Tips for Rock Climbing Photographers

//Tips for Rock Climbing Photographers

When you see the sport of Rock Climbing, the essence of it is relatively basic. Using your body, by any means necessary to climb up a rock face without falling. Although the actual act itself is simple, there are many different things that climbers must think about when on the wall. Also given the fact that every route is different, and every scene more beautiful than the last. It poses an excellent stage for photography. For those of you looking for some tips on professional rock climbing photography or just trying to find out how to best capture your friends while at the crag, this article is for you.


Capture the location

Krystle Wright is one of the most famous female action photographers in the current industry. In an interview she mentions someone telling her, “Well really your just a landscape photographer shooting people doing really cool stuff.” In reality, that’s what it comes down to.

While climbing you will often find yourself in amazing, desolate places all around the world. These places may be stunning in their own light. Make sure to capture those rock climbing photography images.

Also if you are including the climber in the background, make sure they are wearing bright colors. If the subject being photographed is not wearing bright, easy to spot colors, they may get lost in the background.

Climbers are constantly in searching, whether in their own backyard or around the world


Show the Full Story

Of course sometimes you want to show the crux. The hardest point on the move where someone is doing an inverted heel hook holding on by two fingers. However this only shows one aspect of climbing.

Some of the best rock climbing photos show simple climbing culture. The silly things that people do while waiting around to get on the next route. The culture of climbing, for those that have never experienced it, shows a fantastic story and way of life.

Climbers are constantly in searching, whether in their own backyard or around the world

Climbers are constantly in searching, whether in their own backyard or around the world


Lighting. Lighting. Lighting.

This may come as a shock but shooting on a bright sunny day is the worst environment for rock climbing photography.

The bright sunlight casts shadows all over your potential canvas. On top of this, glares from the sun may really take away from the beauty of what you are trying to capture with the rock climbing photos.

When looking for the best type of lighting to capture rock climbing photography, pure shadow is the best. The time of the day where the sun has fallen behind the cliff face gives everything in view the same tone.

If you are shooting in the middle of the day, cloudy days are best for creating picture perfect environments.


Keep all the body parts in tact

This isn’t your high school yearbook. You’re not going for headshots or purposefully trying to cut your archenemy out of the scene. If you are photographing someone climbing, make sure they are completely in the photo.

Julie Ellison the editor for “Climbing” magazine and a rock-climbing photographer herself, uses this as a rule of thumb. She mentions how it actually makes her feel uncomfortable seeing photographs where the whole climber is not shown.

Also, she doesn’t take a liking to close-ups on hands or somebody chalking up. You get the picture. The idea is for rock climbing photos, that’s your job. Keep the climber in one piece!

Keeping all body parts in tact

Keeping all body parts in tact

Show the risk

When it gets down to it, climbing is an adrenaline packed extreme sport. For some, this is the best part of climbing. Showing the elegance, balance and peace that someone can portray while gently walking up a piece of slab. At the same time however, take time to show the long run outs with a 30 feet fall, that gets way too close to the ground. That’s when things get exciting.

Being a rock-climbing photographer is rewarding. It allows you to share the experience with the climbers. Yet also study people in a different light to improve your climbing skills as well. Being a rock climbing photographer is great. And everyone secretly knows, each sold rock climbing photo allows us to stay out on the rock longer. That’s where we belong.


By |2017-01-26T09:57:36-08:00January 26th, 2017|Categories: How-to Tips|0 Comments

About the Author:

Matthew Stone is a action photographer from San Francisco, California. He currently lives in Bucaramanga, Colombia where he develops action photography predominantly for climbing and motorcycle content. He also does dive and surf photography when living on the ocean and recently is taking photography to the sky with free-falling skydive imagery.