My Next Step in the Wonderful World of Sports Photography

My journey through sports photography as been incredible. I started seriously about eight years ago with a goal of staying involved in sports. Previously, I was a coach. I coached pee wee football and Little League baseball, and then I also coached Middle School football. I love sports! I played football in high school and learned the love of sport from my dad many years ago. I stopped coaching primarily because I did not want to be that dad who could not let go of his own son. Besides, my son, James, already knew more about baseball than I did, so I knew he needed better coaches to help him advance when he was twelve. I still miss coaching to this day. However, I decided at that moment to pick up my camera and utilize my knowledge of the games to try and capture the games with my camera.

PV Baseball 2013-05-20-091

I was fortunate to have great training in my college days at Temple University. I even did a sports photography project as my final for our obligatory photo class. I believe the images I captured saved my grade. However, I would not re-discover this love of shooting sports until much later. Now, with coaching behind me, I became an amateur sports photographer. I started with our local high school baseball team, photographing their games, providing a slideshow of my action shots at their banquet, and creating photo collages for their seniors each year. This was a great learning experience for me and the head coach was very supportive. One of my photographs drew the attention of our local newspaper and they ran the image the next day along with the image their staff photographer submitted from the game. This was my first big breakthrough. Then a few weeks later, the newspaper’s photographer who was assigned to the high school championship baseball game was involved in a car accident when someone hit her. She could not cover the game, so they asked me. Amazingly, the underdog upset the favored team and my image took up over half the front page of the sports section the next day! This was another very fortunate break-through and now my endeavors into sports photography began to take off.

MVC Championship 2013-1213

I began to cover many high school football games for the newspaper, which I enjoy immensely! Just standing by the sidelines or beyond the endzone takes me back to my high school days when I played football. There is just something mighty special about Friday nights! In my work with the newspaper, I was asked one season to cover several of the local Division II college football games. I was thrilled to do so and quickly realized how much faster these games are compared to what I covered before as a sports photographer. The day after each game, the paper ran an image or two and I kept slowly progressing.



The following year I received a call on my cell phone from the university’s Sports Information Director asking if I would be interested in photographing three of their football games as a freelance sports photographer. Interested? Wild horses could not keep me away from this exciting opportunity! Right after covering these three games, I was offered a contract by the university to work with them covering all their sports. Amazing!

at Koehler Fieldhouse in East Stroudsburg on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Most recently, I approached a Women’s Golf publication to see if they might be interested in any of my work. As I said previously, I love sports. We worked out an agreement and now some of my golf photos are seeing the light of day, too. I learned a whole lot over the years and I am still learning something new every day. So, what is the next step in the wonderful world of sports photography for me? Well, I know I need to keep improving and learn more about how to consistently capture stunning and breath-taking photographs during each game. I also know I need to learn much more about the sports photography industry. So, I decided to sign up for the Summit Sports Photography Workshop in Denver, Colorado. I heard about this workshop before but a recent connection with Dave Black helped me bite the bullet and sign up. I am very excited to be taking this next step and it seems like the next logical step for me. As an added bonus, I decided to visit Yellowstone for the first time in my life for a week-and-a-half after the workshop. I am blessed to be doing what I am doing in sports photography. I am staying involved in sports and having the time of my life! One of the unexpected benefits of all this is meeting so many wonderful and interesting people. I can honestly say that my life is much richer and more fulfilling through these connections. Editors, coaches, players, athletic directors, media personnel, fellow photographers and so many more have blessed me. I have no idea where the next opportunity or twist will take me in sports photography, but I cannot wait to find out!

PV Baseball 2009-09-05-128

Little League All-Star Action

LL 2014-06-28-1171

Sports photography is my passion. There is nothing more challenging, and thrilling, than trying to capture the action on the field. Today, I had the opportunity to photograph the 9/10-year-old All Stars between Pocono Mountain East and West End.

LL 2014-06-28-1471

I really enjoy this age for baseball. The players are serious about the game and yet still want to learn the finer points of the game. They are plain down teachable! The games are fun to watch, too. Parents sit on the edge of their seat or pace back and forth like an expectant father in a maternity waiting room!

LL 2014-06-28-1632

No, these Little League All-Star games are not for the faint of heart! And my job is to capture the action on the field with my camera. It is a challenge I embrace and enjoy thoroughly! Today I carried three cameras at times because a lot was happening and a lot was expected of the sports photographer.

LL 2014-06-28-1711

Shooting sports is not only my passion, but I am learning it is one of my real talents in photography. I am not trying to brag; I am just learning more about myself and I am learning that of all the types of photography out there, sports photography is what I do the best. I believe my nine years of coaching Little League and three years of coaching Middle School football have a lot to do with this, too.

LL 2014-06-28-1864

Serving as a freelance stringer for the Pocono Record and the Easton Express-Times teaches me a lot, too! I don’t get it right on each and every shot, but I am getting more consistent at getting it right at every game. The task of a sports photographer is to capture the action of the players and tell the game’s story in our photographs. Knowing the game is essential and learning each player’s tendencies is crucial. For example, when you are looking down the barrel of your zoom lens through your viewfinder, can you predict when the batter will swing his bat? If not, you will most likely waste a lot of shots, and worse, you might miss some key moments. Learn to pay attention to minute details like the slight twitch of an arm muscle. This might be all you need to know to make the best next great sports photograph!

LL 2014-06-28-2126

 

Showing the Action in Sports Photography

I really like the challenge of capturing the action of a game with my camera. I always say that each game has a unique story to tell as it unfolds and it is our job to capture that action as sports photographers. It isn’t always easy and there are plenty of things that can go wrong, but there is something mighty special that happens when it all comes together!

Athletes try to put their best game on the field, so shouldn’t we sports photographers attempt to do the same thing, too? Paying attention to every play is a start, but I also think it is a mindset as well. I can tell when my mind starts to wander or when I am not quite in the right mindset during a game. I have to readjust my thinking and sometimes my attitude. The very next play could be the big one!

Capturing the action on the field is all about being ready, good planning and timing, and even a little luck along the way. It is definitely a challenge to tell the game’s story with our photography, but I enjoy and embrace this challenge wholeheartedly as a sports photographer.

Do you think these photographs show the action of the game? Do they tell the game story adequately? What do you think about these photos?

BB 2014-05-10-009

BB 2014-05-10-195

BB 2014-05-10-292

BB 2014-05-10-304

BB 2014-05-10-358

BB 2014-05-10-410

BB 2014-05-10-512

BB 2014-05-10-519

BB 2014-05-10-527