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Sports Photography: Making the Shot

Lesson 6 of 6


Al Bello

Sports Photography: Making the Shot

Al Bello

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Lesson Info

6. Sportraits


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1 What Makes the Shot? Duration:12:22
4 Olympics Coverage Duration:09:01
6 Sportraits Duration:09:46

Lesson Info


this is, Ah, self assign thing again. I took that boxer that that is an up and comer, and he's willing to do a lot of different things to me. I found in my friends pool building pool in the backyard, and I asked him if I could use his pool and I thought up an idea in my head that I've always wanted to do. It took a couple of strobes that I had set up, um, connected to my underwater housing that had custom made on. I built a carbon. A copper pipe drilled some holes, and then I connected it to air compressor. So it made it like a bubble machine. So had something in the water and then had the bubble machine going. Let the bubbles from behind and let him from the side. And then there's the picture. So you know, again, it's a little complicated, but guys, you know is this is just me thinking spitballing. Same thing with this gold medalist, Allyson Felix. She's a sprinter, but I talked to Agent into doing a shoot on guy. Just wanted again convey speed. So this is a drag blur with Ambien live...

and flash at the end. This is just a straight up shoot for Adidas. Is Michael Phelps back in 2000 for? And I had this idea of his wing span so big with his arms that I just needed to show that again a little from behind. And we wanted making opposed to a Speedo. This was a Speedo. While back we got to know each other through the Beijing Olympic Games medal pictures. We did a couple more shoes together. Fast forward to to Rio a couple weeks back and we did another metal picture with him. And I really wanted the shot because I did want in Beijing and I felt like Icona played a little safe and I wanted us to be a little more dramatic and wanted to light a little more hot. And I wanted to make him as like this humble champion, leaving the game at the top of his game. But we worked on trying to get this in with the agent for the longest time, 34 months ahead of time, through the trials, through all kinds of things, and then right up until 10 minutes before the shoot him, he really didn't wasn't into doing that. There's a shoot with his just his swim trunks on. He was old beat up from from swimming all week, and he just wanted to keep his clothes on. I was like, Michael, um, you're in the best shape your life. You're never gonna look like this again. You know, you got let's get the medals on. Let's do it right, You know, give me 10 minutes is all I ask and I'm not gonna let you regret it. And, you know, when you give somebody a word, you stick to your word. I was done in eight minutes and he was out, You know, so good for him. Good for us. I was prepared. I set up way at a time. We got it done. This is just some other stuff that don badminton player Don King. Crazy eyes, hair. This is a fun picture with the first women's Olympic wrestling team. Jennie Finch, Famous, soulful player again. Upcoming boxer. We just did some stuff in the studio. A rod during his days of the Yankees. Vince Carter. We did something for Puma. Did this for my old boxing magazine. Through some of my connections that bear it. I still had. They let me photograph Evander Holyfield and again the Mike Tyson shoot going back to what I said before sports that are repetitive. You can keep practicing on things like tennis, swimming, baseball, you know, racquet sports. They're very repetitive, so you can practice a in the same position, you know, so because you can't get these guys to do it again, it's not planned, you know what I mean? And I'm not gonna lie to you. This is a ton of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of money invested, a lot of dedication. It's especially when you have a family is It's an incredible judging, juggling act, but you need Teoh make mistakes. You need to understand what went wrong, and then you need to not make that mistake again. So please go leave this place and not be afraid of making mistakes, especially now, because there's really no film involved anymore. All you lose that file, really, you know, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the great AKI player Wayne Gretzky. You never make 100% of the shots you don't take and that goes in anything in life. I'm no great profit. But I know that you don't take shot. Sometimes you never gonna make it, you know? So I'd rather fail trying than not try it'll. So I want to thank you so much for your time. And I appreciate you coming on. Any questions I'll be happy to answer. And thank you so much. It's really incredible to sit here and see what, what a career that you've had and all of these things that you've been able to photograph and learn from and share with us. I do want to take some time for sort of a speed round of questions, role in the world. Start here in studio. Yes, sir. You have a lot of gear. That is heavy. How do you travel with them? I don't think you put them under the plane. So how do you take them? That's a good question. They do. The camera companies do sell bags special, specifically made for the gear and in a lot of inserts for your camera equipment. And there's all types out there. I can't say exactly which one to get, but they're out there and yeah, but I'm usually overweight. Second, I'm usually wait. Yeah, I like sometimes a charger. You can ask for the media rate at the airport. So they split the bill in half. Or I just try and weigh the bags up to £50. I mean, sometimes you can't get you can't get away with it, but on I have to pay the fee. There's something called the media Maria. Media rate. Okay, No split a $50 fee. 25. Sometimes I let you go, you know, I mean, I can't give you the heart of best cause every every agent is different at the desk. I give metal. I'll give out pins. Remember? In Rio, Like my big choice, A weapon was a big getty pin. Say, Hey, how you doing is a pin? You know, all my bags. £52. Could you let me go? You know, like so that helps you bring lollipops or something, you know? Yes. All right. We got questions coming in from online for someone who is getting into doing more sports adventure photography video, but might have limited gear. Maybe they are saving up for that water housing was there. Do you have any tips for how to push your gear, Teoh, that you have to the limits or what are some things that you did in the past? Or maybe it's even. What are some of the singer? I could tell you, uh, when I am. I didn't have a long lens to use. I had kind of a long lens. I would just max it out. We'll get as close as I possibly could to whatever event I was. Someone somewhere impossible, way so far away. And then you could do about it. Having said that, I would do the next best thing. And that is maybe dio feature work, you know of Ah, a match. You know, if my lands not long enough, maybe I could do behind the scenes or work from the crowd with like fans cheering and again, you don't need to be shooting always the cash, the swing, so that's one way of doing it. The other thing is, like I said before, I didn't start out with several $1000 back camera housing. I started with like a little bag. Like I I had a blast. I remember having a plastic bag and I kind of just slowly sunk the camera underwater. Don't recommend it if you're worried about flooding your camera. But that's how I really started. Or like I remember, one of my friends I work with is a renowned photographer. Adam Pretty took a big fish tank, and he sunk the fish tank in the water with his camera. You know what I mean? He was able to do it that way. What I went up doing again, I said I bought, like, a little back that specifically made for 35 millimeter body for a couple 100 bucks. That was my first investment. And then from there is what built upon. I'm also lucky to be back now by my work, one out getting images so they help me with my ideas. But this is years in the making. Like for years, I I used all my money possible on old gear, Anything. I made one right into my work. Yeah. Yes. So when you are just getting started, this is from Pixar. How might you be able to get access? Teoh things? Is there a way to get the press credentials or what? What are the steps to take? Um, we'll hit up your local newspaper. Hit up your village newspaper shop. You work around from what you doing locally. I think another way to go about it is again for internships or assisting along another photographer. That was one way to get yourself in two events. I know I did. I did that. I bought it a lot of the newspaper guys here when I was first starting out, and I haven't just tag along. Bring my camera with me and they let me sometimes shoot with them. So that's that's one way. That's the way I did it anyway. Yeah, thank you so much. Where can people follow you online? Stay up to date on everything that you're doing. The website al bello dot com Uh, instagrams Al Bell. 0 55 on Twitter, The same being Al Bell. 0 55 And that's May. If you want to find me, that's me. That was my number. Thanks, guys.

