Do you love snowboarding? Do you get warm fuzzies when looking at epic snowboarding pictures? If you want to unite your love of both, try your finger at snowboard photography. It’s truly one of only a few professions that embodies the true essence of creative expression and personal style. You’re probably thinking “Hurry up and tell me what it takes to become a successful photographer; I am heading to the slopes now.” Whoa! Slow your roll. We’ll get to that in a moment. A successful snowboard photographer can creatively fuse elements together (rider, weather, location, lighting, etc.) to capture the nature of the environment. Yes, the environment. Don’t be so consumed with capturing the “trick” but rather the environment. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts! Now let’s run through some basic guidelines to get you started.
Build Your Equipment Quiver
Capturing the snowboarding “moment” requires one thing: a camera. Work with what you have. Building a quiver can take years and there are so many cameras that can to the job. But as a wise man once said, “The best camera for the job is the you have with you!” Simple enough, right? Once you save up a enough money for a a nice camera, it’s time to choose your lens or glasses as they call ‘em in the biz. Never rely on just one lens when taking snowboard pictures. Always travel with a diverse range of lenses. For example, a fisheye lens captures that up close and personal shot of the rider with room for complementary scenery. A 50 mm lens will allows for straight-on shots with little distortion. When shooting from a distance, a telephoto lens will be your best friend. Remember to always bring your equipment with you. Practice makes perfect. Don’t be hesitant about trying new angles and experimenting with various focal lengths. It may take years before you begin making money but do not get discourage. Just keep shooting with you friends and having fun. Who knows, maybe one day you will become the next Andy Wright, Dean Blotto Gray or Bob Plumb.
Assemble A Strong Portfolio
Just like your parents’ photo album of you in embarrassing tub Photos and birthday cake melees, begin assembling an online portfolio of your best shots. Grab a snowboarder and photography buddy and go through the fresh pics of the day and collectively choose the best ones. Remain objective and open to criticism. There’s no whining in photography! Axiom 1: Monet’s first paintings were widely considered unfinished and aesthetically unpleasant. Now look at his work. At first, It’s OK to shoot your buddy that has less skill and coordination than a water buffalo. But as your skillset progresses, shoot with skilled riders who know what they’re doing. Network with riders who can catch massive air and perform complex tricks consistently. Though shooting with advanced riders won’t improve your photographs overnight, it will give you an idea of what photographing professionals is like.
Got My Pictures, Now What?
After you’ve impressed your buddies and parents with your “eye,” it’s time to begin submitting your pictures to snowboarding magazines. Most publications accept submissions via email. But it is always a good practice to utilize social media sites like Tumbler, Facebook and Instagram. Reach out to local shops and small-time snowboard companies and inquire about their photography departments or need for fresh photos. A shop will often times hire a photographer to shoot its sponsored riders or may be looking for a photographer to shoot team trips or local events. Attend local contests and video release parties. At these events, network with fellow photographers, riders and industry leaders. Get your name in the game. The more you become known in your local snowboard scene, the more likely it is that you’ll be recognized as a promising photographer.
Inspired? Now that you have the basics on becoming a snowboard photographer, get out there and start shooting! Also, look for my article in the coming months ” Click. Click. Pass” on how to monetize your photos.
Pictures from last year’s finalists:
Submit your newbie or seasoned-veteran snowboard pictures to Gnartography.com where you and a rider can win a new Rossignol setup and trip out west to compete in the final round of Gnartography.