I recently had an opportunity to shoot my first college football game. This is just my second season shooting high school football, so I was excited for the chance to shoot at this higher level.
I didn’t really know what to expect. My biggest fear was not knowing the protocol- where I could and couldn’t shoot from on the sidelines, what kind of access I’d have on the field, etc.
I made sure to get to the stadium early to pickup my press pass and get settled into the press box. Most of my anxieties were squashed as soon as I met the Director of Sports Media Relations. He couldn’t have been nicer, and he answered all of my questions. I also met some of the team’s staff photographers, and they also went over some things to look for before and during the game. I was feeling better about things.
I like to be on the field about 30 minutes or so before a game starts. This gives me time to take some test shots, get my exposure settings right, and sort of feel out the atmosphere. I try to figure out where I want to be for the tunnel run, coin toss, and other pre-game stuff.
The weather wasn’t so good this night- it had been raining all day and the radar map didn’t show that it was going to let up. This meant I had to protect my gear, which makes shooting a little tougher since you can’t review shots as you go along as easily. Luckily, my deadline wasn’t until the next day, so I could just shoot away and review them all later.
Once the game started, I settled in, and after a few plays, it seemed to flow alot like the high school games I’ve shot. One difference about college vs high school sports is that they’re generally a little easier to shoot. The athletes are better, and the action is a little more predictable, which makes getting into position a little easier.
The game flow was good- both teams played pretty evenly through the first half. Luckily, I was in a good position for one of the home team’s scoring drives, and I was able to get a shot of a touchdown catch in the end zone, which made it onto the front page of the paper I was shooting for.
It was a great reward to be able to come away with something like that photo in the paper. I had a blast shooting my first college game and hope to be able to shoot some more this season.