Sports Portraits – Why I love them
Portraits of athletes has to be up there at the top of the list of my favourite subjects to photograph. There are many reasons for this, but a big part of it is that I am capturing someone in their element. Most sports portraits try to incorporate the athlete in action, or at the very least their attitude and personality, which goes a long way to defining how they perform in their given sport. This allows me to capture some great action and expressions. When it comes down to capturing an athlete in action, or “performing” their sports, no one does it better than an athlete that actually participates in that sport. Some models can pull it off and make it look realistic, but every sport has it’s own nuances that only someone doing it would be able to perfect. This is part of what makes sports portraits so awesome. You know that you are going to get the best, most realistic “pose” from your subject…it’s then my job to make it look even more awesome.
Golf – A love hate relationship
I used to golf quite a bit. Was I ever good? Not really! I think at my best I was shooting in the high 80’s, lower 90’s. At the peak of my playing I was playing at least two or three times a week. Sadly though, I haven’t picked up a golf club in about 5 years now! Instead of spending my weekends golfing I spend my weekends with my wife and son and I think that is a little more fun! 😀 But, I still love golf. There is just something about it. Little mistakes can have huge impacts on the game and watching a professional play is always awe inspiring. How do they keep their swing so perfect every time? My problem was that on the driving range I would hit everything perfect and then the second that it “counts” everything would fall apart. The other amazing thing about golf is where you play! Golf courses are beautiful! Even courses that are a little run down and not looked after have a little beauty to them. They are simply beautiful, peaceful places (except for the sometimes loud mutterings of golfers having a bad round) and golfers truly are privileged to be able to ply their craft in such amazing locations. All of this is why I was very excited to capture some sports portraits of professional PGA golfer Paul Green.
We scheduled the shoot over two days at Paul’s home course in Ely. On the Saturday I went out to the course and spent a couple of hours photographing the course, getting ideas and compositions down in my head. On Sunday we would photograph Paul and then I would combine the images later in Photoshop. I had planned to do this shoot as a composite for multiple reasons, but in the end the weather would have dictated this need regardless. Sunday the weather was appalling. Wet, windy, and cold. Photographing Paul in any other way would’ve resulted in rescheduling the shoot. But, since I had planned on photographing Paul on a plain background, we were able to go ahead with our shoot. We photographed Paul in the driving range, providing us with shelter from the weather as well as giving me a reasonably plain background to work with later. The shoot itself was very easy, because Paul is a professional and was able to nail everything I needed in only a couple of shots. We ran through the gamut of images that I wanted for the composites and were done in an hour. The results were, in my opinion, awesome!
Sports Portraits – The Images
Sports Portraits – Conclusion
It’s hard for me to pick a favourite from our shoot. Each of these three have different qualities that I love about them. All of them capture the “essence” of golf, and each of them have strong advertising and editorial potential as well. Any of them could be used as a feature in a magazine, or as an advertisement.
Which of these three is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!