Photographing a Great Bridge Day Moment

Aspiring photographers, you know your camera, but part of the skill of the craft is catching the right moment.

Bridge Day photo WV

What's the secret to getting the "perfect moment" shot at Bridge Day? As with anything, part of it's timing. But there are certain elements that can really add to your shot.

Here are a few things to look for through your lens that can help create a fantastic shot that captures the moment during a BASE jump at Bridge Day:


It's hard to get a bad BASE shot because people are leaping through the air. It's an action-filled extreme sports event. Even the graceful glides of an open parachute portray movement, and capturing that adds life to a photo. So, this one's easy. Just make sure to avoid blur!

High Contrast  & Focus

The subject of your photo needs to stand out. If you're trying to snap a star shot of a jumper, try for the ones with the chutes that stand out against the backdrop. Or, focus on them so that they're more sharp and clear. The objective is to make the subject of your photo as clear as possible, at-a-glance.


There are plenty of angles to shoot the event from, and some of the most contrasted are parachutes against open sky. But the New River Gorge has more interesting features to offer than clear sky. Being able to capture a high-contrast image against the bold fall colors of the mountain hills, or the complex steel angles of the New River Gorge Bridge itself, takes a new level of skill, adds a sense of place, and produces a more breathtaking shot.

Great faces & feelings

This is one we see a little less, but there are some great emotional expressions from jumpers— elation, fear, disbelief. Freezing those feelings in time tells a story everyone can relate to, one of freedom, trying something new or long-awaited reward.

And emotions can tell such a powerful story, they don't even need to coincide with action. Trepidation at the top, relief upon landing— the real shot is the one that showcases the people of Bridge Day, not just the event.

Among the crowds, kids are a wealth of wonder. Spectators can get just as tellingly excited as the jumpers, so don't forget to turn the camera around to the onlookers sometimes. There are some really powerful shots there, too.

What do you think makes a great Bridge Day photo?