April 23, 2018

It has been 3 years now since I first started shooting pictures and clips in board sports. I’m proud and relieved to see that I have progressed fairly well during that time, thanks to a lot of hard feedback, encouragements, inspiration and hard work. Nevertheless, I have never considered myself as a professional photographer. When can one call himself “professional” at something? Honestly, I just enjoy shooting very much, and I’m happy to do so during my days off work. And eventually sometimes I would get a little cash for it! DAYUM!!! Still, this doesn’t make me feel as if I’m a professional, maybe partly because as I’m happy to realize that I’m still progressing a lot and there is still a long way to go.

This winter I had the pleasure to Meet Carl, one of the owners and managers of Vallerret Gloves. Their products are specialised and focused on a photographer’s need. It’s nice and refreshing to have a brand that appreciates the work done behind the lens and wishes to provide them with adequate equipment. We got talking, and Carl offered me the great opportunity to join their ambassador team and thus promote their products, which I happily and gratefully accepted.

I’m still not considering myself as a professional, but this new deal got me to think of a way to promote their products, while encouraging other photographers with insights and good tips. This article is to take it or leave it. I don’t believe that there’s “a best way” of doing things, as at the end of the day it is just a matter of style and habits… but feel free to embrace some of my thoughts or experience-based inputs.

INSPIRATION

This is probably the most important step to improvement. Inspiration gets you stoked and excited on getting out there and trying to reach the goals you have observed. In the beginning, you watch the work of many other photographers/filmers and try to capture their approach that you want to try out yourself. It takes time and patience to build up a proper style but this only comes with practice.
Even after 3 years, I keep looking at the work from amazing photographers. Seeing their work, their progress and the shift of the trends. Because photography, like sports, evolves, so you better be ready to grow with it in order to stay up to date with the techniques and designs, which you will adapt to add your own personal twist.
Nowadays, I feel comfortable enough with my boardsports pictures to seek inspiration in other photography themes such as art, design, fashion… It’s exactly this mix between action (which I like to take as subject) and creative editing and photo angle (inspired by art photography) that I find most interesting at the moment. But then again, this point of view might develop and grow into a different direction sooner or later.

EQUIPMENT

Womens photography gloves

Haaaaaa this is such an intense, yet boring subject. Let’s talk technical equipment! Especially when someone first starts shooting in the winter sports industry (including myself), you tend to worry about having the right equipment. As a result you often buy way too many gadgets, which you will never really need, but which will fill up your backpack.
My process is simple: what’s my plan? What will I be shooting and for what purpose? These questions will narrow down my need and will help me choose the right equipment: I don’t need 4K, but I do need to switch from filming to shooting pictures rapidly (as I like to do a little of both), all content will be mainly used for web so I do not require crazy resolutions…
As you gain experience, you come to realize that it’s often not the equipment that will make the shot better, but rather the angle you choose, the rider you shoot with and the way you will finally edit your picture. You don’t believe me? Give the same camera to two people and you will quickly see how the result will be different according to their style.

When it comes to backpacks, I’m quite a minimalist. I managed to limit my shooting equipment to a small camera (GH5), a few lenses and sometimes I take out my gimbal. I’m grateful to be good at post-production, which helps me to add some flares and delete some lazy people standing in my shot. Therefor, my backpack is small, super light and crazy practical (you should check it out sometimes). As I’m not the most talented snowboarder, having a light backpack saved my shooting/riding day quite a few times. Also, having this small amount of equipment encourages me to easily get into my shooting mood. As a result I take way more pictures than I would if I had the burden of carrying a big, heavy backpack.

Now let’s talk about the gloves situation. I admit, I never really felt the need for specific gloves. I usually take off my gloves to take pictures until I can’t feel my fingers, or I just leave them on and hope I get the right button pressed at the right time. Now, my gloves upgraded to real “photographer winter gloves” and honestly my life changed with it 
The women model gloves I got from Vallerret allow me to pull off the top part of the index finger and thumb. This frees my fingers from the gloves, giving me full sensibility and mobility to the camera while keeping the rest of my hand covered and warm. The removable fingertips work with magnets, this way, the fabric doesn’t hang or just flips back over your fingers while shooting. The gloves are comfortable and warm, the technique is simple and reliable… I’m happy to say that this is a great gear addition, which makes my photography experience easier and more fluent.

 

FIND YOUR ANGLE

To begin with, you will seek inspiration and start shooting with conventional angles. Some fish eye shots of rails and some long lens for the kickers or backcountry. Once you get comfortable with those, you might look into finding something different. I started off wrong, with a background in design, my approach to boardsports shootings was inappropriate at first but then helped me easily getting out of my comfort zone to try out new and wired angles.
Thanks to the rotating screen of the GH5, which I love, I got to explore some edgy angles, sometimes at the cost of almost getting hit by a snowboard in the face.

