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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Portraits & Headshots

If you had predicted that I would some day be photographing portraits and headshots I would not have ever believed you. Funny how our children bring us into things we never even dreamed of doing!

Our daughter, Lydia, is very much into musicals, singing, acting, dancing, and performing. She sings in our church, performs in many community plays and musicals and does the same in her school. Just as our son, James, gives me opportunities to photograph baseball games, Lydia gives me the privilege of photographing plays and musicals. Moreover, she sometimes needs a headshot for an audition and enjoys sitting in as my model as I learn how to do this more effectively.

Headshots and portraits were never high up on my list of photographic interests until Lydia started with all of this. Now I am finding the challenge to be invigorating and rewarding! I am learning more and more how to make better portraits and headshots these days!