By Adrian Zupp
All of America knows that the pro football season kicks off for real on Thursday night when the New Orleans Saints travel to Lambeau Field to take on the defending champs the Green Bay Packers. Yep, the meaningless pre-season games are over and it’s time to get serious. That’s right, it’s time to stock up on beer and cheese platters, make sure the couch is in fine working order, and put new batteries in the remote.
Of course, if you’re a photographer – and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you are – you might want to get to some games with your favorite zoom lens.
“When I was a kid growing up in Australia, I didn’t have much time for sports,” said Peter. “I was too busy taking photos! I did follow the Aussie Rules a bit. That’s football without any pads or helmets and endless kicking and running. It’s exciting but, like I said, I preferred to be off in the bush somewhere on weekends shooting landscapes.”
If you’re a budding sports/action photographer, you might want to start by shooting kids games or maybe high school. Things happen a lot less quickly and that gives you more time to frame your shot. You can always graduate to college games and NFL contests later.
“I do remember shooting some kids Aussie Rules when I was a teenager,” added Peter. “Don’t ask me where those photos are now. But I did learn a few things – everything you do adds to your experience and knowledge as a photographer. That’s an important thing for folks to remember.”
Like any field of photography, sports photography is competitive – ultra competitive. So the sooner you start, and the more you practice, the better. Build up a portfolio and see if you can break into some freelancing work with the local paper. And even if sports aren’t your chosen photographic field, as Peter says, trying something different might teach you something useful for your other work.
So put down the platter and beer for a while and get out to a game. Who knows what you’ll come back with? Maybe you’ll get something special. Hey, it’s football season: Anything can happen!