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Frisky Apr 18, 2010 4:38 AM

Advice on shootin golf please.
I normally shoot 95 % indoors, covering a lot of basketball.
Monday my BB team are having a "Golf Day" and I am off to capture (hopefully) some action.
I will be using my 1DMk3 with 70-200 and a 400D with 17-40. I have a 2x convertor too.
Any tips advice would be great.
Heres hoping for some sun shine !

Mark1616 Apr 18, 2010 6:36 AM

Hi Frisky,

I know this is basically the same as my PM to you, but I thought it worth putting the info here in case anyone else is looking to shoot golf in the future.

I would run a few test today if you can with the 2x TC to see how sharp you are getting at 400mm and see if you need to pull back slightly or stop down a little. Depending on your output (print, web etc) this might not be an issue. Get good shutter speed, you have things happening very fast. Single focus, not servo.

Initially we think the drive is going to be the most impressive piece of action, however with most peoples skills it just shows the bad form..... get a couple but don't focus on this. The most interesting shots are those with an added element. Bunker shots are my favorite, capturing the ball leaving the bunker with the sand going everywhere. Honestly you will find yourself willing everyone to end up in the bunkers. The next best are the approach shots, at the level you are looking most of these will be pretty close so position yourself to get the flag in the frame to add context. Just make sure you are there in plenty of time and not moving when the golfer is swinging.

I've only shot this once for a charity day and spent about 5 hours shooting so did my usual trick of checking out Getty Images before going to see the angles the pros were getting and then just learnt on the job.

This is the sort of photo I'm talking about.... fortunately this one includes both elements of bunker and flag :)

frank-in-toronto Apr 18, 2010 9:00 AM

Just another opinion
This isn't your first sporting event so don't take any of what I say as a personal criticism. This posting serves me as a summary of how-i-do-it so i can just file this for future reference.

Equipment: water bottle, still camera, P&S with HD video, map of course, distinctive hat.

Get all the tee shots. Then blaze around the course getting the rest. Ask the club staff earlier if you can use a cart as you are the "Event Photographer". Play it up a bit. Not too much. Tell him what you intend. They may not even allow it! Better check first. Point out your hat so he knows he you are on the course.

People want to see themselves. These are obviously not Pro level. Make sure you get everybody on the course at least twice. Group shots are vital. Funny shots are less important but if you see the opportunity, take it.

I co-hosted our company's yearly golf tourny for 8 years and have taken the pics for 2 more corporate golf events. Not that I know a lot, but I know what average guys want to see.

Lemmee think how I did it:
1. Establishing shots. All signs. Especially club name. and club house (in the morning). If your starting early a couple of dreamy sunrise shots are easy. if the group is having breakfast together, get some then too.
2. All groups just before they tee off. The starter will want them ready and you can grab them. Make sure they all have their club of choice. Careful with the sun since most will be wearing caps. Maybe shade pics or a well placed fill if you know how.
3. All tee shots. Practice a bit so you can consistently get the moving ball in the shot. I did this with a P&S:

He wiffled,, which was funny, but the point is you can get action on the tee. Always shoot from the players facing side (those lefties will make you move fast).
4. Move to the course. Depending on how many groups you have, figure out where your leaders are and get in front of them. Get all signs. Especially the ones that display the hole # and layout. Get some of the water jugs if you still have those and johnny-on-the-spots. Be respectful. No people in the toiletry pics.
5. If there are ladies involved, I usually speak privately to each one and give them first veto on any pics. and i DELETE them right away. You're building your brand. If anyone asks me to get rid of a shot, I confirm later that he/she are serious and do it. Since everyone knows there will be pictures taken and, after all, they are in public, you won't get too many of these requests.
6. Bunker shots (long lens), water shots (from the side), carts being driven. Odds and ends. This isn't a documentary. It's a recording of a fun event. Keep it light. You should carry with you a satellite view of the course unless you know it well. It's easy to lose track of where the next hole is when you're cutting across.
7. I try to make a short clip of everyone's putt in on the final hole. and then another group shot (everyone should be holding their putter.
8. Club house shots. Host. guests. careful with shots of people drinking or eating. can be something they shouldn't be doing (suppose one is an alky), and people eating and chomping don't look at their best. don't be afraid to get candid tho. but review/delete before distributing.
9. More short clips of prizes being awarded. Movies (with sound) make the event.
10. Post event, be sure you get the pics out for the next day. Even just posting them all on Flickr or Picaso. Act promptly if anyone has any suggestions.

