WHY SHOULD I BOOK A SPORTS PHOTOSHOOT?
There’s so many reasons why you should book a sports photography shoot. Here’s 3…
- Brand building – When you’re looking to forge a career as a professional sportsperson, your visuals have to match. Pro golfers have to show off their innate precision, rugby players, their tactical use of brute force and seasoned table tennis players, their lightning quick reactions. Traits that if captured through a photograph can work wonders for advertising and PR.
- Making memories – Be you a solo sportsperson or part of a team, sports photography works well for capturing those moments that you don’t want to forget. Photograph successes like scoring the winning goal, making that final jump shot or hitting that lucky ground stroke that goes on to win you the match, and you’ll have the perfect visual trophy cabinet.
- Documenting Progress – For teams especially, having a photographic commentary of a sports event can be an incredibly useful tool for coaching. By documenting the key moments of a match or game, players can look back first hand and see what they got right and where they could improve. Think of me as a second referee, only I’m equipped with photographic evidence.
WHAT HAPPENS ON A SPORTS PHOTOSHOOT?
This all depends what type of sports photography you’re after.
If you’re after individual headshots or full squad shots then the shoot can play out one of two ways. We can either take your shoot to the studio and get these on a coloured background, or catch you or your team in their natural environment: football ground, cricket ground, golf course etc.
Personally I’d go for the latter, especially if you’re after full squad shots, as not only is it more personal to your team, but it also allows me to play around with more angles and shoot from afar – a must for big squads!
Whereas if you’re after shots of you or your team playing the sport, I’ll come to you. If it’s football or rugby you’ll see me darting up and down the sidelines, boxing and I’ll be snapping outside the ring and golf I’ll be crouched down as you tee off to catch you in full swing.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY?
If you know the date when you’ll be needing your sports photography shoot, then the answer to this is ‘now’ – let me know! But even if you don’t have a exact date, I’d still advise notifying me of roughly when you’re looking to book. That way I can let you know what space I have available, which may be useful when finalising a date for your event.
Booking 12 weeks in advance is my usual advice, especially if you’re after a certain date or time. But that’s not to say that last minute bookings are impossible – in some cases they can fit in rather well. Only I wouldn’t rely on this being the case as I don’t like to disappoint.
SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Sports photography is a rather broad term - what sports do you cover?
Unlike some photographers, I don’t have set sports that I cover. I’m open to fast-paced games like rugby and boxing just as much as I’m open to slightly more leisurely activities like golf or croquet. I take this approach for two very good reasons…
1 – I haven’t yet come across a sport I don’t enjoy photographing, so if you ask me it seems silly to pick and choose.
2 – While sports differ, the core skills required from me, the photographer, are much the same. Be in the right place at the right time.
What styles of sports photography do you shoot?
While sports photography is pretty much what it says on the tin, it comes in various styles, depending on it’s usage; sports shots can be used for promotions, branding, PR and much more. So before you book, it’s important you understand the main three…
Squad shots – Shots of your entire team usually taken to publicise new members or show off a fresh kit. These are often taken at least yearly and are common not just at a professional level, but also at universities and colleges too.
Action shots – These are shots of you actually playing your sport. But, not only are they the hardest of the three to catch, they’re also what 99% of us think of when someone says ‘sports photography’.
Portfolio shots – A mixture of posed and candid images that are designed to publicise you, your brand or your players. Shots like these are perfect for advertising or PR coverage.
The biggest sporting even you’ve covered - what is it?
The biggest sporting events I’ve covered so far have been in rugby.
I’ve previously photographed Tommy Makinson, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Adrian Morley at the Rugby League R L I F Golden Boot Award Ceremony. I’ve also captured Jamie Jones Buchanan, Neil Holding and Eorl Crabtree at the Rugby League Lions Lunch.
What’s your favourite sport to cover, and why?
Don’t do this to me – that’s a really hard question! I’m yet to come across a sport that I don’t enjoy photographing, but if I was forced to choose I’d say is either cricket or football. Probably cricket.
The one thing I do favour are fast paced sports as you’ve always got to be on your toes and quick to predict how the game will unfold. But that’s not to say slower paced sports aren’t my thing – they’re just different. They allow you to play around with angles and achieve a slightly more posed shot.
Will the quality of my sports photography suffer because of the weather?
While the weather can influence the atmosphere of your photography, the quality won’t be affected. If anything you can achieve some the best sports photography when conditions are wet or foggy. A scrum or sliding tackle in the mud for instance.
But it’s worth noting that in most cases, sports are held either inside a building or a stadium, so the weather doesn’t actually that much of an affect. And if they are held outside and the heaven suddenly open, nine out of ten sports would be postponed anyway.
The only instance where weather could have an impact the quality would be if you’re planning to take some squad shots outside.
What’s the purpose of sports photography?
The purpose of sports photography is to capture you or your team in the best light. This could be by catching the action as it unfolds or photographing an emotionally-charged celebration after a big win. Moments that when caught on camera can be used for advertising and PR to build awareness of you, your team and an overall brand.
What do you mean by sports photography?
Sports photography means different things to different photographers. While in essence it means, much as it sounds, photographing you playing sport, there’s a lot more to this kooky art than meets the eye.
It’s catching you in the moment, raw, no filters or fancy poses. It’s capturing the ups and downs – the moments that shape your career as a sportsperson. It’s progress.
Photograph a team or sportsperson for a long time and it’s hard not to become attached. Witnessing their progress first hand behind the lens is incredibly moving, and I’m not even the soppy type!
Good sports photographers get to the heart of the action - how do you do this?
With me it’s not so much getting to the heart of the action but more seeing the action before it unfolds. You could say I have a predictive sixth sense; in most cases I can see the action unfolding before it’s happened, which is useful when your job is catching moments.
I’ve debated it for a long while and concluded that this instinctive nouse must have stemmed from my childhood. All my life I’ve been around sports, from rounders and netball, to swimming, football and even darts.