Tech Tips: Photo Motive – Buttshotphobia

Improve your photos with these four tips from a pro. Includes what to focus on, how to use leading lines, being original and using depth of field to isolate your subject with a long lens.

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Get hands-on practical advice from Academy Award winning and National Geographic photographer Jimmy Chin. In this online-course Jimmy Chin shares advice for setting up a climbing shoot, how to prep, gear he carries and takes you behind the scenes in the making of Free Solo. Enroll in Climbing Photography With Jimmy Chin today!

Sure, we’ve all had a good laugh when a friend proudly shows us the classic, horrid photo of his buddy’s derrière hanging above you. While the butt shot is not always the first-choice angle for climbing photography, sometimes we just don’t have a choice. Here are a few simple tricks to keep the demeaning laughter to a minimum:

FOCUS ON FACES: Look for facial expressions! This takes some patience, but at some point the climber will inevitably look down, either through the legs or over the shoulder. Zoom in and shoot mega tight, (usually horizontal with the body completely filling the frame works best).

DEPTH OF FIELD: Focus on the first couple of protection pieces (bolts or gear  doesn’t matter) and have the climber in the distance somewhat out of focus. Longer lenses and shallow depths of field help create this dramatic effect.

LEADING LINES: The leader’s rope is a great aid in helping draw the eye through the photo towards the climber. Keep this is mind when composing medium- to wide-angle photos.

BE ORIGINAL: When in doubt, bust out the bag of tricks. The fisheye is great for a crazy perspective if the climber is somewhat close and you can gain good separation between the climber and rock (that is, compose so that the climber is on a blank canvas, like a clean piece of sunny granite, or on the arête against an empty sky).

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.