WOW!!!! What an unbelievable playoff game!!!!

It came down to literally the last seconds of the game, when Atlanta came back from behind with a beautiful field goal by Matt Bryant for the big win and to take the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game this coming Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The winner of that game goes to the Super Bowl! I’ll be there  this coming weekend again shooting for the Falcons team (thanks Jimmy, Mike, Matt, Lynn and crew) and I could barely be more psyched! Post season baby! Woo Hoo!!

When they gave out our assignments, besides regular game coverage, I volunteered to not just shoot the action, but to shoot some of the moments surrounding the game, and so I included a few of those here as well. The energy and excitement in the Georgia Dome was just incredible and it was amazing just to be there and soak it all in, but there’s wasn’t much time for that, so here we go:

Above: I took this one during pre-game warmups when the Defense forms a circle and get each other pumped up with some serious “BOOM!” chants and lots of smack talk. It’s an awesome thing to see, but a bit risky to do what I did here: I had my camera mounted on the end of a monopod, facing up toward the top of the dome with a 14-24mm lens (at 4,000 ISO) and shot straight up. The guy who is off-center lead the chant and when he’s done, he jumps up and then dives to the ground and so I had to be careful my camera didn’t get in his way — especially since all those guys would have turned on me in an instant. LOL!).

Above: Here’s one of my remote shots with the 14mm. I went a little too wide and put the camera a little too far forward so you don’t see any of the massive smoke and pyrotechnics going off, but this Sunday I’ll move it back farther, plus I’ll have three remotes going from three different angles. I really like the idea of seeing a lot of the dome, crowd, cheerleaders, drumline, etc, but at this small size you can’t appreciate it. It looks much better full screen on my laptop, but alas, it just needs better execution, and I’m very lucky I get to try it again this weekend. By the way — see that guy holding a monopod up right just player the player on the left. That’s me!

Above: I just love these overhead super-wide angle shots during the pre-game warmup.

Above: This one is right after the win, heading into the locker room from the field. It was a very emotional few minutes of the game.

Above: Falcon’s Defensive End John Abraham between plays. I totally dig his tattoos, and a shot I took of him on the bench last season is in my football portfolio so I was particularly drawn to making this image. The subject of this shot, like the one in my port, are the tats, so I framed it so it was nice and tight, but I really like the way the NFL logo on his towel becomes part of the focus of the image.

Above: Here’s the coin-toss right before the kick-off with the Captains of both team. If you look up at the dome, you can see the coin in mid air. This was a hand-held shot, I’m down on one knee with the 14-24mm at 14mm aiming up.

Above: Here’s a game action shot, but I wasn’t as focused on the game as usual as I was looking for opportunities to shoot things and players surrounding the game.

Above: To stop a Falcon, you have to take flight. See, this is why they don’t let me be a color commentator in the booth — I would actually say lame things like that. LOL!

Above: I kept thinking I was going to capture a great shot of Wilson getting sacked, but that guy is amazingly slippery and got out of some situations that would have gotten most other QB’s sacked for a huge loss.

Above: It’s good!!!!

Above: Shot of kickers get little love, so I thought I’d toss one in here just to say I did.

Above: Sorry, this lane is closed!  (That was courtesy of “Lame Caption Man”).

Above: This is what it looks like when the Falcon’s kicker split the uprights to win the game for Atlanta. I so wanted to turn toward the field and get Matt Bryant’s reaction, or the other player’s reaction, but instead I turned around and saw a stadium cheering on its feet.

Above: Nothing like a genuinely happy fan!!!!

OK, how about some “Behind the Scenes” shot? (mostly taken with my iPhone). 

Above: Here’s a glimpse of the media work room (for still and video crews covering the event). They had some serious Southern Style cooking for us — Fried Chicken, BBQ Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Cornbread, Potato Salad and Apple Cobbler. Just enough calories and carbs to slow you to almost a full stop! LOL.

Above: This iPhone Pano is from the pressroom, where we work after the game getting our final images together for downloading. The Falcons have a runner who comes and takes your cards from you right after the initial player introductions (when the first come on the field through the fire and smoke), and then at the 2-minute warning before Halftime, and then we turn them in again up here, where by buddy Mike Benford and I spend an hour or so sorting images and talking about the game over a soda and some stale popcorn. The food and drink might not be fancy, but you can’t beat the view. 

Above: Here’s my Camera Gear load-out for the game. 

Above: here’s my remote gear, in a rolling Pelican Case. I also have three steel safety cables as well. 

Above: That’s me, testing the remote camera shortly before they do the player intros. Notice the PocketWizard in my hand (I use that for triggering the remotes), and the super-stylin’ neon green vest! ;-)

Above: Oh yeah! Oh yeah! How ’bout we go to the NFC Championship Game next week! 

My thanks to the Falcon team photographers, the always cool Jimmy Cribbs, Matt Lange, Lynn Bass, and Michael Benford. Some of the best and most talented guys out there, and I’m truly honored that you let me shoot for you guys during such an important season.

Also, of course a big congrats to the Atlanta Falcons for pulling off a HUGE win, and let’s do it again this week when a very tough 49ers come to town. Oh yeah, one more thing: GO FALCONS! #riseup!

