Be Smart While Photographing on a Tight Deadline


With the first game starting at 6:30, the second at 8, and my deadline at 9:30, making deadline would be tight. How I beat the deadline with time to spare.

Time Management is crucial. Simply, during some assignments, I do not have the time to pause and watch the games, chat with other photographers, or drive to a local coffee shop to meet the deadline. I had to edit and submit while sitting courtside.

The Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic was at Lynden Christian High School last week. I covered the Lynden Christian boys and girls games on Tuesday and Wednesday for The Bellingham Herald.

Fighting for the Rebound

Lynden Christian's Grant Rubbert (35) captures a rebound against Granger's Jake Slade (22), left, and Jay Ramirez (1) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lynden Christian’s Grant Rubbert (35) captures a rebound against Granger’s Jake Slade (22), left, and Jay Ramirez (1) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian defeated Granger 65 to 33. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Both the boys and girls LC teams are undefeated in regular season play, but how would they do in a tournament full of talent? On Tuesday Dec. 29th, I covered the LC girls first and then the boys. The LC girls stung the White River Hornets defeating them 57 to 49. LC played with finesse, dropping the ball in basket with three-point goals left and right during the first half.

Delicate Touch

Lynden Christian's Kara Bajema (15) shoots through a myriad of players during the first quarter against White River in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lynden Christian’s Kara Bajema (15) shoots through a myriad of players during the first quarter against White River in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

As I was on a mixed early deadline, I needed to just shoot the first half and then use the second half to ingest, tone, caption, size, then transmit my images. Not only did I have to edit 3 photos for the print edition, I had to edit & caption about 18 photos for the archive plus the web gallery.

All that in time to be ready to photograph the boys game. With less than an hour from the end of the girls first half, to the beginning of the boys first half, I had to move fast.

Take It On The Chin

Granger's Ulysis Diaz (4) gets in the face, and elbow, of Lynden Christian's Josiah Meppelink (13) as he shoots during the first quarter of the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Granger’s Ulysis Diaz (4) gets in the face, and elbow, of Lynden Christian’s Josiah Meppelink (13) as he shoots during the first quarter of the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian defeated Granger 65 to 33. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

***TIP:  Do things before the game to save time. Pre-fill all the fields in your ingest program before heading to the games.

I use PhotoMechanic to ingest, caption, categorize, sort, rename, and cull the images. During ingestion, I have a generic caption, fill in location info, photographer info, and keyword. When I’ve culled down to those for the online gallery, I further cull down to my top 3. Then I add full caption info with the 5 Ws: who, what, where, when, why & how.

As I watched the girls play, not only was the clock ticking their time left, but I also used it to keep me focused on my deadline: 30 minutes and counting.

And it’s not a matter of just uploading to my laptop and sending a few in, I had to caption in proper AP style and ensure the players were properly identified. Sometimes not an easy task when the players block each other’s jersey numbers.

As the girls continued play, I kept working on the images. I only looked up when I had a brief moment or when there were whistles and the crowd roared.

When the boys took the court for pregame practice, I had only 10 minutes. I finished the images for the print edition and sent those in. Now I just needed to get the high resolutions images for the archive done, then send in the web gallery images in. Not one minute after tipoff, I had everything for the first game into the editors.

Like Goddesses in a Painting

Glacier Peak's Maya McFadden (15), on ground, is surrounded by Lynden Christian's Avery Dykstra (12, left, Isabela Hernanadez (10, and Riley Van Hulzen (30) scramble for a loose ball in the second quarter during the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Wednesday evening Dec. 30, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian beat Glacier Peak 68 to 62.

Glacier Peak’s Maya McFadden (15), on ground, is surrounded by Lynden Christian’s Avery Dykstra (12, left, Isabela Hernandez (10, and Riley Van Hulzen (30) scramble for a loose ball in the second quarter during the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Wednesday evening Dec. 30, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian beat Glacier Peak 68 to 62. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

I shot the first half of the boys game. They just outright dominated. It was 40 to 10 almost at the half. A fun game, but the domination by LC was embarrassing. With the first half done, I hopped back on my laptop and began the process all over again. As I sat right off the court next to the scorekeeper’s table, the roar of the crowd, the noise from the court and bench, the radio announcer behind me whooping it up, added to the atmosphere and actually helped me focus on the task at hand. I made my deadline.

However, there was one mistake: I misread a jersey which caused me to misidentify one of the players. I caught it later that night when I was archiving. I immediately sent a photo with corrected caption and emailed the editors to let them know. I also apologized to the team the next day. All is well.

Reaching for the Block

White River's Lucy Rasmussen (21) attempts to stop Lynden Christian's Avery Dykstra (32) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

White River’s Lucy Rasmussen (21) attempts to stop Lynden Christian’s Avery Dykstra (32) during the second quarter in the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

*** TIP  Use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot so you can remote transmit. This gives you the freedom to work where ever you’d like and save time that you would otherwise lose driving. The only caveat is that you must have a good signal with at least a 4G connection. Anything slower than 4G and you’ll be quicker drawing the photos and sending them via carrier pigeon.

Also, test your connection going to various websites. You don’t want to discover you have poor internet, or none at all, while trying to send your photos 10 minutes before deadline.

Jump Ball!!!

Glacier Peak's Kayla Watkins (12), left, and Lynden Christian's Sam Van Loo (25) fight over the ball in the second quarter during the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Wednesday evening Dec. 30, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian beat Glacier Peak 68 to 62.

Glacier Peak’s Kayla Watkins (12), left, and Lynden Christian’s Sam Van Loo (25) fight over the ball in the second quarter during the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Wednesday evening Dec. 30, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian beat Glacier Peak 68 to 62.

Basketball is inherently a vertical sport. I usually frame vertically as their arms are above their heads and the motion is vertical. However, on occasion, it becomes horizontal and you end up being in too tight. You just have to make the best of it as I did in the photo above.

Squeezing Through

Lynden Christian's Zach Roetcisoender (31) goes against Granger's Jake Stewart (5), left, and Keanu Cantu (3) during the second quarter of the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Lynden Christian’s Zach Roetcisoender (31) goes against Granger’s Jake Stewart (5), left, and Keanu Cantu (3) during the second quarter of the Cloud 9 Sports Christmas Classic on Tuesday evening Dec. 29, 2015, at Lynden Christian High School in Lynden, Wash. Lynden Christian defeated Granger 65 to 33. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Here’s a simple workflow I do while shooting a tight deadline:

  • Pre-fill all the fields with the necessary information including a generic caption.
  • During ingest, I mark the photos I want to look at further using the star rating: 3 for further look, 4 for strong possibility, 5 for final choice.
  • Cull to 18 or so images for archive and gallery marking as 3 Star.
  • Cull those to 3 or 4 for the print edition marking as 5 Star.
  • Write full caption for the print photos
  • Edit those in Photoshop and save in new folder then send to editor.
  • Write full captions in the others for the gallery and archive.
  • Bring those into Lightroom to tone and edit.
  • Save for archive at the same size and quality as print and into the same folder as the print
  • Resize those for web then save into new folder. Send those in.

It’s not really as hard as it looks. It’s actually really simple and easy to follow. But the key is to do as much as you can before your shoot so you don’t waste time doing stuff on deadline you could be doing beforehand.

For more photos from the tournament, visit my galleries;

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section. Don’t forget to sign up for updates so you don’t miss on other postings with tips and tricks to improve your photography.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on these various Social Networks:

  1. Instagram: @PaulConradPhotography
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Paul Conrad is a talented and skilled award-winning photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, AirBnB, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

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