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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 30 Nov 2005 (Wednesday) 00:04
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Q&A Session with Gmen: Sports Photography

 
aam1234
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Nov 30, 2005 00:04 |  #1

If you have visited the sports section in this forum then there is no doubt that you’ve come across Gmen’s work. The first thing you will notice is the diversity of his work. One day Gavin will be shooting football matches, the next he will be chasing horses with his camera(s) in the tracks. Yet another day he will be capturing the action of a rugby game. You will also notice the quality of his work, which reflects the many years of experience he has in the field of sports photography.

Gavin was generous in agreeing to be the guest for this session, so if you have any question related to sports photography you can ask him here and he will be more than happy to answer it for you.

Thanks Gavin




  
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gmen
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Nov 30, 2005 02:45 |  #2

aam1234 wrote:
If you have visited the sports section in this forum then there is no doubt that you’ve come across Gmen’s work. The first thing you will notice is the diversity of his work. One day Gavin will be shooting football matches, the next he will be chasing horses with his camera(s) in the tracks. Yet another day he will be capturing the action of a rugby game. You will also notice the quality of his work, which reflects the many years of experience he has in the field of sports photography.

Gavin was generous in agreeing to be the guest for this session, so if you have any question related to sports photography you can ask him here and he will be more than happy to answer it for you.

Thanks Gavin

Thanks for the kind intro aam1234 ;) I was certainly chuffed to be asked to participate in this session.

I won't claim to be an expert on shooting all sports, but I'll do my best to answer any questions that arise about technique, equipment, access, ethics, etc. If I can't provide the definitive answer myself, I'll try to point you in the direction of a resource that can help.

My main experience lies in football (soccer :lol: ) photography, although as aam1234 mentions I have dabbled in numerous other sports as well, including boxing, horse racing, rugby and speedway.

I took my first sports pics about 20 years ago with a Canon AE1 and my trusty old 50mm f/1.8 lens. The camera outfit has changed a bit since then! I now shoot for a fairly diverse range of publications, including local (and sometimes national) newspapers, the Speedway Star and (recently) the Boxing News. I also provide photographic services for a number of sports clubs across the county of Essex - e.g. providing imagery for websites, matchday programmes and club merchandise.

My most recent footballing post in the sports forum can be seen here.

Cheers! ---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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aam1234
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Nov 30, 2005 08:36 |  #3

Some other work by Gavin: Rugby, and Hockey.

Edit: Finally found my personal favorite, horse racing.




  
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PhotosGuy
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Nov 30, 2005 09:13 |  #4

Great idea!!! I suggest that if anyone has a question, look at these links first & maybe save Gavin some repeat typing. ;)

American High School Football Question.
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=112265

AF Point selection for sports
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=112654

Team Photos -- Techniques and Results
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=112409

1D MKIIN - First Pics
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=112545

Another "help me what do I do thread" (Sports Flash indoors - Good stuff from Gavin)
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=113074

BIG thanks, Gavin!

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gmen
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Nov 30, 2005 09:19 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #5

PhotosGuy wrote:
Great idea!!! I suggest that if anyone has a question, look at these links first & maybe save Gavin some repeat typing. ;)

:lol: Thanks very much Frank. I'm more than happy to go over some of the old ground again if need be... it might make more sense second time round!

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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aam1234
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Nov 30, 2005 09:22 |  #6

Agree with Gavin there :)




  
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aam1234
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Nov 30, 2005 23:42 |  #7

Have a couple of questions for you Gavin:

- I believe you shoot manual. How do you manage with changes of light/weather.

- Do you shoot Raw or jpeg.


Thanks




  
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MTalley
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Dec 01, 2005 00:36 |  #8

With respect to the previous "ask the expert" threads on event and B/W photography, I'm looking forward to this thread. Now, if I can just find where I put my questions. :D

General question, though: Do you shoot freelance, work for any publications or photo agencies, or both?


 (external link)

  
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gmen
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Dec 01, 2005 01:57 as a reply to  @ aam1234's post |  #9

aam1234 wrote:
I believe you shoot manual. How do you manage with changes of light/weather.

