BMX Action Photography and Sports Portraits

Craig Kolesky takes us on a behind the scenes journey in which he photographs professional BMX rider Sifiso ‘Skizo’ Nhlapo. To get a more out of the ordinary experience, he takes the rider away from his regular tracks and places him on a dusty, rugged South African downhill track:

As you can tell the photo session is split into several parts. The first part includes shooting the rider on the track. For more appeal, the photographer uses the morning sunlight against his camera lens to get lens flare. He also takes the time to shoot a portrait using the same backlight, and including some of the nearby mountains.

While content may be king, context is definitely second in rank. Craig Kolesky uses nifty graffiti to make his portrait stand out. Keep an eye out for cool surroundings that can add value to the subject.

Context can make the difference between an average portrait and a good one. The Handlebar sport coffee shop makes a great place to shoot available light portraits using the Nikon D4 and a Nikon 50mm. When using a shallow depth of field lens, such as the large aperture 50mm or 85mm lens, you can try to include some of the foreground, placing it between the lens and subject. The shallow depth of field will render the foreground soft and unobtrusive, and add will a special something.

For the controlled light portrait session, Craig mostly uses a strobe with a softbox for side light, and another as a contour light:

bmx photography lens flare
bmx photography lens flare portrait
bmx photography angel wings
bmx photography portrait

He also uses a ring light, placing his camera directly through it. He then takes two very different portraits, using this light scheme. One with a shallow depth of field, slightly longer focal length lens and a Nikon D4, and one with the P7700 Nikon Compact set at its minimum effective focal length of 28mm.

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