When The Little Moments Reveal The Bigger Picture
My name is Rob Foldy, and KelbyOne just released my new class Making Your Pee Wees Look Like Pros. In the class, I go over a lot of quick, easy tips that can take anyone’s images to the next level. One of the many things I share is that great photography is all about storytelling.
Often times, these aren’t peak action moments. Sometimes they are, sure: a horse crossing the finish line to win the Kentucky Derby, the last out of the World Series, the touchdown that sends a high-school football team to their first ever state championship. But often times, it’s the moments in between plays, or immediately following a big moment, that when captured can really tell the best story, and make for some great pictures!
I’d love to share a few images that I’ve made over the past year or so that I believe help illustrate this idea. Each of these images is the result of an event that just occurred, but I believe are more powerful than the actual event itself.
In this image, the shirtless player had just hit a walk-off hit to win the ballgame for his team. In the celebration immediately following (which typically also makes for great photographs), his teammates somehow ended up pulling off his jersey, which resulted in this image. You can tell which team won by looking at his smiling teammate, and see the opposing team walking off the field dejected.
This photo is one of my favorites. This is an image of a pitcher who was just removed from a game, despite pitching seven perfect innings. You may have heard of a no-hitter in baseball, those are quite rare. Even more rare is a perfect game, meaning that the pitcher not only allowed no hits by the opposing team, but also didn’t walk anyone and his teammates did not commit an error. The manager had a very good reason for pulling him out of the game: this pitcher was prone to getting blisters if he threw too much, and their team was about to head into the playoffs, where they would need him to be healthy. It’s rare to have a dugout this empty during a game, and this image speaks volumes about what must be going through this player’s mind. Instead of celebrating the tremendous accomplishment of throwing a perfect game, he sits alone in the dugout.
This frame shows both the starting and backup quarterbacks from the Miami Dolphins walking off the field after a win. Last year was the best season the Dolphins have had in a very long time, despite their starter getting hurt late in the season and having to rely on solid play from their backup. I believe this image reveals the closeness of their relationship, and I think it was that kind of closeness on the entire team that allowed them to have the season they did.
At first glance, this may look like a typical Gatorade bath shot, but there’s a bit more than meets the eye. This was an interim head-coach, and they’re usually not the ones who get to experience that kind of celebration and support from the players.
These players are jumping in celebration after a big play that occurred on the field, but by leaping into the air, they positioned themselves against a much cleaner background than the cluttered NFL sidelines.
Now that you have a glimpse into the types of moments to keep an eye out for, here are a few more photographs that should hold their own without me having to explain them:
Of course, life isn’t always happy, celebration photographs. The most difficult assignment of my career was covering the remaining three Miami Marlins games of last season after their star pitcher died tragically in a boating accident. As a photojournalist, my job is to tell the story: good, bad or indifferent. I honestly hope nobody ever has to tell another story like that one:
This last image is just a pretty picture of a guy playing baseball. Sometimes, it’s just that simple. Photography is fun. Sports are fun. So just go out and make fun pictures!
I hope this helps you be prepared for the little moments that best tell the story of what you’re photographing. For more information on this, and a lot more tips on how to create powerful sports images, be sure to check out my new class!
Rob Foldy is a professional sports and portrait photographer based in Miami, Florida. You can see more of his work at RobFoldyPhotography.com, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. His career has grown to serve multiple private clients, universities, sports teams and top-tier wire services both across the U.S. and globally. In addition to being the team photographer for Major League Baseball franchise the Miami Marlins, other notable clients include the Miami Dolphins, Getty Images, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Rob’s commercial clients include Nike, Beats by Dre and Lexus, and his editorial work has been featured in magazines, on websites and used on television programs for The New York Times, Microsoft, ESPN’s SportsCenter and many more. He has covered events such as the NBA Finals, NCAA College Football Playoffs, NFL championship games, and has shot a Major League Baseball no-hitter. His unique perspective and strong attention to detail set Rob’s images apart from the competition.