VanArts Action Photography DP8 Class

December 11, 2010

I just finished teaching my Action and Sports Photography class at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts, and I thought this was probably a good time to talk a little about it.

While the class I teach is called Action and Sports Photography we shoot a lot of things like dance and karate that you might not immediately associate with action and sports. I’ve had more than a few students initially ask why we’re not shooting skateboarding and biking in every class, and there are a number of reasons why I do it this way. The most notable is because I feel it’s easiest to start off shooting in a controlled environment working on basic skills. Before I start to teach students about more advanced techniques for capturing action I like to start with simple things such as trying to maintain composition with a moving subject, and timing. These skills are important to master if you want to shoot fast paced action, and it’s a lot easier to practice them in the studio, shooting similar things over and over. Dancers and martial artists are both very good for this type of practice. They can repetitively jump into recognizable poses that are only held for a fraction of a second, excellent for working on timing. And figuring out composition and framing with a person jumping in the studio is a lot simpler and easier than working somewhere like a skatepark.

There is one other important reason why I like to shoot indoors as well, and that’s the weather. The week of this class there was only one decent day to shoot outside, and thanks in part to the hard work of the school staff we managed to find some last minute models and move the class outside on short notice. They also managed to arrange some other great indoor locations for us, shooting gymnastics at the Phoenix Gymnastics Club in Vancouver, and also some figure skating at Canlan Sports 8 Rinks facility in Burnaby. Both of these shoots turned out fairly well, and I’m excited to continue them with the next class.

Our shoot with dancers in the studio was featured in a video post on the VanArts Blog “Inside VanArts” You can check out the video below if you don’t want to jump to their page. The entire weeks class was also featured in a post with some photos here on the VanArts Blog.

Inside VanArts: Episode 6 from VanArts on Vimeo.

Although I’m always trying to focus on my students I usually manage to shoot a few photos in class myself, here are a few from the week.