The nice thing about photography is that we can remember the great moments we had or share them with our friends. Imagine being on a beautiful beach with crystal clear water on Zanzibar, kiting along the palm covered coast off Sri Lanka or experiencing an unforgettable sundowner in Brazil. It’s quite annoying when the shot has turned out to be not as good as you’ve expected. This can be a drop of water on the lens, but also bad exposure or blurriness, which can tease you. That’s why I’ve put some tips together for you, so you can avoid this during your next kite session. Another advantage is that if you take pictures of yourself while kiting, you will see your posture. Especially in the beginning you can change a lot to feel better on the board.
Just a little tip in advance! You should think about what you would like to have for a result. I usually go through the spot in head and choose different angles or motives, which I would like to photograph or film on that day. Depending on that the settings will be changed.
1. Choose the correct time of the day
The number one and the most important thing for me to be able to take good photos is the light! The perfect time is to take photos in the morning or evening, so you get an incredible mood in your photos. Because the light is very soft and has an interesting color play, as the midday light. You will also avoid extreme reflections on the water and unsightly shadows on your face, which can occur in the midday sun. Another advantage is to capture your moments in the morning or evening when the kite spot is a bit emptier. Many people enjoy their breakfast in the morning or are already having dinner with their friends. There is nothing better then kiting on a spot with enough space to practice new kite moves, right?
2. Use different perspectives
To get more excitement into your pictures, you should try different perspectives. It also depends on if you are alone or with your partner who can take some pictures of you.
Are you with your partner, it’s a little bit easier! Here are a few ideas which bring some variety:
- The perspective when you launch the kite is on of my favorite. The kite floats just above the ground and the focus of the camera is on the person or the kite. This makes shows the dimension of the kite and you have an interesting foreground!
- In order to bring more variety into the photography, the partner can take pictures of you while you are tying up the lines, inflating the kite or how you are taking the kite material out of the car. Try to tell a story with your pictures.
- Pictures from the beach. I recommend to look for a nice foreground. However, this should not distract from the actual target, you can also leave the foreground unfocused. A small sand dune, grass or also a person loosens the photo a little bit and shows the dimensions of the height of a jump. But here it depends on what kind of equipment you have. If you use your smartphone, it makes more sense to go closer to or into the water, so that the kiter is still recognizable. If you want to have a new point of view, it’s also worth squatting down and taking pictures above the water or beach surface.
Should you be alone, the GoPro is perfect for this. Suitable helpers are e.g. the selfie stick or different fastenings at the lines, board or the mouth holder.
- While you are setting up the kite, you can move the GoPro a bit further away and film yourself and later play it back e.g. in time-lapse.
- Bring variety in your pictures with close-ups of the kite, board or other details.
- Of course the good old selfie should not be missing.
- And definitely your kite session on the water should be on it. There are many different possibilities to film or photograph you. The perspective through the mouth holder shows much of the surroundings and the general feeling. However, if you want to shoot yourself directly at your kitetricks, then the holder for the lines would be optimal.
–> Tip: The golden section makes the picture look more harmonious, here the target is not placed in the middle of the picture but on the side.
3. Adjusts the GoPro correctly
At the beginning I assumed that the higher the quality during the recording, the better the result. But that’s not always true! You can see that perfectly with the slow motion shots. The GoPro has the possibility to record in 4K, but only with 60 or 30 Fps, which makes the recording jerky with a reduction to 25%. To get a softer transition, you should set the GoPro to 1080p and 120fps, so the video looks much smoother. This is simply because the camera takes twice as many frames per second.
If you want to make normal videos and cut them together at the end, the 4K setting is great for it. Here you have the advantage, if someone is filming from far away, that you can zoom in and cut afterwards without any loss of quality. But make sure you have enough memory, because 4K needs a lot more memory and battery. You can also cut out pictures using the Quick App.
“TimeWarp is HyperSmooth applied to TimeLapse Video. It allows you to Capture super stabilized time lapse videos while you move about a scene. Increase the speed up to 30x to turn longer activities into shareable moments. TimeWarp is processed in the camera and is enabled by increasing the camera’s memory to 2GB.”
–> Repeat your moves and film them from different positions. This gives the video more variety and you just have more choice to choose the perfect videos.
The GoPro is also very suitable for shots. I would recommend the timelaps mode. Here you choose in which time period you want to take a picture, if 0.5 second, 1 second, 2 seconds, 5 seconds etc. this works until you finish the recording. For kiting 0.5 – 2 seconds is a great adjustment. Due to the fast movements while kiting, many images are recorded. However, you should also make sure that there is enough memory space, because hundreds of pictures can be created.
Another setting is the perspective. Usually the wide-angle perspective just looks great, more details get into the photo and more of the surroundings are revealed. However, you should avoid the wide angle when taking a close-up, it lets your nose grow or skew the overall picture. Just switch to the normal perspective to avoid this.
4. Select the correct functions in the settings of your camera
With a digital camera or other cameras where you have the possibility to make settings, you should note the following:
- Fast shutter speed. Since you have fast movements in front of the camera, a long shutter speed would blur the image. The darker the picture gets, but you can correct it with the aperture or the iso-value. I take some test photos before and adjust the settings.
- Open or closed aperture? I prefer to use the open aperture e.g. f3,5-5,6. The view goes directly to the main object by blurring the foreground or background. However, focusing takes time and could ultimately blur the target. If you’re not sure, just take some test photos or I’ll close the aperture. Because the more closed the aperture (e.g. f11-22), the more acuity you get. However, this will make the image darker, as not as much light hits the sensor.
- If you need some brightness you can correct it with the iso-value. Note that the higher you set the value, the more noise the image will start to produce. If this is the case, you’d better photograph a bit too dark, because you can still edit and brighten it afterwards.
- Use serial pictures, so you have a higher chance to have taken the right moment.
5. Have a closer look around you
Point 5 is about details that could disturb the picture. However, these are also quick to fix and therefore all the more annoying!
- The battery. How many times have I been in the situation of having the perfect subject in front of me, but my camera just switch off. Since then I have 3 batteries with me, which I recharge before taking pictures in the evening.
- The water drops on the GoPro. Best kite session, great feeling and then at the end you notice that every picture is blurred. That happens sometimes thanks to the drops of water on the lens. So always check the GoPro at the beginning and during the session.
- Disturbing objects. Look through the viewfinder of the camera and pay attention to the details. Is there rubbish lying around? Then we do something for the environment and clean it up, so the picture looks much more beautiful. Or even a slight turn to the left can make an unsightly building disappear from the picture.
- Try to get as few other kiters as possible by changing the perspective on the picture, the main goal becomes clearer.
- Take pictrues with the sun in your back. This can’t always be prevented and sometimes it looks super interesting by shadow plays. However, it can also quickly lead to the fact that the water is extremely overexposed and hardly anything can be seen. In general, it is better to photograph a little too dark than too bright. Because in case of overexposure the details disappear, which you can’t regain in the reworking.
Now get on the camera and get up on the water! Have fun! ;)