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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2002-05-27

Dear Snappy:
By Snappy

(Editor's note: "Dear Snappy" returns to Sports Shooter after a one-month hiatus during which she postponed a cruise to the Caribbean aboard the "Grandeur of the Seas" in order to teach a class at Reuter's University entitled, "How to use the "Multiply Pucks" filter in Photoshop 6".)

Dear Snappy,

I'm a local freelancer here who specializes in youth sports. You know, little leagues and stuff, and once in awhile I get an assignment from the local paper to do a high school game. But I just got a dream assignment -- the alumni magazine from a university wants shots of one of their alums who plays for the local major league team. In short, I've got a photo pass for a big-league game. I'm excited to get in with "the big boys" but don't want to get in the way.

What do I do?

Signed,
Psyched but Scared.

------

Dear Psyched,

Congratulations! As the old saying goes, "many are called, few are chosen" -- reminds me of my dating days - HAH!

You're wise to ask for advice. Many a freelancer or non-sports shooter who's climbed into a photo well and not known how to act. And trust me, there is a way to act.

Let's look at some do's and don'ts:

DO -- remember your job. You're there to TAKE PICTURES! If you were there to anything but, you'd be in the stands.

DON'T -- gawk at the players, ask them for autographs during batting practice, ask them (heaven forbid) to pose for a picture with you because you're from the same small town, and don't try to make small talk with them if they wander near you. They're "at the office", despite how relaxed the atmosphere might be.

DO -- act like you've been there before. Even if you haven't.

DON'T -- remember that the others there are also working. and at least half of them are on a VERY STRICT DEADLINE, which at a baseball game that turns into a pitcher's duel is the wire shooter's WORST NIGHTMARE EVER. During these early innings he or she has to make pictures from whatever happened (or more often than not -- what didn't happen) and they don't have time for small talk, or advice on "how many pictures do you shoot during a game?" You'll sense the right time to ask a question.

DO -- watch how the others work. Despite the dire warnings I just gave you, most pro shooters are nice, helpful, and willing to help a "newbie" out. During a break between innings, if nothing's going on, feel free to briefly introduce yourself, etc. If you've got a question, feel free Just remember that when the batter steps into the box, to quote the immortal words of Wayne and Garth, "Game On!

DON'T -- be intimidated. Everyone in the photo well was once in your position, and most shooters out there are more than willing to share their advice, given the right time and place.

DO -- be alert! Foul balls and overthrows come fast and hard -- and if you're looking through a long lens you might never see it coming. Listen for others warning you that a ball is coming, and if a liner is coming into your box don't hesitate to shout "heads up!" so that others are aware too.

DON'T -- come unprepared. check your film or cards, batteries, etc. before you get down onto the field. Simple advice, but you'd be surprised...

DO -- have fun and take full advantage of the opportunity! Especially if you don't get the chance to see big league ball from that close very often. Even though a game can take three hours, if you've only shooting one player, he'll only be at the plate for 3-5 at-bats, and might only get a couple of balls hit to him -- it might go by faster than you think!

Follow Ol' Snappy's guidelines and the odds will be much better that you'll get another "big-league" assignment instead of becoming another funny story for those "pro guys" to tell next time they're at the hotel bar.


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