Sports photography – the most challenging, yet the most rewarding genre of photography.
Sports photography is one of the toughest genres of photography where both the camera and photographer are tested to their maximum limits. A sports photographer is stretched with his abilities to concentrate, focus and stay attentive all the time, be it on the field or off the field.
In any sport, there is a continuous movement taking place, where the athletes on the field make sports photographing challenging. This eventually puts the photographer to the test. Skill set and features of both, the photographer and the camera are tested to limits. The agility of the cameraman and the flexibility of his equipment is at most necessary. Cameraman has to work on the field for long hours. He often spends ideal time waiting for “that wow moment”. “That perfect location”, “That on spot light” or “That accurate angle” is the differentiator between a winning shot and an ordinary picture. The cameraman has to plan and execute various aspects together with regard to the game and his assets, to achieve the desired shots of the entire game.
One of the most important aspects is keeping the camera shutter speed high. A faster shutter speed will help the photographer to freeze the moment and get that near to perfect shot without the motion being blurred. In today’s time, there are so many technological advancements that can be used by sports photographer. Photo finish can be to captured automatically. The moments which human eye cannot distinguish can be easily captured using these techniques.
Just imagine getting the perfect shot of the athlete at his/her winning first winning moment. For somebody who is having a look at that shot it may just be a photograph, but for that athlete, the same photograph speaks the story of his/her first achievement, or maybe the greatest achievement of their life.
Know your game
Every game has its own way of being played; it has its own set of rules and regulations. Detailed knowledge of your sport is vital because you need to know how people move and what looks good. It is impossible to make a pro sports image report without understanding the essence of what is happening. Most importantly, the photographer will have difficulty navigating – where best to stay and where, on the contrary, not allowed to stand.
As a sports photographer, the cameraman has to be an active learner, and should always be ready to encounter new experiences and try different strategies while shooting. The photographer is definitely going to commit some mistakes while capturing shots, but he/she should be capable of always learning from those mistakes and not consider them as their drawback.
As a sports photographer, it is the photographer’s responsibility to include the emotions, the ambiance and the complete activity in motion to call it a perfect shot. The probability of missing these aspects are high, but the moment you get it right counts as one of your achievement as a sports photographer, as well. However poor the lighting conditions may be, however poor the weather may be, you have to get it right. This is where your skills and the quality of your gear are put to test. Before stepping in the boots of being a sports photographer, it becomes essential for the photographer to study the rules and method of the game. To perfectly understand the different transitions and motions involved in it that would give him/her the perfect shots of the entire game. As a sports photographer the cameraman has to sharpen his skills, such as attentiveness, focus, concentration, etc. All the settings must become part of you muscle memory, the core, because, capturing fast-paced motions is definitely NOT a cake walk.
In recent years, the genre of sports photography has become vastly popular and competitive, the main reason being; the development in technology. Sports photography has a natural crossover with journalism, working for new sites and publications and progression in any of these avenues, is common.
A sports photographer is expected to be an expert in his proficiency. In order to acquire the game-winning or action shot, the photographer is required to imbibe all the essential skills of photography. The sports photographer is required to have great attention to every minute detail and they are also required to constantly furnish their photography skills. Being a sports photographer the cameraman should understand that there is merely anytime to think before capturing the shot. He/she should also make sure that there is no room for error. Once the moment is missed out by the photographer, it’s never coming back then. Every sports photographer has their own secret recipe and exclusive style of capturing pictures on field and off filed, but as salt is required in every dish to give it a taste, in a similar way every sports photographer has to have the following skill set-
What Skills/ Experience are needed to do the Job?
- Every photographer steeping into the genre of sports should have deep knowledge about various photography equipment.
- He/she should be well versed with the ability and strengths about the equipment put in use and should also know about ways to maintain the same.
- Being a sports photographer, the cameraman should possess good time management skills.
- The cameraman should have the ability of communicate effectively.
- The sports photographer should have really good knowledge about the game he/she is about to capture moments from.
What job can I get?
A sports photographer can be officially hired by one specific team as their photographer or he/she can act as a freelance sports photographer for various teams and games and can offer the same to magazines and newspapers for sale.
Being a sports photographer the cameraman will get an opportunity to be closely involved in the sports industry. This is considered to be one of the major benefits of capturing sports as well as the photographer gets the opportunity to travel around the globe. You become a part of a specific team or as an individual lead photographer.
Sports photography can many times feel like a tedious job and it is definitely one. They have to undergo tremendous pressure and stressful circumstances. The game winning or game changing shots, rendering the pictures within the deadline also adds up to the stress level of the photographer. The ability of having patience and being calm has to be included in the skillset of the photographer.
And then at the end we all know that all that matters is that ‘one perfect shot’, capturing those thrilling, WOW moments, where the secret of success as a sports photographer lies within.
What are the benefits of being a Sport Photographer?
The benefits are that you get to be involved very closely in the sport industry. You also get to do something you are very passionate about. You are also likely to get to travel all around the Country/ World in this industry.
What are the Drawbacks?
The hours are not set and will vary depending on where and what you are taking pictures of.
A camera will not make you a better photographer, but it can hold you back or set you free.
What do you shoot, and how do you shoot? Are you liberal or conservative with the shutter? Would you rather burst 3-5 shots per frame, or take a single shot? Do you shoot relatively static portraits, or do you have couples jump all over the place?
Do you hold the weight of the camera in your hands for long periods of time?
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