How to film skateboarding

Filming skateboarding or skate videography has been practised since 1965 till now. “Skaterdater” was the first to shoot a skate film. Since then, manufacturers, Skateboard & Longboard companies, Sports shops, or even individual skaters have been recording themselves while skating or their skateboarding video parts for broadcasting or as self-correcting. 

Filming and editing skate videos is not as difficult as rocket science. Surely it’s different from still photoshoots. But it can be challenging if you don’t learn from your mistakes and grow. Starting from the equipment to the tips & tricks, the Dos & Don’ts, here I have documented everything on how to photograph skateboarding in this article. 

Equipment To Film Skateboarding Videos

For excellent video quality, the right type of equipment is a must. The resolution, shutter speed for filming skateboard videos, angles of your frame etc matter when it comes to buying the best camera for skateboarding.

DSLR cameras are what would come to anyone’s mind firstly, but one can also use camcorders or GoPro action cams. If your camera has a fisheye lens, it’ll be a cherry on the icing. Fisheye lenses are well-known for their incredible wide angels of framing. Your filming will not miss any shot.

Use a filming board with soft wheels on it for a more steady shot.

How To Film Skateboarding With A Phone

Beginners might be reluctant to make a hole in their wallets at the very beginning of their filming journey. 

The best escape to practice with is a phone. 

You can use any phone with a high-resolution camera. The Nokia NKA or an iPhone works well enough. Use the fisheye view. The thing about filming with a phone is you need to use some kind of handle. It can be a ridge like a selfie stick or a GoPro handler. It prevents any shakiness and makes your clips look very steady and rigid. You are good to go!

how to film skateboarding with phone

How To Film Skateboarding: step by step

Here are the best tips to film your skateboarding documented for a better understanding:

1.Steady hands are a prerequisite of skateboard filming. The tracking shots must come out nice and clean. The best is if the videographer can skate with the skater.

2.It’s impossible to keep note of the surroundings while shooting. So pre-read the track and trick you’re going to shoot. Practice shooting a few times before as well as the tricks to get an understanding of the condition. 

3.Try to get as many usable clips as possible. Try to get the least unnecessary clips.

4.If you are a self-videographer while riding and shooting, push as smoothly as possible. When you push away the subjects, try not to put your back foot much on the board and push smoother and more.

5.Plan everything to be at the right place at the right time. Discuss with your skater their track, trick and maneuver. You don’t want to miss capturing the beginning, middle and ending of the tricks. 

6.The famous skateboard photographer tips that, if you’re rolling with the skater, it’s better to start a bit earlier so that when they start, you’re not still pushing. 

The distance between the skater and the videographer is challenging to decide. It comes well with practice. The videographer must be at a safe distance but must know how to make the filming more exciting by using angles. 

How To Photograph Skateboarding

Start by being friends with the skaters. Get to know them, how they interact and where they hang. Ask for permission before photographing them. If you’re friends with them, ask if you can work with their skills. 

Just like any other action shooting, skateboard photography requires fast shutter speed cameras. It’s more the perfect shot than the motion. Shoot in shutter speed priority so you don’t have to care about the perfect capture and you will get your shot. Focus manually than using autofocus to get a sharper image of the skater.

Framing and angle comes second but are equally important. Avoid shooting from above. Rather do it from the ground level or pick the front-facing angle. If you’re shooting the board, shoot from below the board & if you’re shooting trick, front or side angle is better.

Make your photos speak. Pick the best shots of the tricks and the skater so that you have a story to tell. Choose such a background that enhances your image more and works in favour of the composition. Do not limit yourself. Keep experimenting with different unique shots. Try to find the best view among your surroundings and utilize it for a unique shot. Be creative!

How To Film Skateboarding At Night

Filming in the sunlight is easier than at night. But if you must,  use the camera at such an angle that the yellow street lights or the fluorescent lights enhance your filming & make it look cool.

The city lights and street lights are going to pop out anyways in your filming. But if you don’t like the contrast much, you can put a filter on your lenses which tones down the yellow a bit and makes it look whiter for a calmer tone of view. 

How To Edit A Good Skating Video

Your videos can speak for themselves through strategic editing. Every skateboarder has a story to tell. But after the trick has been done, the video has been shot and uploaded, who is going to convey the story?

The prolapse of clips, strategic arrival of clips evokes the emotion behind the videography. You want your video to make a bigger impact on the internet for sure. As your video graduates, make sure each clip builds up the excitement for the next one. While setting the chronology for tricks, keep the viewers’ adrenaline rush in mind. Keep it going up and down so the viewer struggles to keep their jaw hitting on the floor!


Most frequent questions and answers

What camera do skate photographers use?

The credit for those crisp HD video clips you watch on the internet goes to the equipment used by the photographers. Most skate photographers use DSLR and mirrorless cameras for filming the clips. The high definition feature of this camera makes sure not to miss out on any little detail of the ride there is. 

How much do skateboarding photographers make?

According to researchers in the United States, skateboarding photographers earn up to $46,920 per year. It’s higher than the earning of an FTC skateboarder. For a single clip, a skateboarding photographer might earn $75 on average. The level might go up to $100 if the company is high-end like Nike etc.

How to become a skate photographer?

Nurture the passion for the profession you choose. If you have the right kind of zeal for skateboarding, you can become an athlete as well as a photographer of the game. Even before spending hundreds of bucks in buying the equipment, learn the basics. Make your own videos, shoot videos for your friends. Upload on the internet museums. If you are lucky enough you might catch the sight of bigger brands for your clips.

Why do skaters put their hand in front of the camera?

This gesture is known as the Banger Hand. It is a sign for the photographers done by the skaters. A skater may need more than 10-12 trials to land a trick perfectly & when they do, they put a hand in front of the camera. Fast-forwarding to the clip with a hand in it, the editor can easily find the trick that was perfectly landed. 

Wrap Up

Whether you are a skateboarder or you like to film others skateboarding, make sure you enjoy what you do. When you love your work, it gets better everyday because of your true dedication. 

I hope my article guides you with everything you need in your skateboard filming journey. Do share your experience with us in the comments below!


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