Class Description

It’s unpredictable and happens in a fleeting moment; the game winning point, the facial expression of success, the underdog coming from behind moment. Capturing athletes in their sport not only takes a quick shutter, but also the right prep and creativity to stand out. Al Bello is an award-winning photographer and the Chief Sports Photographer in North America for Getty Images. He has covered 11 Olympic games and has photographed numerous well-known athletes. 

In this course you’ll learn:

  • What to look for in order to get a successful and creative action shot 
  • How to prepare for a variety of sporting events 
  •  The behind the scenes in capturing unique and timeless images including an in depth look into underwater sports
Learn how to prep and capture sporting events and stand out in a field of photographers.  


Britt Smith

Sports Photography: Making the Shot is a very good class for showing what really goes into big league sports photography as well as a glimpse into the sacrifice and outside-the-box thinking needed to standout from the crowd. Al Bello's images are stunning and his years of experience and unique creative style are clear in each one. This is not necessarily a course where you are going to learn camera settings or recommended lens suggestions for certain sports, but what it lacks in that area, it certainly makes up for through inspiring images and Al Bello's humble presentation style.

Agnieszka Wanat

Al Bello did a there good job with this course. He gives a lot of informations of the gear and setup on different locations. He makes you inspire to look for better shots than other does. This course helped me to work on location with other 20 photographers. And I can be proud to take a totally different shots then others of horses that we photographed in 3 days job in Poland. I really recommend it!