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.


  1. Great stuff! Those workrooms really shrink come playoff time. It would be great to see the Pats and the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Have fun this weekend.

  2. Besides the images themselves, it’s nice to understand and get a glimpse of what actually goes on during a NFL game being a photographer. Are you able to set up as many remotes as you want? Are there restrictions on where they can be and what they can capture? Are you restricted to certain areas of the field during game play? You make it appear fairly simple, but I’m sure it is very intense.

  3. This might be a silly question but since you enjoy sports photography so much why isn’t there a Kelby Training class where you are teaching it? It’s something I know I’d like to see.

    • Have you seen Dave Black’s class on High School Football photography?

      • I have and it’s good but Scott’s teaching style is very different from Dave’s. So although it’s similar ground there’s no reason why Scott couldn’t cover some form of sport photography too.

      • It is so hard to shoot NFL, first you need to have a 10k lens, a 2k lens and 26k cameras, then you need to know someone very, very important in the league, then there is still only one chance in ____ you will get to shoot them. :)

        Seriously, most of it is OJT.

      • Should say 2-6k camera

  4. Maybe you’ve discussed this before but I’m curious about the cards. Are they provided by the club/organization for which you are shooting or do you use your own? If the latter, do you get them back somehow after they have been downloaded? How does that work, logistically?

  5. I must admit, I was looking for you on the TV when we were watching the game. What an awesome game it was!! Thanks again for the great shots and showing us behind the scenes. Also, thanks for the “gear shot.”

  6. Great shots as always, Scott. It was nice to see some more of the sideline action (although I like the game shots!) and the media workroom. I tried to play “Spot the Scott” during the game, but I was unsuccessful. Were you roaming the Atlanta sideline? The Seahawks sideline was facing the network’s main camera position, and I figured you wouldn’t be on THAT side of the field! We need a spotter’s guide for this weekend!! :-)

  7. Nicely done, Scott as usual!!! I’m glad you did some stuff other than players and action stuff! That really add to the mood of the game! I love your camera on the monopod shots … very cool idea. Boy, thank goodness the Seattle coach called a time out during the try for the field goal attempt, which was missed, or the Falcons could be watching next week’s game instead of playing! :-) Thanks for sharing your photos! Very much appreciated!


  8. I was watching the game and I wondered if you were there! I was scoping every photographer and camera man in hopes of seeing you! I LOVE the huddle picture you captured. WOW!

  9. Y’know…I think you might have a knack for this football stuff…. ;-)

  10. Awesome job Scott, the journalism of shooting a game, game photos and even crowd shots all in one (and no refs). :)
    I stayed up late in anticipation of these photos and being first commenter but the sandman creeped up.

  11. Scott – Great stuff as always!! Hope you get to follow the Falcons all the way to the Superbowl. Manning and the Broncos are out – so I am pulling for the Falcons. Shooting an NFL game is on my bucket list. Maybe someday I will get the chance but for now your images inspire me to keep getting better!!

  12. Scott- Good stuff lots of good new angles. Love the super wide shots.

  13. Fantastic – great shots and definitely a great game as well.

  14. Enjoyed all your photos! Thanks for sharing behind the scenes.

  15. If I was at the edge of my seat watching the game from home, I can only imagine being on the field. Greats shots Scott.

  16. Thanks for sharing your work on such a continuous basis. You’ve got an army of shooters following you and learning the nuances of getting better shots!

  17. Cool stuff, Scott. i love the huddle shots. You think the kickers get no love, try getting a great shot of the long snapper next year. :) (sincerely, proud aunt of a long snapper)

  18. You Rock!! I am enjoying your ‘behind the scene’s’ photos.
    Hope to shoot my Fins someday!!

  19. What a pity that amazing Russel Wilson and his dangerous team didn’t go ahead (I’m a Bronco’s fan by the way), but I love your texts and photos from NFL coverage.

  20. Awesome work and what a terrific/terrifying/awesome game.

  21. Thanks especially for the behind the scenes photographer’s insider images: equip packing, media room, etc.( Love BBQ) I can imagine the concern and ???bravery of shooting that huddle with camera UNDER the team. R U Nuts?

  22. Thanks for a shot of Julio! :-)

  23. These are fantastic Scott. To agree, the behind the scenes stuff is excellent. I really enjoy that.
    Thanks for posting them up. Go Falcons!

  24. Love the shot of Wilson, thanks for posting. Great shots.

  25. I hope you get a laugh out of these morons. Lucky you don’t PAY for a seat BEHIND one of them,

  26. I noticed the 24-120 f4. Was expecting to see the 24-70 f2.8 as listed on your gear page. Why the slower glass for an indoor shoot? This is my next purchase decsision. Would love to hear the rationale. Thanks!

  27. I doubt you’ll see this, but I thought I’d try to make a suggestion. In your second picture (the pregame circle pic) why not rotate it 180 degrees? I love the shot, but with most of them being on the top, it gives me the feeling that it’s upside down. Just my humble opinion to such an awesome photographer such as yourself. I love reading your NFL posts.

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