Yep, I like to shoot in manual mode as far as possible. I think I'm a bit of a control freak in that regard ;)

I will generally take a base reading with my lightmeter, take a quick test shot and chimp the histogram. If need be I'll tweak the exposure slightly to make sure the histogram is nicely exposed to the right without clipping the main highlights.

For most action sports I will try to shoot at at least 1/1000s with the lens wide open - so I will choose the lowest ISO that gives me this reading.

If I'm shooting in the daytime and part of the playing area is in shade, I will repeat the process for the shaded area and keep that reading in mind. I will then change the exposure on the fly - there may be a two stop difference, so I may shoot at 1/4000s f/2.8 in the bright area and at 1/1000s f/2.8 in the shaded area.

I try to avoid the automatic modes as my experiences in Av, Tv and P have generally been disappointing. The problems arise with teams wearing different colour shirts (including nasty white ones :p ), the advertising hoardings around the ground, variable amounts of sky in the images, etc. I find that no matter what metering pattern I set up, the camera will always under or over-expose the best picture of the day :lol: and I don't have the patience with Photoshop to salvage the image!

If the light is constantly changing (e.g.. fast moving clouds on a windy day with the sun coming in and out unpredictably) then I will resort to Av mode, keeping the lens wide open and choosing an ISO to keep the shutter speed high enough when the sun is behind clouds. I will always be aiming to go back into manual exposure if the lighting settles down.

The other way I cope with this situation is to shoot into the sun. In these circumstances, the exposure when the sun is out and when the sun goes in is very similar. I will be overexposing by, say, two stops when the sun is out... then the sun goes in and the same exposure could well still apply. This puts me back into my 'comfort zone' and enables me to shoot manually again.

Shooting into the sun has other benefits as well - e.g. beautiful rim-lighting - but it's not for the faint-hearted ;)

If the light is simply dwindling, then I will habitually take meter readings as I go along, and dial up the ISO as the light fades. This is where the grass comes in handy - once I've got my base reading with the handheld meter, I can relate this to the grass :lol: so I simply fill the frame with grass and use that for the exposure setting.

Grass varies from pitch to pitch ;) At some grounds the grass will act as a perfect 18% grey card, at others I may need to be anywhere between +1/3 and +1 stop over the reading from the turf. For artificial pitches (e.g. hockey), the difference may be a little higher than that.

For indoor sports, the situation is a lot easier - and manual exposure is certainly the way to go. I'm sure we'll touch on that subject again later on.

Hmmmm. Hope that's the kind of answer you were looking for! I'm sure I'll think of some more info at a later date!

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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gmen
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Dec 01, 2005 02:14 |  #10

aam1234 wrote:
Do you shoot Raw or jpeg.

Ahhh... I'm a jpeg man much of the time.

There are several reasons why:

1. Post-processing time at an event. If I'm transmitting during or immediately after an event, I don't want to have to deal with large file sizes and conversions. Time is of the essence.

2. Maximising camera performance. Even the MkII can get a bit sluggish when shooting RAW images in a burst (particularly as you increase the ISO) - so you WILL miss the big celebration shot as the buffer WILL fill up when the last minute Cup Final winning goal goes in! :lol: This is also why I don't shoot RAW+jpeg.

3. Post-processing time after an event. I simply don't like post-processing I suppose... particularly waiting for RAW images to convert to jpegs! Having said that I do zero all the in-camera parameters (except contrast which is generally set to -1), so I will tweak the levels and add sharpening where required. I still like an unadulterated jpeg ;)

4. I can't think of a 4 at the moment - I'll come back to you on that one.

I'm not 100% against RAW - I can see the benefits but the workflow just doesn't always fit the timescales.

I do shoot RAW sometimes for indoor sports (as it gives me a little bit more control over colour temperature) and for things like team pictures and 'feature' shots (as a safety net!). Maybe if I invested in an ultra-fast laptop I'd shoot RAW a little more often ;)

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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gmen
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Dec 01, 2005 02:20 as a reply to  @ gmen's post |  #11

gmen wrote:
4. I can't think of a 4 at the moment - I'll come back to you on that one.

Oh yes... you don't fill up your memory cards quite as quickly.

