Emil is an action shots, Oslo based photographer and ViewBug member,  follow EmilSollie to see more of his shots! Emil shared with us 3 simple tricks to improve fast action shots and pointed out some thoughts behind his amazing and creative surfing photo.

1. Freeze your object with a flash and not the shutter when shooting at sunset and it's getting dark.

2. Try a couple of angles before you decides which one is the best, the most obvious angle will not always be the optimal. 

3. Be creative! 

- Learn the tricks behind his award winning image -


- Framing - 

What are you trying to capture/say?
When you are shooting surfing it`s  like documenting whats going on in the best possible way. As a photographer you can't control how the waves behave and where the surfer will be surfing and dropping in the wave. The photographer is in the third position trying to make the  best out it. This type of scenarios give a photographer a lot of creative opportunities.

How do you know if it’s visually interesting?
When shooting I am not sure if it will be but I am always thinking that  it will be unique because I haven`t seen anything similar.  I`ve been thinking about doing this sort of shoot for way to long, I feel that if I like it other will as well.

Are you thinking about perspective?
In this case it was kind of obvious. We had the sun to work with and I had my partner, Mats Grimseth, in the water with the flash, so I had to move to have Mats between my camera and the sun. The current was really heavy at this spot too, so almost every time the surfers had a drop in they had to help Mats paddle out and position himself again.

- Lighting -


Are you using tripod?
I never use a tripod when shooting action shots.

Are you using flash?
-I always use flash when shooting action, this is the only time I´ve done it while shooting a surfer.

What time of the day was it shot?
-Around sunset.

What aperture settings are you using?
It was set to f.4., would have liked to set it to 5,6, but it was too dark!


-Main Subject and Composition -


Are you looking for a unique subject?
-I was looking for 3 surfers who knew where the flash was, it was important that they did they trick around that spot.

Are you thinking of rule of thirds/how?
Not necessary, but my objects are often taking place in one of the corners. But I thinks it`s more important to find a good angle and a clean background.

Are you thinking of symmetry?
Very often. I hate it when lines are not parallel yet my photos is not based on symmetry.

Are you thinking of reflections?
When I find it possible to get artsy with reflections I do, but thats not the first thing that comes to my mind.

Are you paying attention on the subject only or also background and why?
I think it`s more important to have a good backdrop/background behind the subject when shooting action.  Action often goes hand in hand with unique places and spots that are important to capture. In many cases the background gives the picture the full story.

Are you thinking of the angle? why did you choose this angle?
When shooting athletes it's better to go low and make the athlete's tricks ands action shots look bigger. The athletes always want you to go low to make the tricks look bigger,  but when shooting I do not always think of that and do not make it a priority.

- Processing -


Did you do any post-processing? if so, what?
I did edit some of the colors and used a couple of contrast filters to make the water pop and make it look sharp. In this case, the flash makes the whole picture, so the post-process was quite easy. A huge thanks to
@MatsGrimseth for being in the water with the flash.  This shot was possible thanks to him, he needs to take 50% of the credit for this shot!