Recounting a sporting event means telling the crucial moments that mark it: the moment of the goal, the tension before the start, the fatigue at the end of a race, the beauty of the technical gesture, the pain during an injury, the exultation after a victory, the disappointment after a defeat.
Each sport has its own characteristics, rules and peculiarities, but what all sporting events have in common is the uniqueness and unrepeatability of those key moments: knowing how to capture them or let them slip away makes all the difference in the quality of the work of those who have the ambition to document them.
From this point of view, the production of photographic content is one of the assets to invest in. The images of a sporting event, in fact, are fundamental elements of a story that - if well realized - can bring visibility and reputation benefits to all the people involved: athletes, federations, organising committees, territory, sponsors, public and media.
1) Knowing the sport: each sport has its own characteristics and rules. Knowing them is certainly the first, fundamental requirement for photographing it. This allows you to seize the moment in advance, to be ready to immortalize it. Therefore, not all sports photographers are good for all sports. It is better to turn to professionals who have already photographed the sport of our interest.
2) Planning the smallest details: planning the work properly allows you to get halfway through the work. Making an operational plan of activities and timetables, defining a budget, making an inspection, dealing with logistics and accreditation, assessing the weather and generally considering the smallest details helps dealing better with everything during the event. Conversely, finding yourself covering an event without planning could prove fatal.
3) Using the proper equipment: in addition to the professional, the equipment can also make a difference. Different events may require different cameras, lenses, lights. It is essential that the photographer has the right equipment to fulfil our requests. Once you have identified case histories and examples to your liking, make sure together with the photographer that the equipment provided can meet your needs.
4) Choosing a 'sports' photographer: the attitudes of those who want to report on sport are also crucial. Not everyone wants to work for hours in the sun during a beach volleyball match or in freezing temperatures for a ski race. Not everyone likes to fly over the event from a helicopter, ride on a quad, risk getting hurt by climbing into cramped places. It is therefore better to clarify what the working conditions will be like right away, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises at the event.
5) Providing a detailed brief: it is always essential to provide the photographer with a detailed brief that clearly expresses all our requirements: number of photos and type, format and resolution, the use that will be made of them, rights and conditions of use of the photos. If it is necessary to use some photos also during the event, it is essential to define it independently, in order to be able to send 'live' photos.
6) Organizing and archiving photos: it is wrong to think that the work ends at the end of the match or competition. After editing the photos, it is time to organise them for internal use and external distribution. For each photo it is essential to have a caption, the title of the metadata and in general work on all the information that will also help in the future to reconstruct the immortalized moment: date, time, place, event, name of the protagonist or sponsor, just to give a few examples. When it comes to archiving the photos, it is recommended to use cloud-based digital asset management software, which allows uploads from different photographers and downloads from different users, be they media, sponsors or organizers. The advice is to always back up the original files as well, for whatever needs may arise in the future.
7) Avoiding taking something for granted: Even if everything has been organized perfectly, don't take for granted what is not obvious. So make sure that all conditions are ideal for working, even at the cost of seeming punctilious. Will there be a workstation during the event? Will there be internet connection? Will there be a closet or safety deposit box where you can leave your equipment during breaks? Is a special dress code necessary? The answer to these questions will prevent you from finding yourself with unpleasant surprises at the last moment.