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Old Jan 20, 2010, 8:50 AM   #1
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Default Golf Course pics, re advice.

Well at least I must be doing something right, as I've been asked by a local golf club to take some shots of their course for publishing in their magazine and their website. Does anyone have any experience in shooting golf courses, eg angles, fairways, greens etc etc, I would like to get a high vantage point but that's out, so anyone who can help I would be very grateful.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 9:04 AM   #2
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An idea to consider.

Sometimes its good to shoot a familiar subject from an interesting vantage point. For example, lay on the ground to shoot toddlers at play. It's interesting because we are 5 to 6 feet tall and we're accustomed to seeing toddlers from the top angled down vantage point. Laying on the ground brings a different perspective.

As a golfer, I am accustomed to seeing a golf course shot from tee to green. That's what I see when I play the course. I stand on the tee and look towards the green.

However, a more interesting shot for me is when the photographer shoots the golf course backwards. The photographer is on the green shooting back towards the tee. Or the photographer shoots across multiple holes.

From a marketing standpoint, it NEVER hurts a golf course shot if you have attractive young ladies in the shots actually playing golf. A photo of attractive ladies enjoying the golf course is a wonderful marketing tool.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 11:59 AM   #3
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i personally don't have any experience with this type of shoot. but i am guessing they want a variety of shot.

you will want your super wide angle lens to get some nice sweeping shots that show-off the landscape of the course. be sure to put it in the context of it surroundings so people can tell that it is this particular course and not generic. make sure to get some shots of their signs, which can be used for their brochures near the map section.

get some shots of people playing golf, the classic just tee-d off shot, a putting shot, etc, the cliche shots i am sure they will expect.

but don't forget some creative perspectives too. get down low on the ground and get some shots of the ball falling in the cup, etc. maybe a shot from where the tee is sitting, a low to the ground, "balls eye" shot. adding some extra creative shots will impress them.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 12:16 PM   #4
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Talk to them about their "signature holes". Which ones are they? What is special about their course. Travel the course and make notes yourself about what holes are interesting.

Like any landscape project, lighting is important here. When you select the areas you want to photograph you're going to have to make notes about your shooting position and sun and come up with a plan for time of day to take given shots. It might take a couple trips to get all the shots. And you might have to re-schedule due to weather.

You'll want some early morning / dusk shots - so plan on one or two - bring a tripod.

And now for the biggie - you're taking marketing photos. Like most marketing / commercials - don't rely on reality - reality is boring. STAGE the shots with people. You want people that look good, wearing proper golf attire and can demonstrate good form (for that "classic tee off" shot). Don't rely on the general person on the course to be your model. And, of course, any models you DO use, you'll need model releases for. So make sure to get those. Some ideas for people - clubhouse, proshop and general on-the-course fun shots (people walking, smiling etc). Really the people shots are saying: good golfers shoot here, attractive golfers shoot here, people have fun shooting here. Then there are the course shots - those signature hole shots. Gotta have blue sky - no grey - no blown white sky because shot is taken at noon etc. Go to a book store and look at golf calendars for ideas of framing and perspective. Remember you're selling this specific course - and the attractive people that golf there - not golf itself. So stay away from artistic generic golf shots of the cup, etc. That cup looks the same on plenty of golf courses.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 5:00 PM   #5
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As a 8 handicaper i need:

1. Empty courses (don't wanna see anybody in "my" course).
2. Golden hour (morn or dawn): almost a must.
3. Highness. You absolutely need to be high for wide angle shots.
4. Details: autumm trees, flags, posts, driving range, tees, greens, signals, etc.
5. Marketing? Then you need a lot of shots of the club house and facilities.

Shot as much as you can, as better as you can, and let them decide.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 5:21 PM   #6
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I'm awesome at golf, as long as no one's watching

That's pretty sweet you got asked to do that!
We expect pictures when you get them done!
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Old Jan 22, 2010, 11:50 PM   #7
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Take as many pictures as you can over a period of different hours of the day to capture the different light. If you have access to a golf cart that might help making walking the course to capture all the different holes and areas easier on you.

Make sure you get highest resolution photos possible of the Golf Club House and any eating place/snack bar in it. The Golf Course Sign at the entrance don't forget about that. If the course has any water fountains in the middle of a lake/pond capture that.

Also the earlier suggestion of ladies playing on the course is not a bad idea at all especially if they are younger (say in their 20s or 30s).

What I'd try not to capture is maintenance staff working in greens or mowing grass, people standing around just talking and a shot of just the hole/cup -- if you want to get a hole shot put the green in the shot as well and maybe even some fairway.

Hope this helps -- I'd say if I was doing it I'd aim for coming away with 500 shots to choose from and edit down getting it to the best 50 to 100 to pass along to the person who is having you do the shooting assignment.


Last edited by Photo 5; Jan 22, 2010 at 11:58 PM.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 6:02 PM   #8
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I would take a look at what the top clubs have done with their sites.

Here is St. Andrews in the UK http://www.standrews.org.uk/About-Us/Gallery.aspx which has some pretty good shots. Do some digging to set your expectations of what to capture to do justice to the club that has spoken to you.
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Old Jan 26, 2010, 4:35 AM   #9
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Well folks, I didn't mention that I play golf (6), and got selected for the Winter Alliance team, and yes you've guessed it, the comp was on the course I'm going to photograph. I got away with playing ok, but most of the time my mind was on the composition of the pic, rather than the shot I was about to play. It did look a bit bland, but that will soon alter when the trees start coming into leaf, the one thing I did notice was, the fact that the course is very flat, so I guess I'll have to pick the best vantage points on the few mounds that do exist. I've already followed your advice and studied loads of golf mags etc, and I can't wait to get cracking, especially the clubhouse / restaurant shots as the lighting looks great. Thanks a lot fellows.
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