Later, make available a cd or dvd of the event to the organizer. and archive your stuff. you may be asked to do it again if you're any good. In years to come, these photos will gain value. eventually, you know it, they're priceless.

anyway, that's how i do it. quickly typed. forgive me any typos.

Mark1616 Apr 18, 2010 10:06 AM


Originally Posted by frank-in-toronto (Post 1081556)
I co-hosted our company's yearly golf tourny for 8 years and have taken the pics for 2 more corporate golf events. Not that I know a lot, but I know what average guys want to see.

Cool, do you have some examples to share as I love to see golf shots? Which camera/lens combo did you work with?

frank-in-toronto Apr 18, 2010 10:30 AM

I've not hidden that I'm a P&S upgrading to dslr. I used what I had at the time. I saw several of my co-workers try their best with fancy-shmancy (one guy even had a medium format model iirc). When I got tired of their poor shots, lack of enthusiasm and tardiness in presenting the results I started doing it myself.

What I think I'm pretty good at is knowing what THAT target audience wants. While those bunker shots with dust are interesting, you'll spend a lot of time just waiting for some poor loser to end up in the bunker near where you are. Then amateurs sometimes don't take any sand. They skim. So there goes your shot. I was interested in getting people pics and event memories. Your goals/interests are certainly different than mine.

Frisky Apr 18, 2010 10:47 AM

Thanks Frank, I have a cart with driver lined up so I am halfway there!
Cheers Dave

frank-in-toronto Apr 18, 2010 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by Frisky (Post 1081589)
Thanks Frank, I have a cart with driver lined up so I am halfway there!
Cheers Dave

My last thought before I go out for coffee...You're actually the most important person there. Without you this would be just one more golf round out of many. It's you that preserves the memories. I know my family laughs at me when I tell them to take memories, not pictures. That's ok. They'll come along.
wear a hat...frank

Mark1616 Apr 18, 2010 11:03 AM

Frank I think you are getting the wrong idea, I'm just saying what makes the most interesting shot and what people like. The majority of shots sold were those with context, very few went for the drive. As I said, get a couple of drives but didn't want Dave to get bogged down with only shooting these for each hole as once you have each person with it there is little interest left.

Possibly I didn't clarify what I said clearly, the most interesting shots are around the green, they are not the only shots to get and I didn't' suggest only shooting if someone was in a bunker but it is a bonus. The two times that you know all players will be together are at tees and greens so little point chasing over the middle of the hole. If you want you can do a tee then head down to the hole while the players go to their balls and have time to position for the approach shots.

How many groups are going out that you need to cover? Do you know the course? With the group numbers you can work out how best to get coverage and work out which holes you want to focus on rather than just chancing your luck. Do any other them have water near tees or greens, anything to add interest? You don't need to take everything in tight either so the other camera with the wide lens is a good option.

frank-in-toronto Apr 18, 2010 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by Mark1616 (Post 1081596)
...get a couple of drives but didn't want Dave to get bogged down with only shooting these for each hole as once you have each person with it there is little interest left.

... position for the approach shots.

Absolutely. No disagreement. Now that i have some better equipment, I'll be moving towards those approach shots. Some will be great.

JohnG Apr 18, 2010 12:05 PM

OK - the key to taking shots here is to understand YOUR audience. How serious do the people take their golf? If they're serious about it, they're not going to like shots that show bad form. If they're not serious they might not care so much about form. They will likely all like shots of them goofing off a bit. And some decent action shots. Typically pitch & put shots are nice. Drive shots after the follow-thru are the classic shot. But in any case - FACES are key.

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