Getting “THAT” Shot

Hey Everyone,

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend I know I did (Yes I’m aware it’s now Wednesday!), and it actually turned out to be a busy one. For anyone who follows sports might know of a guy who used to play for the Seattle SuperSonics before they were taken away by a crappy owner. His name was Kevin Durant.

Well a friend and fellow photographer of mine named Tara Brown hit me up Saturday night and offered me to go shoot with her at the Jamal Crawford Pro Am. After I said sure, she told me that Durant was going to be playing, this is the first time he has been back to Seattle since the Sonics Left.

Needless to say the place packed out with basketball fans to watch Kevin Durant and other NBA stars come out and play.

This brings me to my latest blog, how to get “THAT” Shot. I’m focusing this topic on action sports, but you could apply it to almost any niche. As of late I’ve been shooting more, and more action sports, even though it’s not something I really saw myself doing much of. I will say it has been fun though, and it has it’s own sets of challenges. Personally I still love doing sports portraits, composites, and learning advertising/conceptual work. With that said I’ve really been getting back into doing Action Sports.

I won’t lie it helps having a few connections and some passes I’ve gotten with those connections to finally be able to get up close and personal with the action of sports.

One of the things I’ve noticed since shooting action stuff, is most people are shooting with the fastest equipment. I’m able to shoot with a decent body and a couple fast lenses. But most people I’ve meet are shooting with a D4 and any top line fast Nikon Lens. But to be honest the gear is nice and I’m sure it helps, understanding the basics of the sport you’re shooting and as almost every sports photographer you will meet says, having a little luck on your side, you can capture “That” shot.

I started out doing baseball, and overall it’s been an anticipation thing, but you always should be on the look out because it is one of the most dangerous sports to photograph, a foul ball could ruin your day. For me I’ve tried to focus on different parts of the game depending where I am shooting. I’ll focus on certain bases and try and think where a ball will be hit depending on if the batter bats left, or right. Most of it is just trying to think ahead of what might happen, and hoping for a good shot. Though personally I don’t feel I have any shots that are “amazing” I do feel I’ve gotten some pretty good shots.

For Basketball it was really crazy I actually shot a lot more, because there is so much action, trying to get the expressions, and then trying to get those money shots like dunks, or someone getting rejected during a jump shot. I learned a lot, and needless to say probably have about 990 out of a 1,000 images that probably suck or will just go into the archive never to be viewed.

Another challenge when photographing action sports is truly picking your best images and really narrowing down the images you have to edit. It can be hard to really narrow it down, but usually less is better. I won’t lie I’m still learning this one myself. I usually try and do this in two parts. The first part is to go through and just get rid of every blurry, and not sharp image. Depending on what type of sport you are shooting this could be a lot, or it could be a little. After I do my first edit, then I’ll go through and see what images, I have taken that look identical. and try and compare and pick out the best ones. Then delete accordingly. For myself I still end up with a good amount of images, but I only try and pick 10-20 of my favorites and edit them to show as work.

This type of thinking almost works with anything you shoot though, it may be sports, it may be landscapes. The one thing you want to try and do is just make sure you got the shot you want. You don’t need 300 of the same shot clogging your hard drive space.

If you have a desire to go out and shoot sports, then try and get as much time out there photographing, the same rules apply for shooting sports. The more you are out there shooting and going over your images with tough criticism, the more time you are researching the photos you like and practicing those techniques, the better you will become. If you are looking for good inspiration for action shots, check out the AP Images, or Getty Site, also get involved in the online communities. Google+ has a good community called “Sports Shooters” which has a lot of good sports photographers you can check out and learn from. The good thing about Google+ is you can see all the details to each shot, like ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. This will help you when you are looking to get your next sports shot.

Until Next Time



*If you want to know more about Jeremy’s work check him out at or follow him on twitter