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Reporting, photography at the same time

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by the_bank, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. the_bank

    the_bank New Member

    Hi guys,

    I'm a sports freelancer and I had a question for those who pull double-duty during high school sporting events.

    Recently, while freelancing for a web site, I've been asked by the editor to snap a few pictures on top of the normal duties of covering the game.

    My questions for those that do this: do you guys have any advice on I can get better at this?

    My first outing doing this last week was below average. I normally stay in the press box because I keep stats but while I did manage to keep track of the game flow on the sidelines, my pictures were not up to par. I took a lot of pre-snap plays and etc.

    The editor didn't say anything bad about the pictures but I would like to become better at taking pictures. Is there a certain time I should snap pictures during the game or just play it by ear? I'm afraid I will miss a key play here or there if I am fooling around w/ the camera.

    I use a digi camera with 8.0 megapixels.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    Anticipate the play. Keep the camera focused on key individuals. Get your shots early in the game, then you can do all the other bs. Good luck.
  3. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Actually, pre-snap may be your best bet if you don't have a camera with enough shutter speed to get action photos.

    The other thing you could do, and this is what my photog suggested when I took the point-and-shoot digital camera to an assignment, is take photos of celebration shots.

    When I took photos of an indoor football game, I ended up using a photo of the team's backup quarterback lined up under center above the story itself and one of the team's offensive coordinator talking to his quarterback on the rail.

    Taking photos with a story assignment is difficult work. Taking photos with a sports assignment is almost too difficult. It can be done, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it.
  4. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    I agree but these freaking slave drivers are making it become habit at a lot of places. It won't be long before they want you to edit, layout and sell ads too.
  5. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Note the bolded part of F-T's post. Back in the dark days of film/darkrooms, I usually tried to get celebration/react pics early in the game, so I knew I would have something usable. Then any action shots that came out well were a bonus.

    I agree with the others that it's tough to do both jobs well, especially in sports that move relatively fast (football, hockey, basketball), but it can be done. Good luck and you'll get better as you shoot more games.

    Also, I hope you're getting a little extra "bank" for taking the photos and writing the story, Bank.
  6. the_bank

    the_bank New Member

    Thanks for the tips and I'll keep in mind, the early game shots and celebratory ones as well!

    My camera has ok shutter speed but not to great.

    Drip, you're correct with the way the industry is shaping up. This is a new startup web site, so they want you to snap pictures and cover the event as well.

    I'll get $30 extra bucks for taking pics, so it's worth for me to do it.
  7. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    I'd concur with the shooting early, especially for football or anything where you're dealing with a setting sun.

    How do you get better? Same way as most anything else -- get your reps in. The more you shoot, the better you'll be able to anticipate and see potential shots. Otherwise, if your camera is up to it, follow the ball and let the action shots come to you.

    Oh, and make sure you're on good terms with your friendly neighborhood stat-keeper. Shooting, taking notes and keeping stats is a big ask, especially of a freelancer.
  8. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    If you camera lens has the capability for telephoto or you can get close to the players and coaches on the bench area, shoot some head-shoulder shots for file photos.

    Anticipate the play. If it's a dive or pass over the middle, you may not get much other than little people in a scrum. If you see a sweep, screen, pass, etc., at or inside the hash marks where you are then start snapping.
  9. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    I write and snap almost all the time (big league gigs excepted) and have little trouble doing both ... started seeing baseball games differently when I started parking myself at the end of the dugout instead of in the press box ... whole different perspective ... same with hockey ... much different watching it through a lens ... and having a camera in hand while trying to get the money shot has made many a dull game more interesting for me ... the only thing that suffers a bit is in the stat dept. (that being in h.s. football), but I featurize my gamers anyway, and the only stat I focus on is the final score ... most anybody on this board can write a 15" gamer in their sleep, anyway ... the big issue is having the right photo equipment ... as was mentioned, shutter speed is everything ... if it's outdoors under the lights and you can't get your shutter above 100, at least get a static shot (QB calling signals, head shot of the goal scorer) ... set your ISO as high as you can in low light situations and have some fun with it, you might actually like it ... I do, much more than I thought I would ...
  10. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I shoot and cover everything I go to. It takes some time but you'll get better at it.

    Here's some advice: Most sports are relatively easy (I.E. Field Hockey, Soccer, Tennis). The trick is shooting football and basketball.

    For football, I stand on the sidelines and shoot while noting just the yard line the ball is on and who passes/runs/catches the ball. I'm on a weekly deadline though so most times I have the time to go back and figure things like yards gained/lost and first downs out. If I was on a daily deadline, I'd shoot a bunch of shots in the first half, catch up at halftime and spend the second half doing just stat work.

    Basketball is another matter all together. I try to keep shots, points, rebounds, assists and turnovers and that's a tough task in addition to shooting so what I normally do is shoot pre-play (I.E. player dribbling the ball up the court/defending) or stuff like free throws where the stat keeping isn't hectic.

    Like others said though, this is something you need experience in in order to get it right. Good luck.
  11. Sneed

    Sneed Guest

    Yeah, football and basketball are hell to double up on. I got by at a weekly for awhile because I made the home team's state guy my best friend for awhile. But for daily deadlines, definitely get everything you can before halftime, catch up, and keep stats the rest of the way.
  12. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    I wanted to add that doing double duty isn't for everybody ... and it isn't something that Simon Legree should expect from everybody ... it's just that the challenge/opportunity came along for me at the right time, and that I have the chance to learn a new skill ...
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