Game-Day Portraits

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I do not pretend to be a perfect portrait photographer. My brother, Dave Shank, is much more of an expert than I am in portrait work. Sure, I learned a lot, especially from my brother, and I can definitely hold my own in this specific style of photography. I am still learning about the nuances of portrait photography. It isn’t even that I don’t like portraits, it’s just that I prefer to shoot the action of sports.

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I notice, however, that even during an action-packed game, there are opportunities that arise to capture what I call Game-Day Portraits. These are closeup portraits, hopefully portraying the emotions of the athletes along the sidelines, near the bench, or standing stationary on the field.

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I am a sports photographer but even I recognize that there is more to shoot than just the action. Sometimes, a fan or athlete watching the game or celebrating makes for a perfect photograph! We just need to keep our eyes open and be willing to keep shooting after the action subsides. One thing I notice at some games is the interaction and conversations with fellow photographers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I talk as much or more than most. However, during a game, I try to keep this to a minimum. My job is not to just snap one or two photos and then say I captured the game. No, I much prefer to capture as many highlights of each game as possible. So, I do not have the luxury of engaging in long conversations during the game. This has to wait for another time, and believe me, I make up for it after a game and throughout the week. During a game, however, I will have my game-face on and pay attention to everything I can see in front of, beside, and even behind me. The more attention we pay to the moment, the more chance we have of capturing the moment!

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