Putting a shot together with Vitek Ludvik
Vitek Ludvik is always looking for innovative new ways to find a new angle. The 2007 Red Bull Illume photographer recently got busy with some DIY tripod construction to capture an image that had been growing in his mind for a year.
It was a plan to capture some breathtaking white water images with Honza Lasko, the extreme kayak champion, kayak designer and manufacturer.
“I only knew him from the pages of white water magazines," says Vitek.
"But when we finally met, we made a plan to work together as soon as possible.The pair agreed that conditions were best in Norway and began planning a trip.
“I did not want to destroy my camera because of a poor mount and Honza refused to have an Eiffel Tower on his kayak,” says Vitek. “We tried with an old tripod, but it buckled after a few minutes of testing. We knew we needed a more solid camera mount and drew up a new layout. My neighbour, a craftsman hobbyist, helped construct the mount just two days before the trip began. It was light, solid and reliable.”
Vitek also tried to find the right camera with the size and weight of a compact but with DSLR performance. “Olympus had just released a model called the OM-D. When I pulled the camera out of the box, I was rather skeptical as it was like a toy. However after a successful test shoot with the Flying Bulls in Jaroměř, Czech Republic, where I hung the OM-D with a Pocketwizard under my paraglider, I knew it could do the job.”
Overall, the photoshoot was a success. “The project was exciting," he says. "Best off all was meeting the crew and making new friends, Honza Lasko, Honza Muska Musil, Honza Kolar and Eva Filova!”
And the final image itself?
“The photoshoot went fine and the image looks great. My idea was slightly different as I was looking for a higher waterfall with a sharper edge, but the rest of the image looks the way I wanted. I’m happy!”
Vitek is no stranger to kayak photography, watch his shoot with London 2012 silver medallist Vavra Hradilek on a Prague slalom course. www.sharp-pictures.net.
Read the latest stories
Time to go CGI?
Creative duo Mike Campau and Tim Tadder recently created a series of commercial advertisements for Lifeproof, a brand that produces mobile and tablet cases. The interesting thing was how they enhanced a studio portrait shoot of action sports athletes with CGI to create compelling effects.
As a concept, it is fair to say that the team nailed it with the final execution. Photography purists will be dismayed, but it’s hard to disagree with the fact that CGI creates infinite possibilities –and the eye-catching effects are what many clients will be looking for.
You can watch the full studio BTS video of the Lifeproof shoot here, and see the final results in the gallery.
(Thanks to Mike Campau, Tim Tadder & Lifeproof for permission to post the images)
Skate the Line
In his latest shoot, Red Bull Illume photographer Dan Vojtěch used reflective tape to produce an eye-catching series of images of athlete Maxim Habanec skating in a dark skatepark.
“There were no lights on at the skatepark, so we used 25 LED film lights to provide enough light for Maxim,” says Vojtěch.
“The main photo from the top was taken on a Nikon D4 via wifi transmitter, with a flash mounted on a helicopter and controlled from the ground by PC. We also had other two strobes on the ground. This session took from 7pm until 3am – it was really cold and windy so I would love to say thanks to all participants again!”
Be sure to check out Dan’s website & Facebook page for more creativity.
Getting the shot with Christoph Laue
Recently photographer Christoph Laue nailed a super cool aerial shot of rider Peter Henke. We gave him a shout to find out more about how he went about getting this epic shot.
“We found this awesome dirt spine near Adelaide. The idea of taking a picture from the top of the tree came into my mind as soon as I saw the spot,” says Christoph.
“At first I thought I could climb this tree somehow, but it was really rotten. So we organized a long ladder and decided to strap the gear to the tree and trigger the camera from the bottom. We had a Camera Ranger to trigger the camera from an iPad.”
“Then the only tricky part was to get the right moment, because the Camera Ranger had a delay from about half a second. The heat and Peter’s bruised hip were giving him a hard time. But finally we got the right moment and were pretty happy with the result!”
This shot was also featured as a Red Bull Magic Moment, check out more here (DE only).
Photographer: Christoph Laue
Rider: Peter Henke
Location: Apex Park, Adelaide, Southern Australia
7 Simple Photography Hacks
Photographer Leo Rosas, who recently featured in the Red Bull Illume Sunbounce video, has been involved in the production of another creative video, ‘7 Simple Photography Hacks’. In the video, Rosas demonstrates seven quick & easy photography hacks and shows how a little creativity can get some interesting results.
“It was a cool project to work on and a fun way to demonstrate some simple tricks. For action sports and freestyle photographers, it’s important to think on your feet, especially when you don’t have all your gear on hand. Hopefully the video inspires some shooters to get creative!” says Rosas.
Do you use any creative photography hacks? Let us know on Facebook.
10 Social Media tips from Dan Carr
Having an effective social media strategy is essential for pro photographers. Red Bull Illume photographer Dan Carr offers ten tips for photographers looking to improve their social workflow…
#1 It’s not all about Facebook
Late in 2013, Facebook made sweeping changes to their algorithm that determines how much content from fan pages is seen in people’s news feeds. In many cases less than 10% of your fans will actually be shown the content you post on your page. This means we have to diversify and not just concentrate on Facebook!
#2 Maximize your engagement with Buffer
Buffer is an incredible free tool that queues up your content and posts it at the time that will get you the most engagement. You can also use Tweroid to analyze your own Twitter followers and find out what times they are most active.
#3 Automation is awesome
IFTTT is a free service that allows you to automate many of your social media tasks. Connect all of your accounts together in one place and you can post your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook automatically or share your Instagram photos to Flickr and Tumblr. The possibilities are endless and time saved here is more time behind the camera which is where you are most valuable!
#4 Don’t forget about LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to connect with potential clients and it’s probably the one that’s most underused by photographers. Did you know that you can actually include a portfolio of images right on your LinkedIn page at the bottom of your bio?
#5 Remain consistent wherever possible
Try to keep your social media usernames consistent across all platforms. I use dancarrphoto as my username on everything so that people become familiar with it and can find me anywhere without searching. (facebook.com/dancarrpho, 500px.com/dancarrphoto etc)
#6 Understand your goals
Managing many social media accounts and projects can be very time consuming if you’re not careful. You must clearly define some goals that include how you are going to profit from this time that you invest. Simply getting more followers should not be the goal. The goal should always be converting those followers into clients, whether that is though print sales or new job commissions.
#7 Find content that resonates with your audience
As photographers we are sharing a lot of images on social platforms but it’s important to mix it up and share other types of content as well. Share some techniques, or a behind the scenes look at your latest shoot. Make the content genuinely useful and inciteful and it will often get shared far more than a single pretty photo.
#8 Keep the conversation alive
Set aside some time to engage with fans and followers who have sent you a message or left a question on a post or photo. Be approachable and genuine with your responses so that people can get to know who you are, you could be talking to your next client! If you need to liven things up a little, flip things around and ask them a question. Even if it’s as simple as asking what their favorite lens is, questions will usually get a much higher engagement than a simple status update.
#9 Find your target audience
According to Mashable, one third of women in the US use Pinterest. That’s three times higher than the number of men that use it. If you’re also in the wedding or family photography business then you definitely take a look at sharing your work on Pinterest.
#10 A photo is worth more than 140 characters
Twitter is becoming an increasingly visual platform with photos now appearing prominently in peoples feeds amongst the usual tweets. Try sharing a photo a day, tagged with relevant #hashtags and you’ll soon start to pick up new followers.
If you’d like to learn more from Dan, he has a free eBook that covers many other aspects of running a successful photography business, like e-mail marketing and image pricing. You can get that eBook right here. Dan’s writing and photography can also be found at Shutter Muse.