I don't advocate using 4GB cards and squeezing a thousand or more jpeg images onto them - that's a recipe for disaster in my opinion (lost card, corrupt card). But I like to have a little bit of breathing space on my cards for the big celebration. You don't want to be changing a card in the heat of the moment... although this isn't my primary reason for not always shooting RAW.

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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gmen
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Dec 01, 2005 02:50 as a reply to  @ MTalley's post |  #12

MTalley wrote:
General question, though: Do you shoot freelance, work for any publications or photo agencies, or both?

Hi MTalley....

I am a freelancer, although much of my work is for a group of newspapers in Essex. They have several different editions and (virtually) no staff photographers that shoot sport, therefore they provide a good deal of work and variety.

I don't shoot 'exclusively' for them, so this opens up the opportunity to 'double up' and supply other publications where the opportunities arise. For example, if I'm covering a football match, I'll try to find an outlet for images of the away team - generally through their own local paper(s).

I also provide imagery for a number of different sports clubs, for their websites and programmes etc... as well as shooting pre-season team and individual shots.

It is possible to tout some of your images around the nationals as well... however, the agencies have most of the bases covered so the success rate is low for stuff like football.

I also regularly contribute to some 'specialist magazines' - e.g. the Speedway Star and Fair Game (a women's football magazine). I'm a photographer for a local authority Leisure Services department... and I do a fair bit of work the Essex County Football Association... and I have some images with a stock agency (Alamy). Variety is the spice of life :) and I like to keep my options open.

Some examples of my work in the press can be seen here: www.tgsphoto.co.uk/tea​rsheets (external link)

I've got two young children (1yr and 2yr), so the agency route isn't really for me at the moment as I'm trying to spend as much time with them as I can... Agency work can and will mean very unsociable hours and plenty of travelling. However, it's something for the future perhaps. The way things are going, everyone may be shooting for an agency in a few years time!

Hope that answers your question.

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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aam1234
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Dec 01, 2005 03:03 |  #13

Have some stupid questions if I may re: publications,

1- Since you shoot freelance mostly (as I understood), how do you obtain access to events.

2- Can you sell the same photo to different publications (would like you to maximize your income :D )




  
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gmen
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Dec 01, 2005 03:18 as a reply to  @ aam1234's post |  #14

aam1234 wrote:
Have some stupid questions if I may re: publications,

1- Since you shoot freelance mostly (as I understood), how do you obtain access to events.

2- Can you sell the same photo to different publications (would like you to maximize your income :D )

Not supid at all aam1234... the mysteries of freelancing :)

1. I rarely, if ever, shoot an event purely on spec. 99% of the time I will be there on behalf of a publication, and they will request accreditation on my behalf. Shooting certain levels of football in the UK, you also need the correct licence(s) and you are obliged to provide the relevant clubs with details of the publication(s) you are working for (other than the one that booked you). A lot of togs 'blag' their way into events, I'm afraid I'm not one of them ;)

2. In principle, yes you can - assuming you are not shooting 'exclusively' for a particular publication. If it's not an exclusive agreement then, ethically, it is still wise to wait until the publication that has booked you for the job has gone to press before touting the same images elsewhere. I have different 'arrangements' with different publications so the situation will vary from match to match... from time to time, I'll be providing four different papers with pics on a tight deadline, they will all be aware that they're not going to get 'exclusive' pics in that situation :lol:

It can be a minefield out there in newspaper/magazine land, so you need to keep your wits about you!

EDIT: I should add that it won't always be a publication that I am shooting for - sometimes an organisation (e.g. the County FA) or a club will request/provide the accreditation.

---- Gavin


TGSPhoto Editorial Sports Photography (external link) | TGS Blog (external link) | TGS Twitter (external link) | TGS Sportsshooter (external link) | TGS Tweets (external link) | TGS Facebook (external link) | LinkedIn (external link)

  
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OviV
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Dec 01, 2005 09:49 |  #15

Gavin,

You say you like to shoot JPEG due to post processing time. So do you do any post processing? Do you crop, sharpen, etc.? Or, do you simply let the publications do this work?

Thanks,
Ovi


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Q&A Session with Gmen: Sports Photography
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