TEAM WORK

As much as I like to complain about not seeing any credits for the photographer on a picture, I also think we shouldn’t forget that it’s a team-work to get a great shot. Often, after getting to know the rider better, you get used to each other’s style of riding and shooting, and it gets easier to know what angle you should get or which position will look best.
The first few times or hours shooting with someone you need to get to know each other and conversation is key to get the best result quickly. Or do it like me and hope the rider doesn’t land his trick first try.

As much as I like to complain about not seeing any credits for the photographer on a picture, I also think we shouldn’t forget that it’s a team-work to get a great shot. Often, after getting to know the rider better, you get used to each other’s style of riding and shooting, and it gets easier to know what angle you should get or which position will look best.
The first few times or hours shooting with someone you need to get to know each other and conversation is key to get the best result quickly. Or do it like me and hope the rider doesn’t land his trick first try.

EDITING

The shoot is done, I’m finally back home with a red wine or a beer depending on how successful the shooting was. I usually select the shots immediately to be imported in Lightroom and there I find some pre-set filters that I have prepared and modified over the past few years. This allows me to follow one visual style and to stay true to my Instagram feed 

ET VOILÀ

Better Photography - Skiing double exposure

Now it’s time to present your piece of art to the world. Get on Instagram and social, prostitute your images out and tag all the possible locations, brands, and people you can on your picture, while adding all the hashtags you could think of (never mind if they are relevant or not) and hope it attracts some attention. Maybe even beg some friends and riders to share it  at this point, social media prostitution will make your success.

So ride on, and happy shooting.
Nicki

Original Article published on Reverse mag: http://www.reverse-magazine.com/2018/04/tribute-people-behind-shots/

 

Nicki Antognini - Swiss Photographer

NICKI ANTOGNINI a traveller, mountain dweller and snow sports and adventure photographer. “I believe that every shoot is about the coalition between the rider and the photographer and communicating the interesting story of that unique individual.”

Founder of Reverse mag:  http://www.reverse-magazine.com/
Follow Nicki on instagram: @nicki_antognini/


Also in Vallerret Blog

Muench Workshops Interview – David Rosenthal
Muench Workshops Interview – David Rosenthal

August 21, 2018

We got in touch with David Rosenthal, a world-renowned photographer, to learn the ins and outs of the Muench Photography Workshops. We find out who best suits the workshops, how Muench is different, plus tips for other photographers looking to start their own workshops.
Read More
Yosemite photographed in smoke
Yosemite National Park in Smoke

August 13, 2018

With hopes of being blowing away by the shear size of the infamous rock climbing routes, inspired by the subjects that caught Ansel Adams´s attention, and enjoying the summer outdoors we ended up battling a thick layer of smoke which engulfed the valley.
Read More
Arctic Surf Photography - How to shoot Arctic Surf
Arctic Surf Photography – How to get started with Hallvard Kolltveit

May 23, 2018

Arctic Surf Photography is both challenging and rewarding. The location alone is an experience, I mean it’s the Arctic full of dramatic landscapes, Iceberg factories and polar bears, even the sun hides for a few months.
It’s a place where big puffer jackets and multiple layers of merino become your uniform, jumping in the water let alone surfing, (or as a photographer floating and diving under the waves) seems ludicrous.
Read More
Christian Hoiberg. Vallerret Ambassador
Tips for Photographing Arctic Norway – Christian Hoiberg

May 08, 2018

Christian Hoiberg: This winter I spent three full months living and guiding in Arctic Norway. While I’ve spent a lot of time there previously, staying there for this extended period of time led to me getting a more intimate understanding of the surroundings.

Read More
SIZING CHART

FIND YOUR SIZE:

  1. Measure around the widest part of your hand with a relaxed open palm.
  2. Measure from base of hand to the tip of the middle finger.

Unisex Sizes XS S M L XL
Hand Girth cm  18 - 20  20 - 21 21 - 22 22 - 23 23 - 26
inch  7.1 - 7.9   7.9 - 8.3  8.3 - 8.7 8.7 - 9.1 9.1 - 10.2
Hand Length cm  16.0 - 17.5  17.5 - 18.5 18.0 - 19.0 19.0 - 20.0 20.5 - 23.0
inch  6.3 - 6.9 6.9 - 7.2 7.1 - 7.5 7.5 - 7.9 8.1 - 9.1
 EU Size Eqivaient  EU 7.5  EU 8 EU 8.5 EU 9 EU 10
 Uni Sex Glove Models: Markhof Pro Model | Ipsoot | Trigger Mitt | Merino Liner Touch 
Female Sizes XS S M L XL
Hand Girth cm 16.0 - 17.5 17.5 - 18.8 18.5 - 20.0 20.0 - 21.5 -
inch  6.3 - 6.9 6.9 - 7.4 7.2 - 7.9 7.9 - 8.5 -
Hand Length cm 15.5 - 16.5 16.3 - 17.2  17.0 - 18.5 19.0 - 20.0 -
inch  6.1 - 6.5 6.4 - 6.8 6.7 - 7.3 7.5 - 7.9 -
 EU Size Eqivaient  EU 6  EU 7 EU 8 EU 9 -
Female Glove Models: W's Nordic