Shoot a point-of-view action image with a chest-mounted D-SLR
Time: 15 minutes
Skill level: Intermediate
Kit needed: D-SLR, Fisheye lens, Camera strap plus chest mount, Bicycle
Shooting an action image from the point of view of the participant is a lot of fun, and can result in original and very immersive images. Assuming you’re the one getting in on the action, there are lots of things you could be doing when you shoot from your own perspective, from spinning a toddler around at arm’s length to riding on a carousel at a fairground, but for our shoot we decided to go for a bike ride!
We used a 10.5mm fisheye lens to get a wide view of our surroundings, and to ensure our hands would be visible in the frame, as this adds to the sense the viewer has of being along for the ride (this is similar to the perspective you’d get from an action camera like a GoPro). We also used a Stabilizer Strap from OP/TECH USA (www. optechusa.com), but you can easily make a DIY chest mount out of camera straps placed around your shoulders and pulled tight.
STEP BY STEP: Get in on the action
1 SPEED UP
Set shutter-priority mode and auto ISO so you can keep control over your shutter speed. For most subjects a shutter speed of around 1/50 sec will be about right, but we needed to set 1/160 sec to freeze the movement of the bike. Set the shooting mode to self-timer so you can shoot hands-free, with a delay.
2 STRAP IN
Tighten your D-SLR strap and place it around your neck. Use a dedicated chest strap or DIY alternative to hold your camera into your body. To adjust the camera angle, try wedging something behind it; as our body position meant the lens was pointing downwards, we used a rolled-up hat to tilt it up.
If you can’t get the timing quite right using timer delay mode, try using your camera’s built-in intervalometer to shoot continuously instead
3 STAY FOCUSED
Focusing is difficult when you can’t see what you’re shooting. Switch to manual focus, measure the distance to your subject – for us, the handlebars – and set the focus using the indicator on the lens. Once that’s set, set the self-timer and start riding. You might need a few goes to get the focusing right!