The Way I See It – Sports photos depend on the best shot I get, not the best player or being fair to all
Every year or two I feel like I need to write this column. When it come to my sports coverage photos, there is always someone out there who thinks someone doesn’t get their photo in the paper who should, that I should make sure and run a photo of every player on a team, or thinks someone’s photo is in too much.
My short answers are – “I don’t care, we run a team photo in the sports preview before every season, I don’t care.”
I do not run photos of specific individuals because of who they are, because I think they are great players, or just to get them into the paper. I look at all my photos as an enhancement of a story or to tell a story of their own. It doesn’t really matter to me who caught a pass, made a kill, shot a basket, won a match, ran the fastest or hit a great shot for photo purposes. Chances are that I didn’t get a photo of that circus catch or mondo block. If I did, chances are that the photo wasn’t sharp or the composition was all wrong and it doesn’t actually show the action.
If I did get that photo, it ran… that’s a no-brainer.
However, it doesn’t matter to me who is in the photo. I will NEVER care! For me it is all about having a clear photo and using the best pictures I have. I try to not use two photos of the same person in a single edition; which can be an issue sometimes as I may have a couple of very good photos of the same individual.
So why does it seem the same players are in pictures week after week and why do some players, even some “star” player rarely if ever get in?
I probably have a picture of every player on a team from every game I shoot. I generally shoot between 20 and 60 frames a contest. In the film days I was lucky to have 10 of 50 that were usable at a night football game, maybe double that for a basketball or volleyball game. With the digital age the cameras are better in low-light action situations now and the numbers are reversed; the majority are usable these days. Still, I only use 2 to 4 photos of any given contest, so it makes my job harder when it comes to picking the best ones to use.
Generally I will have more photos of the people who handle the ball the most but not always. That higher number of photos of a single individual game-after-game means a higher probability I will have a good photo of that player.
I have had situations where I really wanted to get a shot of a leading scorer or great running back because I hadn’t had one in for a while. It usually doesn’t work out well for me when I focus on a single individual, I usually end up with even fewer shots I like and still no great shot of that player. I have given up doing that because It is game shots I want and not an individual to begin with.
The hardest part for me is getting a photo of a great play, but having to critically look at it and decide if it is actually the best photo to use. I want to run it because I know exactly what happened, but sometimes it just isn’t a great photo composition-wise and I have several that are better in some way or another; so I will likely not use it.
Drives me crazy because I really do want to use it!
When it comes down to it I take a lot of photos in a game and I only use a couple of them. The best photo is they one I will use in the newspaper. The decision on which photos I use is based first on clarity; second on composition and third on the action it portrays. I do consider all three on every photo which means that a photo that isn’t the clearest one might run if I like the composition and the action; or a photo that doesn’t have the best action portrayal is used because it is really clear and has an interesting composition.
Still, I look for clarity first, then composition and finally action. The who isn’t even part of the equation!Posted: by OverlieP