How To Take SICK Skateboarding Photos Using Filters

Learn how to take sick skateboarding photos using our shop’s filters in this article.

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Action shots are probably the most fun photographs to create, no? They beam with fantastic expression, burst with raw motion blur, and create a sense of fleeting emotion that can’t be replicated with posed portraits or landscapes. As a film photographer that loves to capture candid emotion and raw memories, it was a blast to shoot some of my buddies in San Clemente’s local skate bowl. With a few added tools for extra crispiness, such as filters, lenses, and lighting techniques, I’d say I killed these shots (okay, I’m totally getting ahead of myself).

I took some buddies of mine in San Clemente and hit an abandoned bowl near the beach. We grabbed a few action shots of Ashton riding lines throughout the bowl, and they turned out pretty sick. Between great lighting, exciting facial expressions, and breathtaking movements and patterns — here’s to being the next Nat Geo mobile creative. 

Learn how to take sick skateboarding photos using our shop’s filters below.

Moment vnd 62mm thumbnail

Moment

Variable ND Filters

Surely you want the secret sauce to controlling your exposure! Moment Variable ND filters are it, available as a 2-5 stop or 6-9 stop Neutral Density filter

Buy for $99.99

Our buddy looking might cool.

Classic on-the-edge.

Use an ND Filter or CPL Filter

A Circular Polarizer is the must have filter every photographer needs and Hoya’s top-selling NXT Circular Polarizer is the best value around. Polarizers do one thing: Remove Reflections. It’s a 2 element design and you twist the outer ring to have the light hit the surf cafe at a different angle. By removing reflections, you reveal the color, texture, and detail in the scene you’re photographing. So, leaves are greener, skies are bluer, and the rocks at the bottom of that secret mountain lake become revealed. A CPL is a must-have filter for photographers shooting outdoors! its also amazing for car photography.

  • Rotate the outer ring to achieve the perfect amount of reflection control.
  • High-quality polarized glass removed reflections from car windows, painted surfaces, or just about any non-metallic surface.

Neutral density (ND) filters play an important role for filmmakers and photographers because they allow you to precisely control the amount of light passing through the lens for greater creative control over exposure. For filmmakers, this means shutter speeds that match your frame-rate while maintaining the depth-of-field you want. For photographers, it means you can reach longer exposures or achieve a shallow depth-of-field in bright sunlight.

Use an ND filter when you want to utilize bright light and that 180 degree shutter rule for video.

If you’re familiar with Neutral Density filters you may already know that a 3-stop filter won’t have a huge impact during brighter hours. Compared to the 6 and 10-stop filters, the 3-stop is not particularly dark and it won’t allow you to use those extremely slow shutter speeds of several minutes. Use a larger stop filter, like a 6 or 10 stop, to better adjust your slow shutter speed.

  • You can stack ND filters to get different stops. (ie. a 3-stop on top of a 6-stop is equivalent to a 9-stop filter)
  • It's lightweight and made of top of the line materials.
  • Allows you to control light for better photos and videos.

Oops...

Right on the edge of the pool.

Taking a quick break.

Utilize Good, Natural Light

Take your board and go to the nearest bowl with excellent natural light. Whether it be in the middle of the day or near sunset time, you’ll be able to make it work just fine with filters (see tip #1). The small sensor on your smartphone camera makes it evermore imperative to capture in good, natural light. It’s even more difficult to capture action during the night time, as low light can make your subject look hazy and blurry. You’ll have a much better look shooting in the outdoors with bright sunlight during the day.

Been shredding hard.

A filter casts bluer blues.

Blues are bright blue with lots of cloud detail.

Facial Expressions and Big Body Movements

Nothing says boring more than a dull facial expression. Imagine Tony Hawk high in the air, coated with sweat and deliberation, only to find his face is blank and cold. That just doesn’t look right. Capture the thrill of a win, the pain of defeat. Don’t just chase the action of the sport, focus on unique storytelling aspects of the athlete’s emotion.

Pro tip: Tighten your frame around the subject’s face. It’ll help capture the emotion and have more of an impact on the way your audience views the image.

Gotta sneak in a few #vanlife shots from Niles' new rig!

Bluer blues with the CPL filter.

Notice the detail in the background? Yup, that's the CPL.

Burst Mode, Baby!

Tried shooting action? Have you ever missed a moment when capturing those split-second movements? Try burst mode. Burst mode is shooting at a continuous high speed. Within burst mode, several photographs are captured in quick succession by either pressing by holding the shutter button down. This feature is mainly used when capturing successive motion, such as sports photography. The photographer can then select the best image of the group or arrange them in a sequence to study the transitions in detail.

Some great photo opportunities are brief, we get it. Rather than anticipate such action precisely, photographers can start shooting from right before they believe the action will occur, giving a high chance of at least one frame being acceptable. Holding down the shutter release button for the entire sequence of action will ensure success — because you’ll have a frame per movement available at your leisure!

Bust Mode with a low shutter speed.

Lower shutter speed = more motion blur.

In our Moment App, you can achieve a motion blur with the "Motion Blur" setting. All automatic!

Visualize Your Final Result

When shooting in Burst Mode, you don’t have all the time in the world to worry about what the shot will look like; it’s FAST moving. Instead, you must do all of your thinking before you take the shot. Visualize your final result, consider proper camera settings, and steadfast a pose for excellent composition before you fire away. When visualizing your final image, (in photography, this is called pre-visualization), start by making important decisions.

Some necessary conclusions are:

  • Blurry or focused image?
  • What focal length do you prefer?
  • What sort of aperture would help achieve your desired look?
  • Freeze everything in a split second or add motion blur?
  • What ISO or shutter speed will orchestrate your final product?

Setting the scene.

Cool rigs = cool life.

Happy Shooting and Skatin'!