I must confess I’ve never been a table-tennis fanatic, the main sport in my house has always been basketball, and I’ll talk about it on another post.
Anyway, table-tennis (AKA ping-pong) gave me the oportunity to publish images on all over Europe’s newspapers, from Sweden to Hungary. It all began with my relation with Fotoprix Vic (http://www.victt.com/) probably the most professionalized team close to my home.
Due to their savoir faire, I found myself involved in dealing with top-notch players & teams, most of them with Olympic level. To share my experiences on one of the fastest indoor sports, here come some words on how I deal with photographic challenges.
Using flash is forbidden during the games. You’ll have to work with the available light, in other words, you’ll go to high apertures (2,8 or 2) as 95% of gyms are poorly lighted, or with the lights placed where we wouldn’t need them, which is not really helpfull. Believe me, there’s never light enough to go down to a reasonable ISO. Learn to deal with noise.
This is a fast sport, really fast. So you have to be as ready as the players when the ball starts to fly. As athletes do, your attention and reaction deserves a good training too. You’ll hardly get some sharp shots under 1/320s and that’s a really “slowly” player, the main job becomes from 1/400s – 1/500s and up.
Of course, you’ll always have the chance to become creative with a low speed shoot of players movement, nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, it is part of the game as well.
Even you have the fastest camera giving you 14 fps, anticipation is everything. You should (you will) know when the magic moment happens and the ball stops for a fraction in front of the player’s eye. Your job is to freeze that moment of silence.
Of course, it has a previous active study of the player and his/her moves. Is he/she righty or lefty? How does he/she serve? The ball goes really up, or just stay some centimeters away from his/her face?
As wildlife photographers learn on biology to increase their photographic chances. The sports photographers read athletes.
Working for a team or for the media?
The main diferents is the background and the brands sponsoring the athletes. If you are working for a newspaper, an action photo of the winner will be welcome by the photo editor. In case your pictures are for one specific team -or for the athlete playing- some of them should show that “sponsor that has been supporting us since the first day”.
Outside the court
There are many things happening “out there” so you should keep an eye to the surrounding area. Some supporter’s expresions can be as great as player’s one.
David Fajula Jufré is a Photojournalist based in Northern Catalonia. His images have been published in notorious international newspapers such as; Vladivostok Times (Russia) Metro, 24 h, Canoe (Québec) Norrköpings Tidningar (Sweden) Dnevni Avaz (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Slovenian American Times (US & Canada) Mundo Deportivo (Spain) El Periòdic d’Andorra (Andorra) or Budaörsi Napló (Hungary) among many others.
As well, his client list includes US based universities Oregon & Princeton, Hôtel de Ville de Montréal (Montreal City Hall) and other educative and cultural institutions.
His is also proud to be the Vice-president of Manlleu Camera Club.
More about David and his job on www.davidfajula.com