In a week where I didn’t have time to think – from capturing an ecstatic Steven Fletcher celebrating what we thought was the goal that helped send Scotland into Euro 2016…
conceding a goal in the 94th minute which resulted in their expulsion was all in a days work.
During long journeys up and down the UK, I continued doing feature work for the award winning Shrewsbury Town match day programme – this time at RAF Shawbury to commemorate Armed Forces Day.
Liam Lawrence is a model pro. Thankfully he has played in the Premier League and knows the drill when its comes to PR and photoshoots.
This season the style of the match day programme is to grunge up the images and make them more gritty. Here is the resulting picture of Liam dressed up as a Top Gun helicopter pilot.
After covering England’s win at Wembley to Shrewsbury Town’s 4-2 come back against Colchester, the next job was to do the head shots of the Town Youth team.
After an early start doing a team group in about 90 seconds as some of the players had an away reserve game at Wigan Athletic, I then rattlled through the squad with players changing from their home shirt to away in a total of 4 min 30 seconds (I timed it !)
With the team in the mini bus on their way to their fixture in Lancashire, I had a 30 minute break until I had the pleasure of photographing the Shrewsbury Town Futsal players.
Working for a football club is hard work. I am grateful I worked for a newspaper for five years when I was encouraged daily to come up with ideas suitable for the front page. Be it a Premier League team or a Sky Bet Football League One outfit, it is great that I am able to play around with my ideas and come up with looks suitable for the subject in hand.
Recently I documented Jonny Evans, Rickie Lambert and Gareth McAuley in WBA Christmas jumpers for the forthcoming West Bromwich Albion store catalogue.
Later this week I have to capture some funky pictures of the Shrewsbury Town Ladies team – I have about 20 minutes before they go training.
At the WBA photo call last month, I decided the day before to use the tried and tested method of using a Tungsten gel in a daylight studio flash. All the players are so friendly and thankfully patient – digital cameras come into their own when you can show the subject what you are trying to achieve, they quickly understand and give you an extra two minutes!
My flash is balanced to about 5400K, but put a tungsten gel in and the colour balance shifts to about 3200K with the ambient light going a lovely crisp blue.
I had planned on doing a set of portraits on a white background and then a select feature style images for social media afterwards. However during a brief chat with one of the team managers, I had an instant change of plan and used what was around me underneath the stands and turned it into a makeshift studio.
When there is no game, the refreshment booths are shut with sturdy grey shutters. Knowing the players would arrive any minute, I put one studio flash on either side of the shutters and got some of my tungsten gel out an put it in my window box light.
Again I would balance the light and shoot at 3200K and let the other Elinchrom flash heads pump out daylight balanced light which would shift to a lovely shade of blue.
Photographing the Shrewsbury Town Community Futsal Football Team, I wanted something with the style to represent street football. Something fresh. Something modern but also something colourful and ultimately eye catching which helps promote the brand of the football club using social media to individuals in the same age group.
Therefore conservative, polite, straight portraits were a complete no no!
With one test picture under my belt, I adjusted the two light illuminating the otherwise grey shutters and began doing portraits of all the players.
Thankfully the girls had hooded tops, which provided a different approach to a normal formal footballer portrait. I was inspirational until about portrait number four. On number 14 I was struggling, and by 24 I was so wanting the shoot to end until one of the girls got her phone out and I noticed her funky nails.
The pictures then turned into almost fashion shoots.
My job was only half done though in the camera. Shooting in RAW though to only ensure total correct colour balance as I feared of a little overspill of light from the florescent lights under the stand, once my Canon Digital Photo Professional application had churned out what I call standard shots, it was time to play around.
Snapseed is so last year, but still fun to use. Making the image a bit more punchy, I started on a few subjects using this tool.
I don’t “photoshop”. I always try and crop in camera. I always try and shoot correctly in camera as though I am shooting on transparency. To me its the only way. I would have a washing machine head ache if I did what some photographers do in just snap away not worrying about exposure and dealing with it in front of a computer monitor later on.
In this age of Instagram, there are some very fun – but expensive – filters to use.
I like to follow various global sporting outfits on Instagram. At the moment, the San Francisco 49ers use a neat way of watermarking in using a stamp to brand up / authenticate their images.
I quickly made a Shrewsbury Town Futsal ‘stamp’. People seemed pleased with it so I used it to good effect.
The football club want a big variety of images to use during the season, so instead of providing 108 selected shots all looking the same, I had to create 108 different versions!
At the moment I am a fan of one filter that adds a chocolate brown colour. I will probably be a bit bored of it next week but I need to come up with a fresh idea as I don’t want my style to be brown all of the time, like the Top Gun portrait of Liam Lawrence.
Brilliant Matthew as ever always good to read your blog .
Excellent photos. I’m a huge football photography fan myself. At present i use the Nikon J1 which, although not expensive, is a fantastic camera. I’ve had it now for about 3 years and it’s helped to produce almost all of the photos on my website http://www.footballphotos.co.uk – I’m actually looking to replace this camera now but it’ll take a lot to fill the void.
I was wondering if you’d take a look at my site and send me any feedback you may have. No matter how critical.
Keep up the good work!