I love surfing. Admittedly i’m not the best surfer, but I have fun. I was drawn to surf photography throughout my time at University. I had lots of mates in the surf community both locally and on the course. I never really gave it a proper go, until I one my old work colleagues said I should come shoot sometime. So I did.
I actually found out surf photography is very similar to Dance photography, I know that sounds strange but wait, hear me out. When I first started doing surf photography I had done a lot of client work with dancers, so had some experience in capturing movement. Both situations require capturing movement, and tracking the subject. Unlike wildlife photography the subject is human (most of the time), so understanding the positioning of what captures well is essential. If you have a competent surfer in the line up who looks comfortable on the wave, it is going to make for banging photographs. On the other hand, if you have someone (like me) standing feet together and bolt upright like a pencil, the shots aren’t going to have the same WOW factor. Which is exactly the same with dance. If you have someone who really can’t dance, you’re not going to be getting ‘the shot’ compared to a professional who knows what they are doing.
So a small tip if you fancy taking some surf shots. Shoot people who know what they are doing/and or are your friends. You can be honest with your mates and tell them what they are doing wrong ( I’m not saying I am an expert ) but hearing feedback can only help them get better and you better shots, so it ends up being beneficial for everyone. On the flipside, don’t tell professional surfer how to to surf. You’d wouldn’t come off great, say what is working and what isn’t and suggest ways to get THAT shot.
Praa 1st February 2019.
Barney @barneywheeler is a good mate of mine and is ALWAYS super stoked (especially when he gets barrelled when know one was around to see it happen, but we will let him claim it) We’ve had quite a few failed attempts at getting decent surf shots, as whenever we seem to go the forecast is nothing like the reality (standard right?) We’ve had a few epic shoots too mind, Porthtowan in 2016 and Fistral late 2018 stick in mind as favourites. But we finally got Praa on a GOOD day. We also bumped into Sam Westlake @sam_westlake which is always a delight. It was the best I have ever seen at Praa, with some absolutely buttery light. It’s all well and good having the waves, but naff light to shoot them is absolute pants. It was also nice to shoot down on this coast that wasn’t an overcrowded reef break, which I know from pictures was pumping too. Not saying there’s anything wrong with that place, as it is a stunningly wave. Just nice to shoot somewhere different ya know?
Big thanks to Will Smith @willsmith12 (not the Prince of Bel Air) for driving us there too
Check out my shots below. Now I just need the right conditions for the drone…