I was extremely thankful again this year to be asked back by the NFL to photograph Super Bowl LI as a part of their photo team. The amount of talent and experience in the group is nothing short of phenomenal and it was extremely flattering to be asked to be a part of the team again.
Compared to shooting regular season games, Super Bowls are their own animal that are generally approached a little differently. Normally when I cover games I’m shooting with at most one other person and occasionally by myself and I’m totally comfortable with that. I follow the game up and down the field and try and put myself in the best position to capture impactful moments. Working with a larger group of eight other photographers at the Super Bowl, my task is different…stay in one spot (this time, a corner of the Falcons end zone) and make sure I have that area covered. Working with a team of other photographers is always something I enjoy. Everyone has each other’s backs and you know if something is out of your range, someone else has got you covered.
Sometimes you are lucky…yes, lucky enough to be in a spot where action comes your way. From experience, that doesn’t always happen. I was fortunate to be in a position to capture some pivotal plays of the game and when added to the amazing shots captured by the rest of the crew, we ended up with a body of work that we all can be proud of.
My post-game assignment was to follow the winning quarterback. Immediately I knew I was going to be in for a challenge as the post game scrums after the Super Bowl rival some of the actual rugby scrums I was in in college. Luckily the last play of the game, the winning touchdown scored by James White, happened right in front of me. I was able to make any image of the score then sprint over to Tom Brady and try my best to stick with him amongst the chaos and hopefully make some nice images. I’m always critical of my performance, so I’ll let my editors determine how successful I was, but I’m always up for a challenge and I think I made a few frames that captured the emotion of the moment.
A few of my favorite images from the 2016 NFL preseason…
With every new year there are new clients and 2015 presented me with some great opportunities.
Most of you know that I am a team photographer for the Ravens and while I love the work that I do with them, it’s not a full time gig. I work with a variety of other editorial and commercial clients throughout the year creating work that usually is not related to football.
However, last year was a little different. Aside from having the chance to photograph the Super Bowl as a part of the NFL’s photo team I was hired by the Green Bay Packers to create marketing imagery for their 2015 season.
My availability is always first committed to the Ravens, but since I only shoot about half of their away games, I do have a few weekends off during the season. I was able to make it to Green Bay for a few practices and games and although I was shooting on field action, I was primarily focusing more on non action images.
It’s always interesting to see how other NFL teams operate and The Packers, much like the Ravens are a great organization and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to work with them.
Here are a few of my favorite images from my time with them.
In the last 8 years I have photographed a lot of NFL football games…all of which were shot as a team photographer for the Baltimore Ravens. A few days ago I photographed my first NFL game that did not involve the Ravens…It just so happened to be the Super Bowl. A few weeks ago I was contacted by the NFL asking if I wanted to be a part of their photo team if the Ravens didn’t make the Super Bowl. Of course I said yes. (Insert a giant thank you to Ben and the rest of the photo crew for having me along)
I was excited to be able to approach a game purely as a photojournalist, not caring who won or lost, just there to capture what happened. Although this was my first time shooting the Super Bowl for the NFL, it was not my first Super Bowl. I was with the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl two years ago. Naturally things were a little different. As a team photographer I am allowed on the field during pre game warmups, in the locker room and inside the bench area. That was not the case in Arizona (which I expected). During a game for the Ravens I roam the entire sideline working opposite the team’s other photographer Phil Hoffmann. For the NFL I was stationed in the same corner of the field for the entire game.
My assignment? Shoot whatever happens in front of my lens. After the game, I had a more specific task. Originally I was supposed to shoot the winning coach. Just before the game things got switched around so that each photographer would just shoot the coach/QB on their sideline. I just happened to be on the Seahawks sideline. Although not as fun as shooting the winner, I made a few frames of Pete Carroll shaking hands with Bill Belichick then somberly walking off the field. After that I tried my best to work my way back into the media scrums which were already jam-packed.
All in all it was a great experience for me. Although I’d love it if the Ravens went to the Super Bowl every year, if they don’t, hopefully I’ll still make my way on to the field.