Thursday, May 19, 2016

Photographer Lessons

Notice the title isn't "photography lessons" but "photographer lessons."

I had been the photographer for the OB Cues Ladies Tour for 9 years and now for the Omega Tour for the last 4 1/2 years.  I'm lucky to have a couple of friends who help me take photos the last couple of years, but today wanted to share some of the things we come across as photographers of a tour (or tournaments in general).

First Rule:  I always take a photo of the top 3 finishers on Sunday BEFORE the semi-finals match is played (i.e. for 3rd place).  Nothing worse than trying to take a photo of the top 3 when one of them just lost.  Usually the player who lost wants to bolt, or the player doesn't come across very photogenic because they are upset that they just lost and the last thing they want to do is stand there and be in a photo.  I take the pics of the top three preemptively to prevent that.

Second Rule:  Some players cannot have their photos published.  I have learned for 2 reasons: (1) they literally work for the police department undercover or (2) they are not really suppose to be in a bar establishment because they are on probation.  I sometimes make announcements at the beginning of the year for new players so they are aware we respect players' privacy's.  (btw, the undercover person was from over 8 years ago and doesn't play pool anymore, so no worries to the guys currently on probation lol).

Third Rule:  Some players are very particular about themselves in photos.  If I get a request to remove a photo, I never ask why, I just delete it.  I once had a friend in tears because of the pic I took of her at state.  All she saw was her tummy, all I saw was how beautiful she was.  We each see things about ourselves we don't like, so deleting a photo for someone makes them feel much better.

Fourth Rule:  If I take a photo of someone and it's unflattering, I don't post it.  Some photographers don't care and say that's how a person looks.  However, I would rather publish photos people like of themselves, not ones where they look terrible.  I think we all know certain angles create more weight or wrinkles or fading hair than others.  If I have two photos of a player and one is borderline unflattering, I will simply delete it and post the other one that's better.

Fifth Rule:  I take about 500 pics at an event and then only get about 250 good ones. They wont all come out perfect in the low light, and because obviously pool players move while shooting.

And the Sixth Rule:  Take non-action shots.  Those are the best!  Friends talking, or a player thinking in his seat.  Here are just a few of my favorites from the Omega Tour:


Dana Speed said...

I always look forward to looking through the Omega photos. I know the volumn of shots that are taken so those that make the cut are really good.

Babylon Brother said...

I love that you've given so much thought to what goes on behind the scenes when you're taking photos at a tournament. The conditions are truly less than favorable. I'm sure that most players are grateful for your excellent "portrait" shots, especially those taken while they're at the table or down for a shot, because when -- if ever -- would they have that moment recorded. So many of your shots deserve to hang on the wall of some grateful competitor's home.