For professional photographers who shoot the same subject matter week in, week out, it can be a real challenge to stay creative, to keep trying to see things differently and to fend off the competition from younger, hungrier photographers trying to make a name for themselves and steal their best clients!
By being complacent in this constantly changing world, what once made you appealing to your clients will soon be yesterday’s news and before you know it they’ll be looking for something fresh new and it’s up to you to do something about it if you want to endure.
Most top photographers know this and none more so than the likes of Sven Martin, Gary Perkin and Duncan Philpott; all f-stop Staff Pros working on the pro MTB circuit, they’ve made careers providing top quality imagery to the best mountain bike magazines you’ll find on newsagent shelves. But just like the athletes they photograph, they realise that to stay at the top of their game they need to train their eye and challenge themselves technically, we reached out to Sven Martin to learn more:
We have been challenging each other for a few years now. Some of the challenges are quirky and fun, others force us to do something different and think outside the box.”
“It started some years ago when a core of us Gary, myself, Duncan and an Aussie based photographer Damien Breach @damianbreach were travelling to the same events a lot. Some have been slowest pan, reflections, silhouettes, sillhouettes with colour, best light flare (#lightbro) best shot of winning rider in finals run etc… Sometimes they get bizzarre with combinations of the above.”
“These self chosen and self imposed challenges are a way to keep it fresh and fun and photo geek out a bit.”
Here at f-stop it was #PanShotFriday that first caught our attention one Friday a few weeks ago; one, after another, after another... the best mountain bike photographers from all over the world showing parading their finest pan shots, all trying to out-do one another:
"1/30", "1/10", "oh I think it was 1/8 but it might have been slower"
Shutter speed humblebragging at it's best! Who knew mountain bike photographers were such a bunch of EXIFbitionists!?
But for all the bravado, tongue in cheek hashtagging and sarcastic commenting among the MTB photography community, this type of informal competition serves a really important purpose and only by learning new skills and pushing their ability to capture what few others can they hope to stay at the top of their game and keep doing what they love.
Every week the #panshotfriday competition gets tougher and tougher ... So you have to elevate your game ... For which I find a helicopter like #HotelAlphaXRay helps ... And a pilot like @flyingmtb helps even more. Another step up is to match the @trek_sellesanmarco kit of @damianoferraro to the burnt out forest scenery above Delheim during Stage 7 of last week's @capeepic 1/60 @ f11 ????????