This post covers two areas I really love – Jiu-Jitsu and photography.
I’m going to start taking a lot more pictures during and after Jiu-Jitsu class. I want to turn my practice into more of a running commentary as opposed to segmented simplicity. I’ve been thinking recently how to best go about this and I’ve concluded that photos, videos and well written articles are the way to go. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite pastimes is to read my old posts. If I take the time to do things correctly now, I think my life will better for it later.
Last night, I was poking around a few sites and discovered one page that really hit the mark. It’s actually sort of amazing how aligned it was. It’s called, “Spreading Jiu-Jitsu to the World: Tips to Take Great Jiu-Jitsu Photos” and was written by an author on the Gracie Barra website.
Inside Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Rio: Real Rio Show Season One Finale
After reading their post, I was inspired to give my spin on their tips. Now, if you want to get the nitty-gritty on what they wrote, be sure to click the article link above, but if you’re simply interested in the tips, you can check them out below. I think they’re good for anyone who may be interested in taking similar types of sport photography.
1. Stay close – This is something beginner photographers commonly miss. Anyone can take photos from a distance and any point-and-shoot camera can give you those photographs. What separates nice photos from poor ones is when the photographer gets up close to really capture the action. I have my camera set to take the highest quality photos, so if I can’t get up close, the distance photos can be cropped to look like I was closer than I really was.
2. Work the lighting – lighting is huge when it comes to photography. Like so many other things, if you don’t get this right, you are going to end up with an average photo. Again, anyone can be average. It’s only when you use the sunshine or other types of lighting to your advantage that you get what you want. Just think of it this way – compare a photo of someone standing on a beach during sunset. The warm sunlight is being cast to only one side of their face, while the other side is hidden by a shadow. This technique can create a rather dramatic picture as opposed to one that shows someone standing in an office conference room with fluorescent lights directly above.
3. Don’t overdo the retouching – As Gracie Barra says, many new photographers get caught in this trap. They feel as though they need to use all those Photoshop features. They don’t. When I retouch a photo, I generally only play with the contrast, saturation and then I sharpen. That’s it. And I think my photos come out quite nicely.
4. Crop the right way – Obviously, don’t crop people’s arms off. That will give you a hilariously bad picture. When cropped correctly (and almost every good photo is cropped), you can really set things the way you want. You can move your subjects to take advantage of the “Rule of Thirds” (as mentioned in the article) and can add other drama that you wouldn’t have been able to convey if you didn’t crop.
5. Get candid – I love candid photos. As I say quite often, we are a world full of amateurs. Why in the world are we trying to act like professionals? And as amateurs, we relate to things amateur. Let the amateur in you out and start enjoying that type of photography. For examples of this, you can see many types of candid photos creeping into what used to be strictly professional wedding shoots.
6. Keep your watermarks small – This may seem obvious, but many beginners are so proud of their photography that the plaster huge watermarks on their beautiful photos. You have to remember, your picture may be beautiful, but it isn’t with that watermark on it.
7. For fast action, use a fast shutter – When objects are moving quickly, you need to capture them quickly. A fast shutter speed can help with this. You can reduce the “blur” that may occur when a camera isn’t set to correctly take photos of sporting events. Now, if you are looking for the blur, which can sometimes look really cool, stick with the slower shutter speed, but be careful.
8. When shooting indoors, set your sensitivity – You may not have to deal with this because many cameras these days do a great job when set to automatic, but if you are into playing with your settings, you are going to want to mind your ISO. If set incorrectly, you’ll end up with grainy, dark photos that aren’t able to be worked with.
9. Caption your photos – This is a must. People want to know the back-story of your photos, even if it’s whimsical or accidental.
10. Using a tripod may save the day – I use a tripod any chance I get. A tripod can really help you with camera shake and adds an extra layer of stability you just can’t get when holding your camera by hand. When you get around to editing your photos later, you’ll really appreciate the crispness a tripod can offer.