Usefulness of the photographs

Author: Gaurav Birla August 30, 2010 1 Comment


Usefulness of any photograph decides whether the photographer of that picture is good or not. Selling pictures is not an easy task if you do know what the things that make any photograph useful are. Commonly the sports photographs serve two purposes; either they use in magazines, newspapers or they are used in commercial photography. In other words they can be used for editorial purposes, like in case of newspapers and magazines; or they can be used in advertisements or used by a client, called the commercial purpose. However for both kinds of uses there are some common factors that are looked for. Some of the things that are considered are: the appearance of the subject, quality of the image in terms of sharpness, clarity, contrast, framing and the ability to be cropped to fit into the layout of the publication. The editor main choose to keep a few photographs or all of them that depends on the editor himself.

Editorial use

stock chartingBy editorial use we mean the photographs will be used in newspapers, magazines or other publications. The photographs will be similar to photojournalism in nature. The use of these photographs is very clearly defined, the photographs should tell the story. In this case the editors need on photographs which vividly display whatever the writer is reporting, photographs are used in context to the article being published. They should convey the team that is conveyed in the text. Usually the photographs of important event in the game and the key players serve the purpose. A careful study of the previous publications of a particular magazine or newspaper would clearly tell you what other kind of photographs that particular publication requires and uses. Although being creative and experimental is not completely ruled out but the main focus should be on telling the story with a photograph. Due to these points in a way this particular purpose requires photographs of sport shot in the way photojournalism photographs are taken.

Commercial use

editorial bigFor a commercial project to use of photograph is quite different from that of editorial. Usually the editors are looking for the photographs which convey a message that the client or the customer wants. These photographs not necessarily have to tell a story but usually they must convey a very strong message in terms of mood, emotion or feeling. The clients could be the manufacturers of the products which are used by sports persons, and they might need to see their logos in the photos along with strong personalities, which helps them create their brand and helps audiences relate to it. Usually in this case it’s the photographs of the players are being used the client needs to have likeness rights to the Sportsman or the team. If it is not so then he might be looking for photographs of the environment or other subjects like goalpost, grass and other landmark objects. There is a very interesting rule however called the rule of six. The rule says that you can consider six bodies in a photo as a photo of the team and not just the individual players in the frame. In football usually this brings about the need for horizontal group action photos.

Evaluating a photograph

04 03 3---Stock-Market-Prices webLet us talk about the basic criteria is that an editor uses to evaluate photographs. These criteria is the image quality, peak action, uniqueness of the shots and stock images

Image quality

Just like any branch of photography, the correct exposure is the first thing that is noticed in any photograph. Although sometimes good photographs may not be properly expose but they are considered based on other properties but at least getting the correct exposure very increase the chances of the photograph being considered by the editor.

Peak action

Sports photography is all about getting action. The photographs need not be showing something being performed like a goal or a basket, but they should have great action. Catching the action at the perfect time will require very fast reflexes but it will ensure that the photograph is always appreciated and also can make for cover pages and spreads. These types of shots are always in demand, whether framed horizontal or vertical these have to be usually very tightly zoomed in. Horizontally action is easier to get than try to vertical action short because it is sometimes very difficult to keep the subject in the centre of the frame in fast action sports.


Unique photographs are always looked out for by most editors. These shots can be either action or feature photographs. Sports involve a lot of emotion, which is always different, to get unique photographs even when the game is the same every time it is played. A lot of action happens even outside the field, look for the coach of the team or the manager, their emotions and feelings also makes subjects of great photographs.

Stock photographs

stock-market201Stock photography is great for any commercial photographers. This is another method of making proper commercial use of your photography skills. Usually the best way to get stock photographs is to shoot anything that you can think of and keep a huge collection of photographs. Consider this example: there was a photographer will use to take photographs of players playing football. He used to shoot each and every player in the game every time the team played. He also photographed the non important event like somebody standing outside the field, sitting on benches or during the water break. He collected photographs of almost all the players doing everything in sports league. Although his photographs were not great but they were okay. The action shots were good but rest of the images will merely very simple. This guy could make a lot of money because every time a client needed a photograph of a particular year irrespective of what he was doing, this photographer had something to offer every time. This necessarily does not mean that you should photograph each and everything that happens, but collect nicely exposed photographs of anything that you feel can be used in commercial projects, including not only the players and the field but also important people like coach, manager of the team, the team mascot and also the team ambassador if any.

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One Comments to “Usefulness of the photographs”
  1. AmitGarg says:

    great tips!

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