As a sports photographer I have found things that annoy me when shooting games. From obnoxious fans to all about me in game reporters there is a laundry list of things that bother me when I’m shooting a sports photographer. These are just a few of the bigger one that tend to rub me the wrong way.
Fans definitely make the games interesting. You can feel their excitement, it’s that palpable at times. Of course there are times I also feel their beers, popcorn or nacho cheese on my head and back. I’ve been hit with numerous beer cans and cups of beer that have been thrown on the field. Ditto for food being spilled on me. I think all sports photographers have experienced that one time or another.
Another thing that annoys me as a sports photographer is when fans yell for me over and over to take their picture. There are plenty of times where we as sports photographers need shots of fans. We’re just not going to take photos of the drunk, belligerent fans.
More often than not we’ll pretend to take your photo just to stop you from asking. My favorite part is when they yell, “Let me see.” I’m always telling them I’ll show them after the game I have to run to where the action is.
Another annoying thing with sports fans is the misogyny and some times blatant racists comments. There is no need to catcall or make lewd comments or innuendo towards female sports photographers. They don’t ask for it and they don’t deserve it. There are tons of amazing female sports photographers out there today and many that I admire and I cringe when I hear what they have to deal with on daily basis.
Same goes with the racist comments. There is no place in sports for racism yet fans feel like since they pay for the ticket they have the right to say whatever they want. I’ve heard some vile things in my time as a sports photographer and I never understood if a person has that much hate why go to a game. It baffles me.
Other Sports Photographers
As a sports photographer, yes other photographers can annoy me. The biggest way other sports photographers annoy sports photographers is by not being aware of where there are. Meaning a photographer could be taking a photo down the sidelines of the coaches talking with players and a photographer just walks through their shot.
Always be aware of your surrounding out on the field. There are tons of other photographers and videographers working on getting different shots and just walking in front of them while they’re shooting is a no no.
Another way to annoy a photographer is to run to where the action is happening to get the shot. Let me explain. If a photographer is in the endzone already there shooting, don’t run down the field in front of them to catch the team celebrating a touchdown because you’re afraid of missing it. I have seen seasoned pros lose their minds and just go off on people for ruining their shot. Some of these people rely on their stock images from the game being sold to other media outlets in order to get paid and when you mess with their money they’re not going to be happy.
Live TV Crews
And by live TV crews that includes the camera operators, sound engineers or anyone else that is associated with a live TV feed. I’ve had so many run-ins with camera crews that I know I can’t be the only sports photographer that has a gripe or two. Maybe it’s me, but it seems like every camera operator or sound engineer thinks because they work for TV that they’re more important than everyone else on the sidelines or in the photo wells that they can do what they want with no reproach.
Here are some examples that I’ve had to deal with. Shooting football I’m in position by the endzone and have been there waiting for the action to come my way. Sure enough a camera operator runs down the field and stands right in front of me. I yell at him basically saying, “What the hell,” only for him to turn around and say “I’m TV,” and just stands there. Now this camera guy I’ve had issues with because he does this all the time. Like he is more important than everyone else. Now don’t get more wrong TV is vital but it’s this arrogant sense that some have that they’re better than you and that they can do what they want.
As I mentioned I have had issues with this one guy for years because, well to put it mildly, he’s a dick. I think it was a prime time night game and this guy was being his usually douchebag self. I had enough and when he was running down the sidelines I stepped on his cables so he got pulled back. I ran past him and said, “I’m TV” sarcastically. Haven’t seen the guy in a few years and honestly I don’t miss him one bit.
I have stories after story about TV guys and I know others have as well. I’ve even heard stories of camera guys trying to fight photographers on the field after Super Bowls because they wanted a shot, but the photographers were already there first.
Sideline or in Game Reporters
Sideline and in game reporters are vital to the game. Problem is there are some who feel act like they’re prima donnas and it’s annoying.
Prime example. Working a Marlins game there is a in game reporter who thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. He works for a TV station that broadcasts all the games for a certain visiting team. Every time there is a big moment in the game and the photographers go to shoot the scene at the bench there he is standing in the way with his cellphone taking video. There is no reason for him to be there, but he wants the “exclusive footage” to share on his social media accounts.
Same guy was doing a pregame report live and was standing where the umpire comes out prior to the game. During his report the umpires were heading to the field and he put his fingers up to tell them to wait. The umpires politely ignored his wishes and made their way to the field. Well that set him off where he proceeded to ask his camera guy, “Who the fuck do they think they are? I’m live on TV. Couldn’t they just wait till I was done?”
I laughed inside because I thought he got exactly what he deserved. He walked down the stairs huffing and puffing before he took out his compact to apply foundation or what not.
Security is an important part of every game. They keep the hooligan type fans from running onto the fields and they help maintain peace and order through out stadiums and ballparks alike. There are some who rather inject themselves into the game if that makes any sense. They know where the cameras are and try to make sure they get their 15 seconds of fame. Not all, but there are some that work security just to be on the field and to be on tv.
Also the endzones and sidelines are tightly packed that sometimes we ask if the security guard could move up or back as they’re blocking the field. It’s not a crazy request and we’re not demanding or anything. We politely ask. We all strive to work together to the best that we can. We know it’s crazy and there is a lot going on.
I guess the issue with security arises when they rather watch the game than watch the stands and block photographers and videographers from getting their shots.
I’ve shot in numerous stadiums and every security personnel is different in how they handle things. We all have to adjust to how things ebb and flow, but sometimes we have to deal with people in security who think they’re secret agents on a spy mission and we’re bothering their mission by asking if they can work with us.
This is for the football ball boys. The ones that while need to be on the sidelines don’t need to run from the 50 yard line to the endzone to celebrate a touchdown. You’re job is to hand footballs to the refs for the next play not celebrate like a fan boy all down the sideline jumping up and down ruining shot for photographers.
It may sound like I’m a grumpy old man yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn, but after 10 years shooting sports I have some pet peeves. I think we all do and while most of us do the best not to ruin the shot for others, there are some people who only think about themselves in critical situations and it shows.