When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series – Part ONE

6 12 2009

Yesterday I commented on a “How to photograph skateboarding” article and it got me thinking – When is it important to be familiar with your subject? I’ll stay with skateboarding for a moment…

If you don’t know skateboarding the chances of you taking a great (not just good) skateboard photo in minimal. There are so many subtle nuances in skateboarding that make a great shot. With that being said these nuances that are predictable when you know the athlete and the sport. Here’s a photo of Neal Hendrix I shot at The Skatepark of Tampa / Tampa Pro.  Neal is a perfect example. As a skateboarder he is super consistent and since was a contest run he was doing the same tricks in the same parts of the ramp – which is typical of contest runs and in practice. But if you didn’t know Neal or the tricks he was doing – you would be at a severe disadvantage. (Thanks Neal for being a good example.)

I ask myself constantly – “Why am I shooting this?” Many times the answer is “because I want to” or simply “this looks cool.” I’m fine with any answer that makes someone pick up a camera but if you go back to the why – it’s something that interests you – right? Why else would you want to capture that moment in time?

With all that being said sometimes the subject is something that doesn’t take a long time to get familiar with. In the next posts of this series I’ll give examples of different subjects: subjects that I had to get to know well before I made a great picture and others that I familiarized myself quickly with before a great photo was made.

(Note: Thanks for reading my blog. Please post comments as you see fit or send me an email (grtaylor2@mac.com) with any questions etc.)



2 responses

7 12 2009

I've been meaning to shoot a few of the skate parks here in Chicago so this is very timely for me…thanks, John

8 12 2009

Thanks John. Please feel free to email me with any specific questions regarding skateboard photography.

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