“BASEBALL IS LIKE CHURCH. MANY ATTEND FEW UNDERSTAND.”
IT’S WHERE THE BALL ISN’T
First, let me lead-off this discussion with a disclaimer.
The following are my observations, and not those necessarily of my employer; current ,nor former colleagues. Even Emmy my cat has little stake in this other than a current paycheck keeps her in litter.
It is my firm belief that Sports is NEWS and should be covered visually as if one was writing the game story.
For the visual reporter, your work starts the moment that you receive an assignment for game coverage and not the few hours before setting up in the well or press area.
You now have a laptop, electronic tablet and most important, a smartphone. Show that your smarter than your phone and use that technology to do your homework on those involved in the NEWS event you are about to cover.
Example: Ozzie Guillen returns to coach the Mariners after a five-game suspension Tuesday night. What was the story of the night?
Q. How many images of protestors outside the stadium moved on the wires prior to the game? A. 1
Q. How many images of Ozzie AFTER the game began moved from the dugout, etc. by the 5th inning? A. 1 A vertical that had little-to-no use on the web; mobile or even print. Understand your market, everything you do has a “Return on Investment” to both you and your employer. Every minute is a deadline on the web.
Photographers did a very nice job of covering Ozzie being interviewed in the dugout prior to the game … then it was back to the game.
A game that no one will remember for the score.
More images will be used the day after and over the following weeks of Ozzie’s return over game action. What is your market?
If you have a Kobe injured and on the bench…record it for news value.
If you transmit three photos of the cheerleaders before sending horizontal action on deadline (yes this happend a few days ago). We need to discuss news value?
Elements of Sports coverage to act as a guide, If you think the last element should be the first then we might see a brighter future.
Peak action / Telling reaction
Don’t settle for the obvious
Marriage between action and story
Pay attention / Watch the edges!
Vary your position
Know the sport!
Time to clean the litter box.
So you’re a sports photographer and proud of it.
We’ll I’m here to say that I’m just one of many photo editors proud of you and appreciate your dedication and visual talents in bringing your awesome images to wire services; web and print publications.
I’m new to the job, but the job is not new to me.
If you are about to make the leap to the proud; the few the sometimes forgotten here are five things to think about while on assignment.
1. We live very much in a digital age where time is king which spans a twenty-four hour news cycle. That wonderful image that you have in the second quarter of the game is going to be overshadowed by someone who sent a lesser image 10 minutes before you hit send. Get into the mind-set that every quarter, every half, every period is your deadline. Understand that there is a market out there for the FIRST image; understand there is a market out there for pre-game images. Be a story-teller!
2. Once you step into that arena of coverage; EVERYTHING is a valued image that may have an economic impact for you and your client.
That helmet sitting on grass near the sidelines: that sports drink bottle on the bench; those player-filled sports shoes in the rain, snow, mud. The kids playing a sandlot game at the corner field.
This is a pop-culture society that places a value on still images. It’s not enough to know your market…you need to know where the future is heading in your market.
3. Don’t stop shooting when the game clock shows no time left. Make sure you tell the final story of both the winners and the losers. Follow-up stories need images to help tell those stories that may run days later. Although you are covering an event; you are really covering athletes and their emotions. Those images have value for days, months, years to come.
4. Don’t short-change the technical. Make sure that your camera sensors are clean; make sure you have a solid white-balance; make sure you have the correct time stamp on all cameras and computers you use, make sure your images are in focus! Take pride in the professional and correct cutlines you provide.
5. Above all be professional; be humble: be proud in the quality of work you produce and learn as much as you can from those that came before you.
One needs to understand the distinction between style and a technique.
Style is a distinctive feature of artistic expression or execution of an image.
Technique however is the fundamentals of how that expression is derived.
A technique may help form a person’s style but it is only one component.
It is only through trying limitless techniques that a photographer, if he or
she is fortunate, they will develop a style seen in their work.
I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with Jim Rapinoe today.
Jim is the father of Megan Rapinoe a midfielder with the US Women’s National Soccer Team who competed against Japan for the World Cup.
It may have been one of the most exciting matches in women’s soccer that ended regulation in a 2-2 tie and ended with a 3-1 victory for Japan in the final shoot-out.
There is something about sharing time in front of a major sporting event with a father of an athlete where you truly get a sense of what makes some achieve at a higher level.
Jim for the most part seems like a very quiet guy for a contractor and he wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to family. It also reflects in his eyes when he talks about his twin daughters Megan and Rachael playing soccer in the field across from the street from the house with the family dog as youngsters.
I’m sure his daughter was just as gracious in defeat today because she is a Rapinoe.
“I told Megan not to do this to me anymore.” he said speaking of the close match with a glimmer of a smile.
“This was not just a win for the Japanese players. They were playing for something bigger, for a country that really needed it after a tough year.”
Gracious in defeat because he is a Rapinoe.