Today I’m going to talk about a terrific photographer I just discovered! Australian photographer, Adam Pretty. I promise you will learn something from his photography tips and by looking into the way he works…
Just this morning I saw an interview of Adam Pretty and they introduced him as the head photographer at the London Olympics for Getty Images! All by itself that is an accomplishment worth noting, but you should check out some of his images! They are astounding!
Of course he has the standard shots universitycafe of Olympians holding up their medals and grinning at the camera – he has to include those… but his shots of athletes in the middle of competing – or the face shots of the emotions exhibited when it is all over are truly amazing.
During the interview, he was asked how he managed to consistently get such amazing shots and he said that first he considers the background.
Before the event even gets underway, he is there finding the ultimate angles and locations to position himself so that he will get a stunning background.
(I’ve written dozens of times that the key to great photos is preplanning!)
Next after finding the background, he looks at the light. This is where he determines the mundane issues of lens selection, exposure, shutter speed and so forth. (Looking at his photos – he clearly uses VERY FAST shutter speeds. His photos are sharp as a tack!)
Finally he determines where the athlete will be at the key moment and pre-determines focus, etc.
Now, he didn’t list this as one of the three factors he takes into account, but he then went on to say that – since he is competing with the top sports photographers in the world – he tries to find a way to get images that no one else is using. It’s how he stands out from the crowd.
I’ve also written that you should try to find a unique vantage point for your photos!
What do I mean by a unique vantage point?
In several of his photos of swimming events, he is actually in the water! Now, don’t get me wrong, I doubt the Olympic committee would allow him to be in the water during the actual Olympic event… but during practice? Who cares!
In high school I was on the diving team and I was intrigued – to say the least – with the photos he did of divers.
There are several where he got them in the air with an incredibly shallow depth of field – so the background was a total blur. Plus he was panning with the diver so the background showed movement!
He also did a lot of shots of the divers from underneath them – in the water! When they hit, they are completely engulfed in bubbles and remind me of the Michelin man, or some sort of Yetti creature!
Here is a link to check out his work:
Ok, I promised we would turn this into a learning experience… so here is your assignment!
Obviously none of us are photographers for the Olympic Games – though there is no reason why you couldn’t be one the next time around… but virtually ALL of us have little league, middle school, high school and college sports teams within a few minutes of us!
By the way – I probably don’t have to say this, but be sure you have a top quality waterproof casing for your camera before you try any of the underwater angles.
Check out some of Adam Pretty’s photos and head to the nearest sports team and start trying to get the same sort of images he got at the Olympics! You could very quickly become famous in your community! Or, at the very least, start winning the local photo contests! Who knows, maybe I’ll be writing about YOU during the 2016 Olympics!
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Dan Eitreim has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years – his data base exceeds 6000 past clients, and he says that learning photography is easy, if you know a few tried and true strategies.