Monday, March 30, 2009

Basketball Players of the Year...

I was recently talking to another photographer who shoots a lot of portraits of pro athletes, we were talking about how much time these pros would give you. He was telling me 10 minutes is an eternity to shoot these guys, if you get 5 minutes you're lucky. Now, this is also someone who gets the luxury of hiring an assistant, so often when he shoots the subject, the photo is ready to be taken, all the person has to do is stand in.
Every year for football and basketball we do a "Super Team," basically the players of the year. For football its four players (overall MVP, offensive and defensive MVP's and a newcomer of the year) and a coach of the year. But for basketball season we have a whole lot more. There are five players, a coach, and an MVP for both the boys and the girls. A total of 12 players and two coaches. For the MVP's, I need to get two different photos, one for the front page and one for the doubletruck inside. For the front shot I try to do something vertical and similar for the boy's and girl's shot to be able to play off of each other. The inside shot isn't as important to be similar for the boy and girl, but the shape needs to be the same, or close.
Now, I don't have the budget to hire assistants. However, I usually have kids that haven't been in the spotlight long enough to get an attitude yet. In fact, most of these kids are having their photo taken for publication for the first time. Most of them come in kind of apprehensive about how things are going to work. This is how digital photography has made a big difference in the way I work. After I take a few frames, I'll usually show the kid how it looks and tell them what exactly I'm going for in the shot. After seeing this, their attitudes usually change from "ok I'm here" to seeing how they look pretty cool and will give you all the time you want to make it look really good.
For the MVP's I usually go out to the schools so I can shoot them in the gym, since I can't get a full-size basketball goal into the studio (although that would be great for those rare nights where there's nothing going on). Plus it usually takes a lot longer to shoot these, and I see it as going the extra mile for the best players in the area. For the other players I still want to make a nice shot, yet have them fairly uniform, which is why I prefer to shoot them in the studio. I don't want one standing out more than another since they are all on the same level.

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