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.
Fighting for the Rebound
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.
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
***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
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
*** 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.
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.
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;
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Paul “pablo” Conrad
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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.