kramon blog

cycling between video and photography with an HDSLR at hand

photographing pro-cyclists: work fast!

with 4 comments

Tony Martin shoot
photographing Tony Martin  (pic by Joris Bulckens)

I’ve been traveling Europe extensively over the last weeks to see different (cycling) Proteams for the next SHIMANO-campaign that will appear in international cycling-magazines in the near future. This time of year all teams have their traditional training-camps (mostly in Europe) where they get to know the new team-mates, check out new gear, let their press-pics be taken,… and train for the new season. I’m photographing the riders in a studio-setup that I drag around with me. Luckily I have an assistant to carry the load with me from hotel to hotel.

Meeting riders and teams like this is great. Mostly there is no stress involved and it allows you to get to know each other a little bit. During racing-season too many people want too many things from the riders and I always try to keep a low profile then and try not to ‘want’ something from the riders. When making portraits at the start of the race I make it a point to take that picture within 10 seconds.

George Hincapie
George Hincapie at Gent-Wevelgem

These are my self-imposed rules when taking portraits at the start of a race:

1/ ALWAYS ask the rider if it’s ok to take a picture; if the rider says ‘no’ I thank him and leave him be            (this seldom happens)

2/ NEVER tell riders how to pose or ask them to take their helmet/glasses of

3/ be (technically) ready before you ask to take a picture

4/ take 1 picture

5/ if something went (technically) wrong, DO NOT ask for a second picture (better luck next time)

6/ THANK the rider and wish him a good ride

7/ do all of the above in less then 10 seconds

code word here: respect

I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do now. I spend about 10 to 15 minutes with each rider I have to portray for the campaign. After 1 or 2 shots I always show the riders the shot (on the back of my camera); so they get confident in my capabilities (as a photographer) + they can check if their hair (or other things…) is in place.

I make sure I get the campaign-shots in a few minutes time. Riders appreciate the fact I work fast; they’re not models by nature… and like (almost) everybody else; they hate being in front of the camera. I can relate to that feeling. I try to make the shoot as pleasant and efficient as possible. THAT is my job. If I can make them walk off the set and they didn’t mind the shoot that much; I know I succeeded.

Cancellara photo-check
Cancellara checks first images (pic by Joris Bulckens)

When presented with the opportunity I also try to go along a training-ride with the team. When with Team FdJ a few days ago, I made these nice shots of their TT-training that day. Luckily I drove along on a sunny winter-day in the Provence (France). Lucky me.


Written by kristoframon

January 28, 2011 at 01:10

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Great advice.
    Love the photo on this page on George Hincapie, excellent.


    January 28, 2011 at 05:12

  2. Wonderful advice. Love your work!


    January 29, 2011 at 01:04

  3. Very nice work indeed! Can you comment on how you light pictures like the one of George Hincapie? Thanks a lot!


    March 28, 2012 at 12:21

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: