“Out of the 4 days of intense training, there was one event that stood out to me: baseball.”
By Elaine Villaflores
Last fall I attended the Sports Shooter Academy to improve my sports photography, build my portfolio, and most of all work with a great lineup of instructors. It was the most intense four days of photography I had ever experienced and to be honest I was a bit overwhelmed.
At one point I was a bit frustrated that I was not able to create the images I wanted. One of the instructors saw that I was struggling and came by and gave great pointers, advice and most of all encouragement. I really appreciated that the instructor took the time to give feedback and it really pushed me to produce better images.
By the end of the workshop, I felt that my sports shooting had improved in just a few days. While I had gotten better, I knew there was much more I needed to learn.
Sports Shooter Academy IX held in April had a truly amazing line up of instructors. But most importantly to me, it featured many different sports on the schedule that I have not shot before. Sports like baseball, rugby, track and field and a session with Dave Black on high-speed shutter action photography. I knew I had to make another trip to Southern California.
Out of the 4 days of intense training, there was one event that stood out to me: baseball. People in the room kept saying: “Don’t fall asleep at baseball!” I had never shot baseball before so I was not sure what to expect. But one thing I knew for sure: I would think of the experience as a challenge and soak up as much information and advice I could.
The instructors a the Orange Coast College – Irvine Valley College game were John McDonough and Shawn Cullen, who both work for Sports Illustrated. I was really excited to work with both of them. While Shawn was helping some of the other photographers with their remote setups, I was soaking up all the words of wisdom from John.
He gave us his insights on where to position ourselves on the field, how to read the different plays and most important of all, he said look for the emotions and details of the game. These words of advice really struck home with me. John said: “Use your cameras to tell the STORY of the game.”
Once the game started, I went around the field looking for different angles and perspectives always with an eye toward storytelling. John came by to talk about the game and asked if I had any questions. he was also interested in what I had shot, so we did a little “chimping”.
In the end, I was very happy with my images and feel comfortable shooting baseball in the future.
One of the reasons why I come back to the Sports Shooter Academy workshops is the photographers that are on the faculty. Their tips and the immediate feedback are invaluable… you’re out covering these sports and they are right there to help. The nightly critiques also helped me improve over my past workshop experiences. It was nice to hear from one of the SSA instructors he felt that my photos improved from the last year.
Thank you Sports Shooter Academy faculty for the advice, confidence, and for giving back!
(You can view samples of Elaine’s work at her Sports Shooter member page: http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=9548)