July 16, 2013
This subject has been on my mind for a very long time. Before I start this post I want to make sure it’s clear that I am by no means a veteran surf photographer and my love for photography and in particular “surf photography” came to fruition from seeing all those fantastic shots that graced the covers of the surf mags that others had put before me.
I’ve been shooting body boarding, surfing, ocean art and wave photography for almost 5 years now. Most recently I’ve noticed the increase of “surf photographers” on the Gold Coast. Many people started surf photography to capture their mates surfing or even to escape the crowds of the infamous Gold Coast hustle. Now I’ve started to notice that surf photography on the Gold Coast is in fact saturated with “surf photographers”. My instagram feed is filled with people who are “photographers” and once you click on their feed or Facebook page you soon realise they’re just shooting with a gopro. No photographic skill involved, just point and shoot. Now don’t get me wrong, the gopros seem like an incredible camera, especially for HD video. I have several gopro shooters I follow on instagram from the likes of Robbie Crawford and Dan Bennington who in my opinion are at the top of their game and the skill comes into being at the right spot at the right time, both of which have it locked down. The quality and style of these two are what other “gopro surf photographers” should be aiming for.
Unfortunately because of this craze it ruins things for the guys that are truly about taking a great picture and trying to make a living out of surf photography. Let me paint a picture for you, you head out to your local surf break or find a spot that is secluded from the crowds. Within minutes you have 5 guys with their gopros getting in your way, getting in your shot. Only to find out they also have an Instagram feed with mediocre images with another 5 go pro users in their pictures. It is honestly getting on my nerves. As with surf etiquette there is a “surf photographers” etiquette that is being overlooked.
I personally like to do things like this:
Now I know not everyone will do things like this, but I’m hoping it give the new breed of surf photographers some direction.
Like I said at the beginning, gopros can take some incredible images and “surf photographers etiquette” should get you thinking about your approach in the next session. At a recent shot out at Froggies on the Gold Coast I counted 7 people shooting water with a gopro.
Now there is a whole other side to this phenomenon with photography and social media and how it’s destroying the photographic industry but I’ll leave that for a future post and these guys touched on the subject recently.