Vaulting is a beautiful sport and we need to show it to the world! One of the best ways to get to be known is to share our photos.

VW asked some of the best vaulting photographers for their secrets, between others Arjen van der Spek, Anthony Bro-Petit, Julia Schwartz & Nathalie Gautier.

Some of these photographers fell in love with the sport because they practice or practiced it themselves or just because friends or family members are involved. They definitely work with the same passion for our discipline and they shared with us their best tips:

1. The Light

According to Julia Schwartz ”All you need is light. That’s the most important thing.”  Backlight for example makes it hard to take a good picture. Whether you have a good light or not results basically from the arena and where you position yourself in the arena.

2. The Spot

When choosing your spot, make sure that the vaulters are going to stand out from the background: It is important to have a simple background, if possible without too many colors – we all know that this can be very difficult if there are stands of spectators.

The spot also determines the light you will have. Make sure that there’s no window directly on the opposite side. Otherwise you will take all your photos against the light.

Last but not least, be creative and different such as Anthony: “You have to find the spot where nobody is, usually during a competition, I’m in the backstage, I love this point of view!”

3. The Skills and Intuition

We were curious to know what makes a perfect shot: Skills only? Isn’t it a combination of coincidence and of luck, too?

Anthony Bro-Petit believes that it’s 50-50 between skills and coincidence. Arjen for example declares: “It’s mainly about skills.” While Nathalie insists on the importance of what you feel: “I don’t think we can talk about a coincidence, nor about skills. In my case it is just about feeling and intuition, I try to highlight things such as beauty or emotion. I love to highlight the small details in my pictures”.

Nathalie’s best advice: “Follow your intuitions, your feelings and emotions!”

Julia also confirms that your intuition is essential for capturing moments beside the circle. Your eyes as a vaulting photographer have to be everywhere since there usually is so much action in the arena!

4. The Equipment

A good lens is essential. Arjen van der Spek highlights it himself: “Buy a good lens, it has to be a lens for indoor photography. At least a f 2.8 or you’ll regret it.

Julia Schwartz
Julia Schwartz uses a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon D750, with a Nikkor 70-200 mm lens with a maximum aperture of f 2.8. She says: “Parameter and settings are very depending on the light of the vaulting hall, if possible use the lowest ISO.”
Nathalie Gautier
Nathalie Gautier uses a Canon 500D with a 150 mm lens.
Anthony Bro-Petit
Anthony Bro-Petit bought a Sony Alpha 7RII and uses lenses with a fixed focal length of 35 mm, 50 mm, 85 mm and 24-240 mm.
Arjen van der Spek
Arjen has a Canon 7D Mark II. He uses a 70-200 mm f 2.8 lens. He recommends a shutter speed of 1/250 sec, manual mode if possible. He adds: “ISO settings depend on the light conditions.”

Remember you can also rent your equipment for a special occasions as Anthony: “If I need specific lenses for a project, I rent material such as a red camera, a Canon C100, etc.”

But most important, he also warns that “you have to know all the settings of your camera”.

5. The Preparation

Do the photographers prepare themselves before a competition by watching the freestyles for example?

Some do, some don’t, but all of them agree that it would be ideal!

Julia:  “Sometimes at the beginning of the season, I do it.”

Nathalie: “I don’t prepare, but it’s true that it’s easier to take nice shots when you already know the freestyle in question.”

You should have an eye for the exercises the vaulters are performing, of course. Therefore it is a good idea to prepare before going to a competition. Check the starting lists and search for videos of the competitors. So you can watch their freestyles before the competition and know more or less which exercise might come next. This helps you to have the perfect timing when releasing the shutter.

Our experts revealed all the keys to succeed for you, so what are you waiting for? Follow Anthony’s most important advice:

“Take a camera and GO!”