Just in time for the spring/summer sports seasons we have collected some excellent sport marketing and photography tips/tricks from our SmugMug photographers for you to enjoy!
“I’ve been asked to lecture to several local suburban camera clubs lately…on a variety of subjects. Latest topics include sports photography, celestial photography and HDR. My blog has been a great tool for attendees to get a review of what we covered. Then their drawn into my site and look at my other work.
Each of these amateurs has a variety of friends. Just got a new job shooting a Crossfit competition which was a referral from the talk/blog.”
– Thomas Snitzer (http://www.snitzerphotography.com/)
“I would encourage everyone to use is cold calling/emailing and blogging. I have found both to be successful especially when used together. Do the cold calling, get the jobs, and then blog about it. I have been able to make relationships after my first job I booked with a new client and then had repeat business over the years. By utilizing blogging I have had similar clients find my work and book me for similar jobs. With blogging you have to remember to brand yourself by showing the work that you want to be known for and blog the jobs you want more of.”
– Tim Fuller (http://timfullerphotography.com/blog)
“I promote our photography by using social media – especially Facebook and LinkdIn – changing profile pics often and making slideshows…”
– Roger Owens (http://www.rko.photography)
“We love working with athletes. One of our favorite athletic sessions is our banner sessions. The strongest element when shooting the banners is the lighting. We have several lighting styles that we use for the various banner designs. The kids have so much fun at the sessions and are excited to see what the end result will be. We shoot each player individually and composite them together with their choice of banner design. It is a ton of work but is always worth it. They are so proud to hang that 4’x8’ banner at tournaments and games. It helps intimidate the other teams and those huge banners are great exposure for our studio.”
– Cindi Jones (http://www.cindijonesphotography.com)
“When it comes to sports photography it is really important to make sure and have the proper settings on your camera to achieve the desired result. When talking about photographing Mixed Martial Arts you need a fast shutter speed and high ISO to really create the best images of these modern day gladiators in action. Lighting is not always perfect in most MMA venues so fast lenses with a fairly open aperture will be critical. Then make sure you don’t blink as a awesome moment can happen at any second so be ready!”
– Marcello Rostagni (http://www.marcellorostagni.com/)
“For horse competitions you need to memorize the jumping course and focus on the approach to the fence. Helps if you have had experience riding but watching a lot helps. Cycling …circuit racing ….need to have a decent aperture because they come around so fast. Event cycling is easier but you get only one shot. Find a location on the course where you can get a front on view….makes the capture a little easier. Surfing….well you need the longest lens and tripod….have the surfer wear a color otherwise you can’t really spot them very well if they are out there in the distance. ”
– Bonnie Stewart (http://www.inspiredbonnie.com)
“1) Know the sport you are shooting very well. It allows you to get the angles and freeze the action at just the right time. Your biggest competitor is people shooting with their own DSLR who feel their shots are “good enough” so your images really need to stand out.2) Promote digital downloads. The profit margins are much higher and it’s instant gratification for the customer. People tend to put off ordering photographs from an event because it takes time.3) Turn on social sharing tools and encourage people to use them. It’s a great tool for people to share and see your work and, in my experience, doesn’t cannibalize sales but, instead, leads to referrals.”
– Marcel Santiz (http://www.lumineerphotography.com/)
“My tips for sports are to have a Nikon 700 because can shoot full frame and at least 6-7 fps and is great in all light conditions, especially low light. I use the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, for several reasons, it is really fast, the images are very sharp and it is great in low light for night games. For day events I also use the AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II which increases my focal length by 70%.I may shoot 1000 images at a nighttime football game under the lights, most of the high schools that I shoot at lighting systems are not the best so it can be very challenging, so the more I take the better chances for that great shot. I also use light room to edit all of my images before I publish them. Lightroom is great because it is easy to use and easy to make minor or major edits to images.Another tip is to try and find a great spot but try to move around. For ski racing I try to position myself in a place where I can get multiple shots at multiple gates so you can see the progression of a run with the final image that would be close up as the shin a gate. In football and lacrosse I try to follow the play as it moves up and down the field and try to shoot from spots where the stands are not in the background (to reduce the background noise).”
– Ann Antes (http://photosbyannantes.smugmug.com/)
“Make sure you know about the sport that you are photographing so that you’ll be ready to capture those unique moments.”
