During my time as a photographer at SNS Group I’ve picked up a few helpful tricks when it comes to trying to avoid any hiccups – I say try because my SNS colleagues reading this will have a few stories up their sleeves. YES GUYS, I remember that laptop I left at the airport or that time my lens ended up soaked in the rain at Firhill.
A large portion of what I do relies on being prepared and staying alert when on a job. Below are my top 5 tips for any budding photographers out there…
Do your research
Ensure you’re going along to matches with as much information as possible. You have a great head start if you already know what’s been in the media during the lead up to the game.
Be prepared for the weather
If there’s one thing I have learned working in Scotland it’s that bad weather is never far away. Make sure that you always check the forecast before leaving for your job. Ironically, some of the best pictures can sometimes be created by the weather they were taken in so when a heavy shower hits you don’t want to be caught out due to reaching for the waterproofs. Instead, think ahead and be ready for it.
Expect the unexpected
When shooting football, I always use the same lenses, a 70-200 2.8 and a 400 2.8. However, it’s always worth keeping a wide angle lens and a flash close to hand. When you come up against a floodlight failure, fan display, dramatic sky or a pitch invasion you will be sorry if these are left in your bag in the media room because you’ll really need them to catch the shot.
Arrive first and leave last
I hate the feeling of being late or rushed so I always arrive at least 2 hours ahead of kick off. In the case of a big game like a Cup Final, International or Champions League match I will sometimes even be 4 hours early. You can never be too careful! Once I’ve sent my pictures over after the match, I always check websites and grab a chat with the reporters at the game to determine if I have missed any flash points from the game that I will need to inform the guys at the office of. This is a key part of the process as these are not always as obvious as you think.
Always be competitive
In my first year at SNS, over 11 years ago, I was nominated for a Young Photographer Award. I got chatting to Stan Hunter at the ceremony. He was receiving a lifetime achievement award that night and I had the chance to ask him for one bit of advice he had for a young photographer. He told me to always be competitive. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pre-season friendly or Champions League Final, always remain passionate about walking away with the best set of pictures on your cards. I constantly try to keep that in mind- it’s important to care about doing the best you possibly can on the job.