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Event Photography: Getting the Shot!

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Event photography is all about getting the shot, or GTS’ing as we like to call it…  It’s a whole genre all on it’s own that requires quick thinking, usually dehydration, and every possibly obstacle imaginable.

This past weekend, we spent a lot of time shooting at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO, and have come up with a some thoughts to ensure that we can all GTS at the next event.  Here are our thoughts:

  • Find a home base where you can leave extra gear you may not need for each shot that is centrally located.  Make sure it’s safe so no one will steal your stuff…
  • Talk to the people running the event and find out every detail you can.  This will guarantee (usually) that you have time to get your flashes setup in the right locations.
  • Compose to include signage and the crowd.  These shots are what the hosts of the event are looking for.
  • Diversify your shots.  A lot of photographers at events will stay in one location and capture basically the same shot over-and-over again.  Don’t do this!!  Be original and keep it fresh!
  • Try not to get hung up on a piece of gear that isn’t working correctly (radios, flashes, etc…)  Instead think of how you could approach the shot differently and go for it.
  • Sometimes you may need to bend the rules a bit to move a flash.  Just make sure you do this safely and that theres no real consequence.  We don’t advise this, but in certain circumstances (like we had this weekend) you may need to bend a rule if you can do it safely.
  • Go above and beyond what other photographers are doing.  They stand in one spot and don’t move, shoot a different angle, setup flashes, and make your shots better!
  • Go wide and close, zoomed and far, and standard.  This gives you a variety of angles and perspectives to make your shots different from everyone elses.
  • Scope the whole location for angles before the event even starts, this way you can move quickly during the event.
  • Avoid getting distracted talking to other photographers, you can do this before and after and you don’t want to miss a key shot!
  • Some events are best with no flash.  Events like dual slalom, where riders go head to head, are best when you aren’t shooting a flash because the athletes will be so staggered that you can’t really find a place for both flashes.  Flash will generally make a shot better, but be realistic with when you can and cannot use them.
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At only 25 years old, Connor has been published in many major international publications and is a signed Getty photographer. His writing and photos have been published in Photoshop User and Light It Magazines, amongst many others. He believes that if you work at what you love, you'll be able to make a great living. Connor currently resides in Edwards, CO with his wife, Kelly, and dog Tucker. You can view his portfolio at www.cnwphoto.com

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