– Lisa J. Love (http://www.lisajlove.com/)
“As for a tip…work to establish positive relationships with Athletic
Directors, Booster Clubs (presidents), and referee’s. The effort pays
dividends over time with team/player access and brand visibility, all of
which is invaluable in building the business.”
1. When shooting youth sports, try to shoot at their eye level by crouching or kneeling on the ground. Shooting from an Adults eye level shows the top of every kids head and not their face and emotions during the game.2. If you are not familiar with how the game is played,( i.e.: Lacrosse, Field Hockey etc) watch a few games first before you pull out the camera. Walk around the field, look at different angles and find out where you will have access when you do bring your camera. Choose the appropriate lens length that will allow you to get the best shots, You don’t want to bring a wide angle lens to a game if you are 40 yards way from the action.In many cases the best shots come from the ends of the field, not the sidelines. You get to see their faces running to a goal or end zone, but stay far back as possible to avoid being hit with the ball!!
3. If access is the field or court is difficult, ask a coach ahead of time for access to the field in a specific area. Let them know you will share a few pictures with them. Understand that many schools will not give you access due to insurance concerns in case you are hit or injured. If you do get permission to be near the field, make friends with the referee’s and let them know the school allows you to be there.
4. Shooting indoor sports can be the most difficult due to poor lighting, tight quarters and the need for a fast (low-light) lens or a flash. Be careful using flash, they may frown on it because it can affect the players. Buying a fast lens that allows you to open the aperture to 2.8 or lower ( 1.8, 1.4 etc) will be your best bet. You will need to maintain a fairly quick shutter speed of at least 200 or above to stop most action. Using a good lens/flash combination may give you the best results without having to break the bank.
-Dan Massa (http://www.danmassaphotography.com)
“Shooting Rodeos and other Livestock events,
With any sports events, there are situations and shooting conditions that every photographer has to deal with and adapt. Shooting Rodeos and other livestock events include these as well as others. My intent with this writing is to address some of these and my suggestions for achieving the best results. I hope that regardless of what type of sporting event that you shoot that you will be able to use some of these suggestions to benefit your results.
First: Be knowledgeable about the event. This will allow you to “think ahead” and be prepared for the action and any changing situations that may occur. As for myself, I have been fortunate enough to grow up being involved in the rodeo / equine world . As such, I can use this knowledge to be able to anticipate the situations and be prepared .
Second: Get to the location as early as possible. This will allow you time to meet with the person(s) in charge and get information regarding your shooting location as well as, any rules that you need to abide by. As for establishing the shooting location at rodeos, Fortunately, most rodeos will allow you the freedom to move around to different locations as long as you don’t interfere with the action. Therefore, getting to the event early will allow you to walk the arena and find which locations and angles will provide you with the best shots. As for any rules that apply, a good example of this is the Rodeo “dress code”. All professional rodeos abide by a very strict dress code. This includes western style jeans, long sleeved shirts, boots and cowboy hat. Without these you will not be allowed on the arena floor and will have to shoot from the grandstands with the spectators.
Third: Be prepared for the changes that you will need to make during the event. At rodeos, you will have to be aware of the different types of events that will occur. These events are divided into two categories ( Rough stock vs. Timed events ). Each of these will require you to be at different locations within the arena and will include different types of action and continually changing direction. To help be prepared for this, I suggest using two different camera with different lenses ( telephoto and wide angle ) and have the settings adjusted for each. Doing this will allow you to simply and quickly change cameras vs. having to change lenses and settings. Also, it is important to know that each event will change and occur with almost no time between. So , it is essential that you be where you need to be in advance and be ready. As for myself, I am constantly moving from one end of the arena to the other and to each side throughout the performance in order to get the best shots of every event.
Lastly: Look for the “unseen picture” . Remember that there are photo opportunities everywhere. So, learn how to use your “artistic eye” to find these. I realize that the action is what you are concerned with. However, if you only focus on these you will miss several related subjects that can give you some wonderful photos. As for myself, these can be doing a close-up of someone’s elaborately “tooled” saddle , the spurs on someone’s boots , the competitors as they are preparing for their event, etc. Although I am most concerned with the action shots, it is often these “unseen” shots that are the favorites of myself and others.
I hope that you have found these suggestions helpful to your situation. However, the most important suggestion is to make the event work to your advantage and have fun.”
– Kenny Stone (www.kennystonephotography.com)
“I like looking at other sports photographers work to get ideas for different angles and experiences to capture.” – Kristen (http://www.sportshotsbykristen.com/)