May 6, 2009

Getting Your Photo Taken

I have been playing paintball for a number of years. In the past few years I have started photographing the game I love.

Shooting speedball is relatively easy. The game all happens in a small area and if you position yourself right you can usually get a few spectacular shots. Woodsball is a completely different game to photograph. The game play is spread out over a wide area and you never know from which direction the action will come. A good photographer will move toward the sound of the firefight in search of the perfect shot.

Every player wants to be photographed on the field here are a few tips that will help you get photographed.

To have your photo taken you have to make yourself accessible. If you spend three hours crawling through the weeds, chances are you won’t be seen and therefore can’t be photographed.

Know where the photographer’s position and work toward them. As you are working toward the photographer do something to attract attention. Yes I know that you will also attract the attention of the other team and might get eliminated. Remember an elimination lasts a second but a great photo will last forever.

Don’t look at the camera. Keep on playing your game, pretend the cameraman isn’t even there. The best photos are natural photos. A good photographer will work around you to find a good shot. Shoulder your maker and take a few shots for the camera even if you can’t see the other team. Make yourself a subject worthy of wasting memory card space.

I said not to look at the camera, which is true, but don’t be afraid to smile.

One thing I found out early in my paintball photography career is that paintballers are cheap. Sorry but it’s true. I spend thousands of dollars on gear that I risk getting destroyed every time I step on the field, money for gas to get to the event, money for food, plus a full day of my time to take professional photographs and nobody ever wants to pay for them. Since you now know that paintball photography is a labor of love don’t expect me to crawl around in the mud looking for you.

As soon as players get home from an event the posts will start on the forums “I saw some cameras today. When are the pictures going to be posted?” Arrggh, are you kidding. Give me a break guys. I take between 2000 - 3000 shots during a one day event. If I can get 500 useable shots out of the lot it has been a great day. I have review, sort, crop, edit, process every photo, it takes time. Since I am doing all this for free, be patient.

One last thing and this is the most important tip of them all, DON’T SHOOT THE PHOTOGRAPHER. If every time I walk near a certain team, or certain part of the field I get shot 25 times, guess what? I’m not going to go there, and I’m not going to take your photo.

There are a number of professional and talented amateur photographers who come out to events all over the country. Paintball photography isn’t easy. When I play an event I might get shot 10 times, at the most. When I photograph and event I’m lucky if I have under 50 welts and can’t begin to count the number of times I’m hit. If you see a photographer or videographer on the field, show them some respect, make their job easy and you never know, you might end up in Paintball Sports Magazine.

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