Tips for Taking Figure Skating Photos

They spin, they twirl, they leap. They cavort, skip and dance. They toss, they turn, they glide. They are poetry in motion.

Yet, try to take pictures of ice skaters and the results can be little indication of the action. The flow and beauty of the sport is something that I've found can be hard to capture in a static image.

During my years covering local events for our community newspaper, I was challenged with the task each winter of grabbing some photographs of the skating club's events.  Every time I went to the arena prepared for tricky lighting conditions. I pushed my way through excited parents and grandparents to find a key spot where I could shoot unobstructed.  And as the skaters went through their routines full of Salchows, Axels and Lutzes,  I went snap crazy.

I also, before the performances and during the intermissions, wandered around for 'mood' and backstage photos because I knew that much of what I had taken on the ice wouldn't measure up to the live action.  Hoping I'd nabbed at least one gravity-defying move, or dizzying spin, experience had taught me that most figure skating moves are boring when frozen in time.

It's not that we didn't have some talent out there. This wasn't all about tiny tots and budding Olympians. Our small village proudly boasted top-ranking national competitors, including a freestyle pair chosen to take part in the 1988 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Calgary, who were pleased to entertain during the local club's event.   Try as I might, however, remembering of course that this was in the days of film, I never did manage to get a figure skating picture that made me happy.

While my days of covering these types of events are gone, I do have small grandchildren who will soon be lacing up skates and thought it might be a plan to do a little studying in the meantime. Here are a couple of sites I found with some helpful tips:

Figure Skating Photography Tips

Photographing Figure Skating


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