Having recently visited Brentford Football Club's match versus Crystal Palace. I've been fortunate enough now to have spent quite a few occasions now, photographing a variety of football clubs now ranging from children through to adults of all levels of skill and ability and from local park
Football to professionals. You can imagine now this has included seeing a variety of playing levels and team facilities and playing surfaces. Some as smooth as a snooker table and others just covered with holes and grass that’s a foot long or just has none at all.
Planning to photograph players in their playing environment at their clubs involves me to go through a pre match routine of preparation and planning from the week before. I like to research my teams find team sheets and see who is likely to play, have they played recently and how many goals have they scored so far this season. This way my lens direction is already pointed towards them. I have to plan my journey to the venue, becoming a weather expert checking daily the "hourly" forecasts that may affect me during my shoot period on the day in question. Anticipating what camera settings this may force me to use? You may laugh but that sun in the sky!... If it's at the wrong height or giving off the wrong amount of rays. Just plays havoc with the camera on this day and has the ability to make the final image look just ghastly and just wrong! The night before involves cleaning my lens, checking memory cards, making sure I have packed all equipment that I'm going to need and finally, charge up my batteries! Going to bed, I can’t help but say a little prayer that the weather is just going to be decent enough for me to sit in for the duration of the match to get some good action shots. That's the aim of my game as a I want that clench fist moment punching the air with delight when I have achieved a shot that I'll be proud off.
I have done this a few times now but it was not until this last game I realised that every team has that "star player". To you this means the ball winner in midfield the player's trickery up front scoring the match winning goals or defender that makes that last minute goal stopping tackle! In my experience, goalkeepers never get any praise or attention. The only attention they seem to get is if they let a goal in and it’s always their fault and then they just get moaned at! Never mind the fact that defenders left the attacker unmarked in the first place or the keeper is left to face a one versus two situation, the keeper is more than likely to just get the blamed. A behavior towards them that starts at a very young age and makes you wonder why there isn’t a shortage of keepers if this is how they are going to get treated?
I don't know why and its not until afterwards when I’m sitting and reviewing my good from my not so good photographs Its amazing how in the heat of the action, just how I appeared to have been attracted to the one player throughout the game. Not intentionally but it just happens that the percentage of players taken of the team…. A higher percentage has been taken just of them in the heat of the action. On a player picture, count then this would be an easier and fairer way for any managers to pick the teams man of the match award. Especially for younger players who have irate parents breathing down managers necks boisterously showing their disapproval! Remember Respect the Game
Know matter how I, football scouts or opposition research players, on the day itself it could be a waste of time if the player is injured or just performing below par. In football, as you may know it only takes one moment to capture a match wining shot to change any game know matter if the play for the leagues best or worst team. Any player who has a proven record of scoring, having an amazing goal celebration a routine preparing to take a direct free kick, slamming it into the top corner is a player to watch. The captains booming authority-telling teammates what to do or even getting involved defending a team mate over an ott late challenge. The winger bombing down the line taking players on, shielding the ball looking for support from his teammates are all features that make a good picture. From Sir Stanley Matthews playing in a FA Cup final to Louis Suarez bite in front of millions of fans in a World Cup game. Photographing sporting events are never dull when following a teams star players. Hence my enjoyment to continue doing so!