My Favorite Football Shots of The 2012 Season

I only shot four more games this year than I did in 2011, but having a Season Photo Credential to shoot the Bucs (for Zuma Press) sure made it a lot easier (the stadium is just 25 minutes from my house).

I didn’t get to shoot any college games this year (just NFL) but while the Bucs were on the road, I did get to shoot a few other NFL games, which is always a blast. This season I shot 14 games in all (with one more to come — the Falcons first playoff game at home). But until then, here are the teams I got to shoot this season (so far):

  1. Tampa Bay Bucs
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Carolina Panthers
  5. Washington Redskins
  6. Atlanta Falcons
  7. Denver Broncos
  8. New Orleans Saints
  9. Detroit Lions
  10. San Diego Chargers
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Chicago Bears
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Philadelphia Eagles
  15. St. Louis Rams

There are only four NFL teams I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot yet: The Seattle Seahawks [shooting them on Sunday in Atlanta], Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and the Baltimore Ravens.

And as we're kicking off this New Year, I thought I'd take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much shot with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: Nikon D4 and a D3s. Main lens: 400mm f/2.8. Secondary lenses: 70-200 f/2.8,24-120mm f.4, and 15mm Sigma fisheye.  NOTE:  These look much better larger, so please click on them to see a larger size). Here they are (in no particular order).


There ya have it, folksâ”-my favorite shots from this season 
Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts once again this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it's been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)

P.S. Today was supposed to be Part II of my “Best of the Blog” but I got in too late (more on that soon), so I’m shooting for that tomorrow (if all goes well). See you then. 

  1. Scott, my fav is the one just before the stadium shot (#12), 2 good faces and the ball! I would love to shoot a Clemson game, hope to one day (my alma). Hope you had a good week. :)

  2. Hi Scott. I’d love to know if you have some kind of process for creating the border and text on these – a blog or video would be great, or point me to one if you’ve done that before. Great shots too. Thanks

    1. Hi Gen: I’ve been told I ‘undershoot’ the games (I literally don’t hit the shutter button enough) and I wind up shooting between 1,100 and 1,500 shots per game. I know guys that shoot 2,000+ in the first half. It’s something I’ve got to work on.

      1. Thanks. Usually all that people see are these final images and have no idea of the tough work behind that certain image. You are doing amazing work on inspiring the photo arena, thanks for that.

  3. Great shots! Love the panorama of the Georgia dome. Have a great time with Jimmy Cribb this weekend I hope I get to shoot with him someday. You know shooting from the sidelines in the Georgia Dome is on my bucket list.

    1. Jimmy is just the nicest guy. A real gentlemen, and his crew (including Mike Benford and Matt Lange) are some of the best guys anywhere. As much as I enjoy shooting here in Tampa, I always have more fun shooting with them. It’s an real honor to get to shoot alongside them. :)

      1. That must have been who I saw!!!…lol. Happy New Year to you and you family as well!!

  4. Love your sports endeavors! I admire how you have grown in shooting football. I have been following you as I was a sports shooter for the papers in Philadelphia years ago. Keep up the great work and have fun :))

  5. Great shots, no mention of the Minnesota Vikings on that list. Did you leave them off intentionally because they knocked “your” Chicago Bears out of a chance to get to the playoffs? :)

    1. That would have gotten them kicked out just out of principle, but in reality I just didn’t get a chance to shoot them this season. I did cover a Vikings game against the Falcons last season though. I felt bad about Ponder not being to play in that playoff game. They had a great season and it was a heartbreaker for him to have to sit that one out. Webb has a lot of talent though.

  6. Scott, Those are amazing. I am a firm believer that the equipment does NOT make the photograph, but the woman/man behind the camera. Your shots prove that. Me being a Cowboys fan, I can see Romo yelling “Kill, Kill” as he’s pointing in the shot of him.
    Great stuff my friend!

  7. Ha, I noticed on your list that you avoided the Green Bay Packers. Was this an equipment decision? Are you really trying that hard to avoid running into Aaron Rodgers?

  8. Hi Scott,

    These are fantastic! Being from Denver and not a Manning fan, I love the shot of Manning walking away from the guy yelling! Awesome capture! Thanks for letting us take a walk through your season! Great work!


  9. Scott,
    Thanks for sharing not only your images, but also the story and process behind the captures. I was going to ask you if you had ever shot Ray Lewis’ intro dance, but by your list I see that you have not. I would love to see your version based on you Falcons work.

    Thank you for all that you do for our industry. Good luck in 2013!

