This week’s column is a detailed look at some tips on what to do when shit just doesn’t go your way when trying to get the shot. Nothing’s perfect and we all know that but when it comes time to shoot and things just aren’t working out it’s best to take a step back, analyze the situation and find out the next best option. If the rider gets hurt, your gear decides not to work, a bike part breaks, you get kicked out, or the rider just can’t get the trick you have to do your best to work it out and control the situation. It’s all part of the deal so get used to it. Hit the link and find out what to do when your shoot goes to hell.
It should come as no surprise that riders are going to get hurt. If you are a BMX photographer you should know this all too well. Riding and shooting go hand in hand and we have all had our fair share of injuries but getting hurt never comes at a good time, especially mid-shoot. First things first, put down the camera and make sure the rider is ok. This one should be obvious but hey, you never know. If the rider is hurt, don’t ask them right away if they want to keep trying the trick. Let THEM be the one to decide if they are going to give it another go. When you are shooting on a pro level shit gets crazy real quick trick-wise and the last thing you want to do is lay down any added pressure on the rider before getting up and going for it again. Also, if the rider just needs a minute to chill then offer them up a drink, suggest coming back later or at another time or just let them figure it out but either way whatever they say goes. Sure, you can offer up some suggestions but at the end of the day keep in mind that you are behind the lens and not the one putting your body on the line.
This never comes at a good time to be honest but shit happens and you have to deal with it. Whether or not it comes in the form of five flat tires in a row or if you are mid-shoot and a flash gets smashed. Either way sucks but doesn’t necessarily mean you have to call it a day. Try your best to see what the damage is and mess around with your gear depending on how bad it is. Obviously if a flash tube breaks or lens gets smashed then you don’t have many options but a lot of camera gear these days is built to last so see if you can get your stuff working again. If not, grab a back up flash, or a different lens or whatever it is that might have broke and re-set up your shot. If you really need to, you can also completely change the way you were going to shoot that particular trick. Of course, every situation is different but just be prepared to have to think quickly. Especially if you are in a time crunch or the heat is on with getting kicked out of a spot. Always consider some sort of plan B. Even if it is just in the back of your mind it’s better to have some options rather than no options.
GETTING KICKED OUT
I know that I have touched on this before but I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to figure out the best way to deal with security/cops. A good general rule is that if you are getting hassled, check for a badge and a gun. If you all you see is a flashlight and a walkie-talkie, you can buy some time and push the limits by having the rider just take a few more goes. If it’s for sure a cop that is kicking you out, you don’t have much breathing room. But, if the flashlight jockey is solo and threatens to call the cops on you, just know that you have at least ten more minutes or so to get the shot so use your time wisely and make it happen.
IT’S JUST NOT HAPPENING
If the trick is just not working out you have to know how to approach the rider and deal with the situation. Typically if I am shooting a sequence that I know is obviously not going to happen first try I go in with that mindset and accept the fact that it might be a while. Always encourage the rider and try to keep them motivated at the same time. If the rider is pushing the limits and it’s just not working out remind them that it’s all good if it doesn’t happen. Some riders get into a crazy zone where they just try over and over and over and need a reminder that there is always next time and sometimes it’s easier to walk away and come back another day.
Take it for what it’s worth but remember that being prepared for any situation is half the battle. Learn as much as you can from each shoot whether it went smooth or went to shit and move forward. Keep posted this Friday for the winners of the Madera TTL contest. We ended up extending the contest and getting some more solid entries and really wanted to take some time to pick out the top three winners. We will not only feature the top three photos but also run a gallery of the best twenty photos as well so if you submitted any photos make sure you stop back on Friday to see if your shot made the cut. And of course be sure to check back next Wednesday for the twentieth edition of Through the Lens. As always feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will hit you back as soon as I can. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jeremypavia.
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