create a photo that the viewer has to watch twice before understanding it. Which is the reaction you want to provoke in general, by the way ;-)

So if the photographer is up for it, try to break it down to the basics of dynamic movement and induce an interesting effect by doing strange stuff! In my opinion those shootings are the most fun.

Rule #5 is: Try to think out of the box. Break it down to the basics to create something new from there.


So, this is it! Now you know my 5 basic rules for working professionally on photo shootings. I hope my thoughts help you with your own free or paid projects :-)

Now go out there and shoot!

UNCHAINED - working for Nikon

UNCHAINED - working for Nikon

UNCHAINed - working for Nikon
 

 

Hello folks!

It was in 2014 when I had the honor to work shoulder on shoulder with world star athlete Jason Paul and Red Bull photographer Ray Demski to create some great action imagery and put the brand new Nikon D750 into use. Great athletes, graphic locations, a master behind the lense. Let me tell you about the experience.

Back then I was not too experienced in working professionally in front of the camera. I was a little bit nervous working with someone like Jason and for such a big client - even though I was super thankful for the opportunity it definitely put some pressure on me… But when a client like Nikon is coming up with a project involving Parkour and Freerunning you don’t hesitate, you TAKE it!

Since the production company had never worked with Freerunners before they needed my advice in the whole pre-production-process - haha, I can still remember how agitated I was when they invited me to join the Skype meeting with Ray for talking about locations and opportunities: I wanted to give the best impression possible but had no idea how it would go. In the end there was no need to stress myself out - those meetings are just about finding a common ground, sharing knowledge from different fields and being able to adjust the course of the project. So all I had to do was telling them how the project looked through my eyes. Huh, easier than I thought! Pressure: Gone.

After the last preparations the shooting finally began. Unfortunately it was super cold and even raining on the first day. This meant we were a little bit limited in our possible movement repertoire - the last thing you want to happen on set is getting injuried. You would risk the whole project and since per commercial shooting day clients pay between 90.000-120.000 € risking the whole project is the last thing you want to do. One of the most important abilities you’ve got to have as a professional athlete is to deliver what the client wants to see while not putting your health into danger.

This is even more important when you have to get up at 04:30 am, because the team wants to catch the sunrise, which creates a very special lighting situation called the „blue hour“. Getting up early is usually no problemo - what I was not aware of by then was that we would go for the sunset (golden hour) as well. A 14 hour action shoot was definitely challenging for me. Even though there are breaks in between, after 30 times being warm and cold over and over again your body just craves for rest. Shooting in front of the lense is very different from a normal training session, since you have to adapt your moving sequences to the time management of the whole filmcrew - rebuilding light settings, switching locations, changing lenses and batteries… All this takes a lot of time and you have to be ready to shoot every minute.

Especially working with Jason on Set for 2 days taught me a lot about what working as professional athlete means. Since the project was both, photo and video shooting, most of the time Jason and I were shooting simultaneously - no time wasted. But whenever I had spare time to breathe through I soaked up Jasons work methods like a sponge. The key lesson I learned on that project was: the biggest move does not create the best picture. I am definitely going to write another blog post on this, so stay tuned! 

I hope I was able to transfer a little bit of the challenges I had to conquer and lessons I have learned during the Nikon shooting and you might have more of a feeling what it means to work as a professional Freerunning athlete in the commercial world.


Following you find the final product video and the behind the scenes clip. Enjoy!

UNCHAINED - NIKON D750

BEHIND THE SCENES