  10. Would LOVE a paragraph or two on gear-handling and logistics. You’ve talked in earlier posts about workflow in the media room, but what about on the sidelines? In the sideline shot of you in this post we see two bodies and two lenses. Where do you keep the two other lenses? Fanny pack? Vest? Backpack perhaps? Where do you quickly put the lens you remove? What about other assorted flotsam like extra memory cards, lens cloth, etc? Do you carry an extra battery? When you transition from shooting with the monopod-mounted cam/lens to the shoulder rig, what do you do with the monopod? Do you just hold it in the crook of one arm and hand-hold the other rig? I didn’t notice a QR plate on either camera. How you and other pros deal with the minutia of gear-handling before and during your shoots is something I’m always always trying to learn from. MANY THANKS!

    1. Hi Ed: I use two bodies (I don’t change lenses once the game starts, but I sometimes use a 15mm fisheye before the game, and for the player intros). I don’t carry extra memory cards — I use two 32-GB cards in both cameras, and I’ve never shot 64GB in one camera yet. My 2nd camera is attached with a Black Rapid Strap that goes across my chest and keeps my 2nd body at my side like its in a holster. When the team gets inside the 20 yard line, I’ll usually switch to the 2nd body (with a 24-120mm lens). I either lean my other camera against the back wall (I rotate the lens collar so when I lay the camera down it’s laying on camera’s bottom), or beside me with the monopod collapsed. I keep things pretty simple and light. I’ve done the whole “take the kitchen sink” on the sidelines routine with a Think Tank belt system, but I found I spend more time messing with gear and I enjoy the whole process much less. Hope that helps. :)

  11. Always great to see your football shots, Scott, and I’m looking forward to see more in the future. This has been your best season yet! Glad to see my Pats were represented in 3 of your photos and I love the one of Hernandez being tackled (second one after the dome shot)! Amazing tattoo clarity! :-) I wish these were for sale…but I’m sure there’s licensing issues with the NFL or Zuma Press. I’d get that one in a heartbeat!
    I’ll echo Ed’s comments above asking about gear handling, etc. I’m sure you have a system down now that works for you. It would be helpful if you shared it at some point. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Great shots Scott as always. I always look forward to your football post and seeing the shots you get from your games. My favorite shot is the first one of RGIII. Too bad he he wasn’t at a 100% in yesterdays game….it may have been a different outcome if he was able to run.
    I too would like to know how you use Lightroom to create the poster like images with the border and text. Keep up the great work and look forward to your best and worst shots from the upcoming Atlanta game.

  13. Great shots Scott!
    Will you be shooting any of the playoff games?
    Would love to see some more great Pat’s shots!
    Especially Brady vs Manning if all goes to plan.

  14. Scott,
    I have been a huge fan of yours since becoming a NAPP member in 2005, and have been a Seattle Seahawks fan since August 1, 1976 (their first pre-season game against the 49ers). This is an opportunity too big for me to ignore. I am wondering if you would honor me with an original Scott Kelby photo of the Seahawks from this weekends game against Atlanta? This would be something I would display proudly, and have more meaning to me than any other photo. Plus the story I could tell about getting it, which could be exaggerated to make you appear even more larger than life.
    Wishing you a clean lens and dry weather this weekend.

  15. Scott, Hard to keep this short, but…I’ll be shooting the Pro Bowl for my local weekly newspaper on the 27th with sideline creds. (We don’t have NFL in Hawaii and college ball is on Oahu. I’ve shot lots of H.S. ball and TONS of sports for too many years.) I did my homework and found a starting player, Max Unger, (Seahawks) from KONA and grad of local H.S. JUST ACROSS STREET FROM NORTH HAWAII NEWS, so that is my connection AND assignment. I learned to achieve much of this being a NAPP member for years. Problem is, he’s a CENTER. Usually buried in the pack. ?Any tips on shooting a center and corraling him for a quick interview? Of course, I’ll be shooting everyone else. How cool??? All Stars from EACH NFL team!!!!. I’ll be renting a 400 f2.8 (thanks LP2GO for NAPP Discount). Nikon D3s, D300, BlkRpd Strap, 70-200, 24-70, fisheye, equip belt, mono, etc. What do you do with your big lens at game end when shooting close and wide? (No assistant) Do you ever use a flash? Game starts at 2 and ends around dusk/dark, (Long shadows in 2nd half, praying for light overcast ) outdoor stadium. Thanks NAPP for alll the resourses, education, critiques etc. It’s made me a better photographer over the years. Please return to Hawaii for seminars. alohadios, Jock Goodman

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