No matter what you’re photographing the secret is to find the story, even if your subject is something as simple as football. It’s not just getting clean pics of guys challenging for the ball and making sure you get the goals (you’ll miss some unless you are getting frames from other photographers – yes that’s how some of the big names never miss a goal) and celebrations.
Last weekend I shot Dundee’s win at Motherwell in the SPFL Premiership, a pretty much run of the mill game and not one that most people would think had much of a story, but there were several.
From Dundee’s perspective (and that’s my angle, I shoot Dundee attack every week and my audience is largely their fans) there was the return to the squad of captain Kevin Thomson, who was on the bench – so I had to make sure I got pics of him, as he wasn’t starting I made sure I got a pic of him pre-match. He got on the pitch in the second half and I got action shots and a photo of him applauding the support at the end, first story done – and a couple of them made the paper.
The next story was the return to Motherwell of David Clarkson, the Dundee striker spent ten years at Fir Park and is a local hero in that part of Lanarkshire, not just for his exploits in their colours but also because he was the nephew of Phil O’Donnell who died while playing alongside David on the Fir Park pitch back in 2007. The only player to have worn O’Donnell’s number 10 jersey since that is Clarkson – but the mascot at the top of this post had a replica of Phil’s shirt. I’m not 100% sure but I think this was David’s first return to Motherwell to play for another team – so task number two was to get action pics of Clarkson.
From my point of view this story looked like it would be the main one of the day, as Clarkson scored so early in the game that my first frame of the match with my 70-200 lens was his goal – result – didn’t make the paper though, they used an agency shot from the other end.
It was interesting and refreshing to hear respectful applause from the Motherwell fans after David had scored – applause for an opposition goal isn’t something that happens very often.
Thomson’s return from injury and Clarkson’s return to Motherwell were the stories that I knew about before arriving at the ground but the next couple were totally unexpected.
Dundee keeper Kyle Letheren got injured in the warm up which meant that summer signing Scott Bain made his league debut and that young right back Andy Black would be the designated substitute goalie.
My pics of Bain made the paper but young Andy didn’t, but it means they have a picture of him on file for when he makes the squad in the future.
The last story from my angle was even more unexpected, a couple of the Dundee players, Gary Harkins and Jim McAlister had noticed the craze of adding images of WWE wrestler Randy Orton to clips of people falling over in tribute to his #RKOouttanowhere move and the commentators’ reaction to it before posting them on Vine – and the two players decided to bring it to life when Harkins scored.
I’d seen a couple of the vines but not made the connection until I posted a pic of one of the images on the back of my camera on twitter at half time and got loads of responses from people who spotted what it was.
Dundee posted a clip of the celebration on their official YouTube channel and on their newly created Vine account and it simply went viral – as I write they have received 1,184,200 hits on YouTube and around 2.5 million loops on Vine, helped by Orton mentioning them in a tweet and reposting of the video on loads of major websites.
The paper I primarily shoot for didn’t cover the story at all but the Daily Mail did and they used one of my pics of the celebration on Monday.
There’s alway a story, sometimes lots of them – If I was just covering the game I’m not sure I’d have realised what they were. I shoot them for my audience, if I’d been primarily covering Motherwell the stories would have been different.
What’s today’s story?