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What Makes the Shot?

Lesson 1 from: Sports Photography: Making the Shot

Al Bello

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Lesson Info

1. What Makes the Shot?

Lesson Info

What Makes the Shot?

Thank you, guys. Thanks, Canada. Thanks for having me here. I really appreciate it. Well, here. Here we are. We're gonna talk about sports photography. Just a quick recap on myself. I'm doing this maybe, like 28 years. 29 years. All in. And I think what I'm hoping to get across to you is just to think about getting good pictures, not just shooting with your fingers, you know, thes days away. They make cameras. A lot of people just put it on program and blast away. You know what? For average photos, sometimes you get lucky, but that's the way it is. A lot of photographers today can get by on just using the camera and not really thinking about what's going on inside your head. I'm hoping that from what the pictures I show you today, you'll get to think a little more. Maybe appreciate sports photography and what goes into it just real quick. Is anyone interested in sports photography or you just here just for the class or anyone? Yeah, couple find what my goal is. Teoh, make all of you in...

terested in sports photography and at least leave here thinking I could try this, you know, and at least get interested. So what we're gonna talk about is what makes a great shot When I get to whatever event that I'm doing, any arena that I'm at, uh, any portrait shoot any picture story from photograph of my kids If I'm doing a family picture, these are the three things that go through my head all the time, and it's not. It's not difficult, really. If you think about it, what is my background? Meaning What is behind my subject? What kind of background do I have? Is it a tree and a fence and a poll behind there? Is it a nice, clean background that's black and backlit, where I can position myself for a really nice image in front of me and also have the background clean? So what a lot of people do is they'll get a really nice action shot against the horrible background and a horrible background is just what I said. Empty seats, referees. You know, anything that is distracting to what your subject is, and sometimes you can't avoid it, because when you're out there in the field shooting, things happen in front of you. It's not like you can just set it up and go. Wait. I need you to catch the ball right here. You know, it's Scotty. You got a position yourself, get a decent background and then kind of hope that that's where it happens. You know, now I can't do that all the time because my job, a lot of my job, is to cover the whole game. So a lot of things happened during the game that you know where things happen in front of you. There's not you can do about it, but you want to try. At least you want to risk. Put your effort fourth and think about your background. When you're out there doing whatever photography you're doing, that's just a given. Also, where is your life source coming from? Is the son outside? Is it in an arena? Are you lighting the portrait for somebody you know that's your source. That's how you gonna light your subject. Is the subject gonna be back late against a black background? Is the sun low five a game and the sun is streaming in with long shadows. You've got to think about pictures like that and finally, how are you going to compose the photo again with auto focus and auto everything? It's just easy to put your subject right in the middle of the frame and blast away, you know, is a lot of thought that goes into taking photos and composing them as well. You might want to use a little bit of negative space on a portrait of a player or whatever. And nice, clean portrait instead of putting Hamel her right in the middle of the frame, balanced the picture out. Think about it when you're using a wide angle lens and and we'll go through this, I'm going to start off with this catch that was made a few years ago by Odell Beckham off the New York Giants happened on a night game. Um, and the announcers said it was probably one of the greatest catches. They have a sore in their lives. I happen to be in the ends on a giant stadium, and I was there for a reason, because again, it's shooting out onto the field now. There was a lot of versions of this photo, but a lot of versions of this photo had, um I'm gonna walk over to the left corner of the frame. You can barely see it, but there's these little yellow guys over here, those air security guards and they had on these big yellow jackets and a lot of people or hangers on. And people actually just kind of stand around on the sideline. They ruin the background. They they just kind of like plants, you know. And what I like to do is keep my action on the field where things are going on and you could see there's a refereed is all the players. It's a fairly clean background. So when Odell Wretch reached back to catch the ball, your eyes are on him and not a yellow little yellow security guard in the background. That makes sense. Okay, um, again, you know, straight up action. What you do is why your photograph in a boxing match, you get a rhythm, and what boxes do is they have different styles and they have different ways of fighting. These two guys happen to be fighting inside. Inside. Boxing is when they just put their shoulders on each other's heads on each other's shoulder and they just get to it. They fight I so that this guy on the left was susceptible to uppercuts because his head was down and I was just kind of waiting, waiting, waiting and trying time. And then, sure enough, the boxer came up and punched him right in the face. You know, you could. You can't. It's very hard time a punch when you're shooting a fight. There's a lot of tangibles that going into it, but at least to get you thinking about getting the action that you're trying to get. This was a photo that I couldn't have drawn up better for myself, because if I would have planned the photo shoot, that's what would a plan. Low light, long shadows, a red shirt and leaping up in the air while you're trying to hit the ball. So I knew it was