Profile

Jaime de Diego

A stunt plane and a motorbike race towards the camera on a runway in Casarrubios, Spain, taken by Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego on a Canon EOS-1D X.
Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego says shooting this race between a motorcycle and a stunt plane was one of his toughest assignments. "It was strange, but fun at the same time. I had to keep absolutely still despite a plane and a motorbike racing towards me. I couldn't move an inch. I've often heard that sports photographers are a bit crazy, but I think the only thing that matters to us is getting that perfect shot," he says. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM) at 1/1000 sec, f/13 and ISO800. © Jaime de Diego

Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego is one of Spain's greatest action photographers, with over 15 years' experience working for some of the world's best-known brands and publishers.

Jaime's work is so valued that many prestigious companies now rely on his photographic talents to take their products to the next level. He has shot campaigns for high-end brands such as Adidas, Nike, BMW, Triumph, Under Armour, New Balance and Red Bull, and photographed athletes including sky runner Kílian Jornet Burgada, tennis ace Garbiñe Muguruza Blanco and champion motorcycle racer Marc Márquez.

Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego.

Location: Spain

Specialist areas: Sport

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Jaime kicked off his career at the Motorpress Ibérica publishing house shooting extreme sports and action images. He has covered everything from motorsport and mountaineering to cycling and running, with his work appearing regularly in a host of respected sports magazines, including Sportlife, Runner's World and Men's Health, as well as major titles in the motorcycle sector.

Recently, he has focused more on advertising and lifestyle. While sport and action photography is all about capturing a spectacular, decisive moment, lifestyle photography is more concerned with communicating a message and evoking a mood. The quick-fire world of extreme sports and the slower pace of advertising might seem like polar opposites, but Jaime has found it technically easy to move towards a different style of photography.

To be a success in both disciplines still requires an understanding of light, whether it's natural or artificial, and Jaime is well known for the technical complexity of his flash work – so much so, his colleagues refer to him as 'flashman'.

A BMX rider cycles through the supports of a bridge in Madrid, Spain, taken by Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego on a Canon EOS-1D Mark II.
A BMX rider cycles through the supports of a bridge in Madrid. "Since the first time I saw this bridge, I knew that someday I would have to take a picture there. I just had to find a crazy rider and my adventure was done," says Jaime. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/250 sec, f/9 and ISO320. © Jaime de Diego
Trail runner Kílian Jornet Burgada sprints in front of a Norwegian mountain at sunset, taken by Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
Kílian Jornet Burgada sprints across a Norwegian field at sunset. "It's always been a pleasure to work with Kílian. In this case, I wanted to get the last light of the sun before it hid behind the mountain. I remember we had to move quickly and that we only had one chance to shoot it," Jaime says. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 1/5000 sec, f/4.5 and ISO400. © Jaime de Diego

Jaime believes in becoming a 'complete' photographer, exposing yourself to a wide visual culture so that you have the skills and reference points to draw upon when pre-visualising photographs. Jaime is known for his meticulous planning: he says one of the most important things to get right from the start is to know how and where the final image is going to be used, as the compositions and technical requirements of magazines, news and commercial clients are all different.

Jaime has published two books, Domina tu Cámara (Master your Camera, 2013) and Domina el Modo Vídeo de tu Cámara Reflex (Master your Reflex Camera's Video Mode, 2014). Together, they have sold almost 20,000 copies in Spain.

Jaime has also developed his own online academy, Tips4Pics, which has taught photography skills to more than 1,000 people since its launch. He is also a regular speaker at events and festivals, and has shared his passion for photography all over Spain.

The wheels of motocross rider Mattias Nilsson's bike kick up the dirt during a race in Segovia, Spain, taken by Canon Ambassador Jaime de Diego on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
Professional motocross rider Mattias Nilsson kicks up the dirt in Segovia, Spain. "Sport photography gives you some great moments," says Jaime. "But the main problem is that you often forget how close you are to the action…" Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 1/5000 sec, f/5 and ISO800. © Jaime de Diego

How do you give your pictures their distinctive look?

"The framing and the light are two features that make my photographs recognisable. I always like to get images with high contrast, a lot of difference between light and shadow, and usually with extreme or striking action."


How important is location for your type of work?

"It's one of the most important things. Normally while I'm driving, or when I visit any place, I'm picking out potential spots, observing the light there, and working out possible camera shots. You never know what will you need for your next session."


Do you prefer shooting to a client brief or coming up with your own ideas?

"It's very important to work as a team – I'm a normal, humble photographer, not a rock star! So, if the client has a concept in mind, it's necessary to listen, advise about the shooting process and see if their idea will translate well. Sometimes the creative team hasn't developed a concept, and in this situation I'm free to try my ideas."


What has been your toughest assignment?

"I did a shoot for Fuel Magazine in collaboration with Red Bull. It consisted of a competition between a stunt plane and a motorcycle, and there was no room for error. In this kind of job you must decide the location, the time of day you need to shoot, the lenses you will use and take care of even the smallest detail. There are no second chances."


What advice would you offer budding sports photographers?

"From table tennis to freestyle BMXing, all sports have decisive moments, so the first thing to do is to know the sport's rules, its tricks and the best position to place yourself in. [The sports I shoot] all suit broadly similar photographic techniques, but having a deep knowledge of each sport will allow you to get the best image.

One Thing I Know
Jaime de Diego

"The first step to blending artificial and natural light is really understanding how your Canon Speedlite camera flash works: what is its colour temperature and how will it look when mixed with the light at sunrise, noon or sunset? What synchronisation time do you need to use? How will you get the Speedlite off the camera? If you're fortunate to be using a radio-controlled Speedlite then the Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT will give you complete freedom when it comes to separating flash and camera."

Jaime de Diego's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Jaime de Diego's kitbag containing Canon cameras and lenses.

Cameras

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Delivering high-sensitivity performance reducing noise in both high and low ISO speeds, this camera produces images of a beautifully high quality. "The ideal camera for me," says Jaime. "A rigid and robust body, with a high shooting speed, connectivity and more than enough resolution for any job."

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Trusted by the pros, tough and yet relatively light, the EOS 5D Mark IV is ideal for stills or video – making it great for reportage. "It delivers sharp, high-resolution pictures and its weight makes it very easy to use," says Jaime.

Lenses

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Lightweight, robust and equipped with a four-stop Image Stabiliser, this lens is ideal for action photography. "This is the lens that I use the most – we are inseparable," says Jaime. "The build quality, sharpness and autofocus make it an essential."

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

A favourite with professional photographers: fast, flexible and built for any assignment. "I'd recommend this lens for any photograph where you want a shallow depth of field or a tighter angle in composition, when you want to be far from the subjects you are going to shoot, or need fast autofocus and sharpness," he says.

Accessories

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Usable off-camera or in its hotshoe, this flash gives you the versatility you need to take complete control of your lighting. "A light, portable flashgun allows you to take your creative lighting to the next level," says Jaime.

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