Thursday, December 17, 2009

Roller Derby Photography Tips, How to shoot Roller Derby

Lately I have recieved e-mail asking about tips on how to photograph Roller Derby. Here are some things to consider to improve your Roller Derby Photography.
  • Know the basics of photography in and out. Learn to shoot manually
  • Learn the game and movements of the players so you can anticipate where the action will be, just don't "machine gun" the camera and hope for the best.
  • Use flash. Most Roller Derby Venues are quite dark and don't have enough available light to stop the action of the players. Flash photography gives you the light you need to capture the action of the skaters. Study flash photography and know your lighting tools well.
  • Use Long focal lengths to get in close to the action, also use wide angles for a different perspective.
  • Study compostion and learn how to compose quickly
  • Don't just shoot Roller Derby, learn to excel in other areas of photography to improve your Roller Derby Photography.
  • Take professional courses. Seek out professional photographers you would like to learn from and take their courses. Almost all the top pro's offer workshops throughout the year. Although they may seem pricey, they really aren't in comparison to what you will learn from industry leaders.
  • Get your photographs in front of professional photographers that will critque your work. Its important that these photographers will truly critique it, and not just give you compliments. When you are taking a college course in Photography the students and teachers viewing your work are way too nice. Get it in front of pros that will rip it apart... you will learn more.
  • Take a look at what Roller Derby Photographers are doing now.... and do something different.


Muse said...

Adrian, I LOVE YOU. I was just looking at your website and I googled "roller derby flash photography" and it brought me straight back to you.

I'm fresh meat and a professional photographer, and I can't think of two better things to combine. So I'm wondering if you've ever had any problems using flash photography at a bout? I'm going to see if my league will go for it, but I'm worried they might think it's distracting. Any feedback?


Adrian said...

Hey Muse...

The skaters dont even notice the flash during the game. I'll email you details. You love me? ;-)


Muse said...

Well, I'm a big fan...of your fantastic derby shots and of sharing of information. ^_^ I was very happy to find both parts from the same person.

I've been given the go-ahead to try out the flashes out the next bout. Sports/action stuff is not my usual realm, so it'll be a great experience, I'm sure.

Thanks for your assistance, anything you can tell me would be wonderful. At least I know the rules and play of the game better than most starting derby photogs, so hopefully that will help out too. ;)

mike wilson said...

Hi, Adrian… I stumbled across this blog post today while trying to do some more research on roller derby shooting. I’m mostly more of a studio shooter, but my wife recently joined a brand new roller derby league up here in Seattle and I’ve sort of become the default team/league photographer. I shoot on a crop-sensor camera body and I’ve got a 70-200 equivalent f2.8 lens, and while I’m getting pretty good at framing my shots and knowing where I need to be, focusing is a NIGHTMARE! Trying to shoot a jammer whipping around the corner towards you as they cross sideways AND coming towards you is phenomenally challenging.

Do you recommend pre-focusing on a spot and hitting the players as they come into that area or do you just go at it with auto-focus and toss out?

heidi said...

quick question i saw u had some pics off camera flash (hence there in the pic) do u shoot off flash for the majority.... im going to my first ever roller derby game next month in the uk :D quite excited