that time of day where the sun was low. Um, the stands were full. Background was black. The shadows will long. He had a red shirt on. All the elements were there. I just needed to get it'll tow work together, needed to hit the bowl, get the shadow and get everything in their frame. It compose it again. See, he's not in the middle of the frame he's leading out of the frame. So what we're trying to do is bring your eye right to what's going on there. And the way the sun's hitting him just makes a nice little glow around in the red shirt as a little pop. If he had a black shirt on or dark colored shirt, it just wanted worked as well. And the good thing about tennis is it's repetitive. So he would wait, Teoh return surf and he'd go back and he would go back and go back and go back. So he had a few tries at this. It just so happened that it was able to time it again. Late in the day, I set up a remote at the Belmont on all the Stewarts that bring the horses in. All hang onto the starting gate once the horses go, and then they will jump off the starting in and bring the gate. And I knew that was gonna happen, and I thought to myself, Well, this might make something with all the shadows of the Stuarts when they get off when the horses get going, and sure enough, the sun came out and I'm actually I'm going to my left here. I'm there. So I am with the other group of photographers, and that's part of setting yourself apart from everyone. You wanna try a different angle and I'll get into remote as we go. But just just trying to get you thinking here. Another thing is like this. I was at a cycling race, was on the motorcycle riding with the guy. We passed this train tracks no trained yet, and and I'm waiting for them to come over the train tracks. I was trying to figure out another shot ensures, sure enough trains, thoughts coming. And I'm sitting there on the tracks and I'm going, I'd better move. But they brought the police in. They stopped the train and then the police got off the tracks and we're waiting for the riders. Go by While the train was there, I thought to myself, Well, I could make this look like they're trying to beat the train, you know? How do we do that? Slow down the shutter speed on the camera toe like 1/30 of a second and just let them right through. So the whole Palestine went through and then these two guys went through at the end. I was able to time that. So it looks like the trains actually moving. And then the writers go by again, thinking you always thinking of how you separate, because the person next to me shot the same picture. But he stopped the action and I looked at his frame and it wasn't as dramatic, you know. It was just two riders going over the track, but they were stopped almost like they were just parked like they just parked on the track as they were going by. At least these guys are moving and we'll get it on the water work as well. It's just some of the stuff that I do but again, symmetry there doing the same thing. Same stroke. The background is this beautiful ceiling in Beijing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Backstroke start visualized pictures on the water because all you have when you're under there is setting up eyes, a blank ceiling. You know you can't be under there during the race. So what? You have to do it again. I'll show you in a minute, but it's very involved. But you got to think ahead of time pictures ahead of time for when it happens in real time. Um, this was a picture I worked on for a couple of days at a rodeo and an indoor arena. Set up one strobe up in the arena. And I made a long shadow across the arena I needed I needed the cowboy to fall off the bull, look up and keep us hat on at the same time. So what would happen was, you know, the bull is very un accommodating. The guy falls with a guy full. So it was just all over the arena. And a lot of the writers now wear face masks to protect it. Almost like a hockey hockey cage. So it doesn't look as dramatic is not as cow boyish, but this one guy. Yeah, he had the hat on and he fell looking up, but it took me two days of trying to keep working on the photo. And again, the image is broken up into three different three different things. Composition. The bulls shadow the bull and then the cowboy understand composition, trying to have something going on in every part of the frame. This is the remote of set up in Torino at the Olympics gold medal moment. I had hoped that that be winning goalie would wind up in that net. I tried to figure out who was favored and where they were wind up and sharing up. This team won, and they will always rush the net. So three only thing it was the place to set up the net was on this beam in the ceiling. And it was one of these beams like this. You know, I'm just thinking to myself, this is a bad idea is a bad idea, and, uh, but then I set it up and I was very careful. And then I kind of backed out and then set up photo and was able to fire the remote. And we got that image got always pay attention. This is at the Super Bowl. You wouldn't know it, but there's a sequence to this that I could show you another time. This is the final image that ran pretty much everywhere around the country 99 yard touchdown return, which turned the game around the Super Bowl when the Steelers played the Cardinals and it started on the other side of the field, and you never know when it's gonna happen. The guy just made the interception and rumbled all this weight all the way back. And what I like about this image is everybody's trying to do something at once and again. I'm shooting out into the field, not to the side, out into the end zone. So there's no yellow shirts and no other photographers in the picture. It's pure football again, just a simple box of training One day during a media, a media event. It was very, very horrible. Set up of the gym itself was very sterile, and it wasn't much to work with. But then I looked up and I saw the ceiling had a couple of lines either way, in one little light, just trying to balance the picture out

Ratings and Reviews

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!

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