When I started skydiving in the USA, I completed my USPA license. Within in the next month, I received my first copy of Parachutist magazine. The next magazine I had the chance to read was Blue Skies Magazine. There was always a copy around my home DZ. Flipping through skydiving magazines and seeing all those beautiful photographs, I wished that my photos could published as part of an article someday. Although it took me a long time to get there, with lots of jumps and lots of work, I eventually did it!
To be part of a skydiving magazine is super cool. Photographers, when they get a cover or photos inside an article, share it on social media all the time. Besides that, the skydiving community magazines do a lot for our sport. I believe its great to have printed material, it helps people touch and feel “skydiving.”
This year I made into the Parachutist, the biggest skydiving magazine in the USA and possibly in the world. I’m very proud of this achievement. Shout out and big thank you Rich Grimm for coming up with a such an amazing boogie location, The Maldives.
European skydiving magazines
The first time I came to jump in Europe, I was jumping at Skydive Empuriabrava. Here I discovered two European skydiving magazines. The first one was ParaMag from France, followed by 90 Percent from Italy. This reignited that desire within me, to be part of these magazines and have photos published in each one.
How to get published
The secret is to never give up and to be at the right place. Also, use any adverse feedback to help you learn how to do better. If you are not Tom Sanders, Juan Mayer, Craig O’Brien, Gustavo Cabana, Bruno Brokken, Raymond Adams, or Norman Kent (or any other best skydiving photographers in the world), you will have to work hard to get a photo published in a skydiving magazine. Personally, I like to use Instagram to share my work, and it has helped me a lot.
It’s very important to be patient. There are lots of people sending skydiving photos to all magazines in the world. If we keep doing our best and being persistent, at some point we will get there.
Find your style
Those photographers mentioned above have worked their asses off to be where they are today. I like to see them as a tool. It helps me learn and evolve, becoming a better photographer. Continuing to follow them and check their work periodically, not only in magazines but also on their websites and social media. Curating great content helps everyone get inspiration and, at some point, develop their own style.
I remember the first photographer I started to follow on Instagram, Max Haim. For me, one of the best and I always wanted to meet him. The first time I saw him was in Europe during the Burning Spring 2019 Boogie. I was so excited that I could not even say a word. He came to jump with our group, took a few pictures, and that was it. I never said anything, but I was there. It felt good to be part of a jump with him.
GoPro or DSLR
The first time I sent photos to a magazine, I was celebrating my birthday at Skydance Skydiving. Ray Farrel and other friends were helping me to organize the Brazilian Birthday Boogie. We manage to get Amy Chmelecki (thank you, Astrid, and Greg for that) and Joshua Hall to organize free-flying and skydiving formation jumps. It was amazing, I was literally living the dream!
All magazines I tried to send my photos, told me that they couldn’t publish GoPro photos because of the quality. Well, that was in 2016. Nowadays, GoPro’s photos can also be used in magazines or for a photo book – Above the Maldives. However, DSLR cameras have a much better resolution, and skydiving magazines prefer to work with these photographs.
The Biggest Difference (For me)
For me, GoPro Hero 8 Black is the perfect action camera for photos. When in photo mode, it delivers excellent quality photos that can be printed. However, I can’t edit it as much as I can edit a photo taken with a DSLR camera. For that reason, photographers using GoPros need to be closer than they think would be the perfect frame of a shot.
Personally, I feel it’s much harder to take a picture with a DSLR camera. In my experience, it’s super hard to get a shot with good focus. I have some photos with my Sony Alpha 6500 that are great. However, they are all during belly formation or tandem jumps. When I’m in a fast angle jump, I feel much more challenging to focus, due to the speed and movements the group makes. Another factor is that I love to join the groups and be very close to the action. When you consider that someone can easily kick your expensive badass camera, that’s a “no go” for me.
When using a GoPro, we need to select the photo mode (time-lapse) and set up the camera to take pictures every 0.5 seconds at the best quality mode possible. There is also the option to have RAW files, but that reduces the camera speed from 0.5 seconds to 5 seconds per photo. Do not use screenshots. It can be ok for the Internet, but will not deliver a high image quality to print in magazines.
What people tell me
So, I’ve heard that I should use a real camera and that photos taken with a GoPro are worth nothing. Yet I don’t see it this way. I believe we can find art anywhere; it doesn’t matter what camera one is using.
It is my belief that we all can develop a style and enjoy the skydiving world the way we prefer. Even if our photos are not in magazines all the time, doing it with love and working hard, for sure will take you on a fantastic path.
This year, the photos I took in the Maldives Exotic Boogie were published in several skydiving magazines. Also, I made a book of the best shots I took. The printed result was terrific, and I really love it.
Keep coming back
I am a GoPro sponsored athlete, however, much before that I was using GoPro’s action cameras to record my skydiving jumps. In the beginning, I used to grab screenshots from my videos. Lately I went to a double mount with two cameras, which helps me get videos and high-quality photos at the same time.
Do you need any help regarding using your GoPro for skydiving? I’m always glad to help. Please send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment below.
If you like the article, please let me know, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts!
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