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Author Topic: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear  (Read 4221 times)

CANONisOK

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Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« on: May 20, 2013, 02:28:57 PM »
At my office the other week we had a meeting about one of these 2-day “corporate Olympics”-type events happening in a few weeks. Organizers mentioned that they were looking for somebody to photograph our employees participating in the various competitions. Despite being a humble amateur, I volunteered to take pictures. I figured it would be a good opportunity to improve my photography on something other than my kids… and the pics won’t likely be any worse than those from years past (blurry cell phone pics, flat & lifeless P&S pics, etc.).

The competition will feature a wide variety of competitions: individual and relay running (short, middle, long), cycling, tug of war, swimming, basketball, volleyball, home run derby, etc.

I was hoping to get some advice from the group on what would be a good kit to prepare for such an event – especially when it comes to lens selection. My goal is to balance what equipment would keep me prepared for most scenarios, while not going overboard. I’d appreciate any tips from those who do this type of thing regularly.

I am definitely planning on bringing the following:

  • Lowepro Pro Trekker 300 AW
  • 5D Mark iii w/ battery grip (and four LP-E6s)
  • Joby Ultrafit sling strap
  • Manfrotto 695CX monopod w/ quick release head (and mounting plates for my small whites)
  • Speedlite 430EX II
  • Plenty of SD and CF cards
  • OP/TECH rainsleeves
  • Water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, batteries, etc.

Then there is the lens list that is more open for debate (I’ve listed them in what I feel might be order of importance):

  • 70-200mm f/2.8 IS ii
  • 100-400mm
  • 135mm
  • 24-70mm f/2.8 ii
  • TC 1.4x iii

My preference as of late has been shooting with primes, but I can imagine in this situation I would do best having the flexibility of zooms. It especially pains me to be leaving the 300mm f/4 IS at home, as I’ve started to really appreciate what IQ advantage it can have over zooms operating in the same FL. The zooms might be the most useful - but the primes probably have the ability to "wow" more than the zooms.

So, for those who have the experience, what are your suggestions for lenses? Unless I am mingling in the crowd of athletes between events, I can’t imagine I’ll use the 24-70mm much, and I’ve debated just throwing the 50mm in the bag instead for such moments. Along the same lines, I cannot thing of a scenario where I would need an UWA, so I’m planning on leaving the 16-35mm at home.

Secondly, is the need for a backup body. I’m thinking about renting a 7D or a second 5D3 for backup. Although it is not a paid gig, I’d definitely feel bad if something happened and my personal camera crapped out during the event. Is this a must?

Anyway, thanks in advance for any suggestion you all can provide. Thanks!
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
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Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« on: May 20, 2013, 02:28:57 PM »

rmt3rd

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 04:19:00 PM »
I think in this situation, less is more.  I would bring the 5DMIII, the 70-200, and either the 24-70 or the 50mm.  If I were doing this just for the Company, I wouldn't want to be bogged down with all this equipment, changing lenses, toting around a big camera bag, etc.  You want to have fun at this event too, I'm guessing.  Being outdoors, the 70-200 I think is plenty to catch the action up close.  The wide angle or the 50mm prime would be good enough to capture the scenery surrounding the events. 

I don't think you need a backup body.  If your camera bugs out, remember you aren't getting paid.  Same thing could happen with someone who volunteers with a point and shoot.

Less is more.

unfocused

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 04:23:05 PM »
It seems like you are planning to kill a fly with a cannon (Canon?)

You may be carrying too much equipment to manage for an event of this type. Just how big of an event is this? Are we talking a major corporation with hundreds of employees participating in intense athletic events, or are we talking about a bunch of desk jockeys having a good time and building some camaraderie?

One wide-angle/normal zoom and one moderate telephoto zoom will keep your choices simple and enable you to concentrate on taking pictures, rather than worrying about which piece of equipment to use at any one time.  Renting a second body is not a bad idea if you are worried about something happening. But, as rmt3rd said, this ain't a paid gig.

If you do rent a body, I'd put the 70-200 on one and the 24-70 on the other. Throw the 430 EXII in the bag in case you need some extra light. Load up on cards and call it good. One body? Put the 25-70 on it and save the 70-200 for a handful of long shots.

Don't forget the first rule of shooting for a client (which is what you will be doing). If the client is happy, you are happy. If the client isn't, then you can't be. If your co-workers are used to and pleased with cell-phone candids, don't assume they want Sports Illustrated-style event photos. Remember, that most of subjects will be more than happy with a grinning, thumbs-up post event victory photo.

This isn't an opportunity for you to show off and use your equipment, this is a job (although a non-paying one) and your responsibility is to give the client the pictures they expect. I suspect that will be lots of pictures of people laughing, having fun and maybe doing a little drinking.
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thepancakeman

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2013, 04:31:43 PM »
Well, you specifically asked about the kit (as opposed to technique, etc.), so here's my two cents:

If you're renting a back-up body, definitely go with the 7d for the reach.  I shoot triathlons, bike races, and running races, and the 70-200 on my 7d is still often not quite where I need want it to be reach-wise.  You've got the 100-400, but if it happens to be a cloudy day you're going to struggle getting fast enough shutter speeds for a fast moving athlete.

acoll123

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 04:46:31 PM »
I think in this situation, less is more.  I would bring the 5DMIII, the 70-200, and either the 24-70 or the 50mm.  If I were doing this just for the Company, I wouldn't want to be bogged down with all this equipment, changing lenses, toting around a big camera bag, etc.  You want to have fun at this event too, I'm guessing.  Being outdoors, the 70-200 I think is plenty to catch the action up close.  The wide angle or the 50mm prime would be good enough to capture the scenery surrounding the events. 

I don't think you need a backup body.  If your camera bugs out, remember you aren't getting paid.  Same thing could happen with someone who volunteers with a point and shoot.

Less is more.

I agree, the 70-200 and 24-70 would be exactly what I would bring (I have them both and use both for high school sports, in fact that is what I use for indoor sports with a 5DIII and a 1DX). Along with a flash for dark situations, you should be good to go. If you can, you could add another 5DIII or 7D. I would prefer the 5DIII just for consistency and familiarity. It doesn't sound like you are going to be restricted to the sidelines or behind barricades like you would at competitive sporting events so you won't need the longer reach of the 7D and again not having to learn a new set-up would more than offset the crop factor IMO.

Andy


CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 04:48:51 PM »
I think in this situation, less is more.

Thank you. Excellent advice. I think you're right about the K.I.S.S. principle.
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
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CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 04:54:51 PM »
You may be carrying too much equipment to manage for an event of this type. Just how big of an event is this? Are we talking a major corporation with hundreds of employees participating in intense athletic events, or are we talking about a bunch of desk jockeys having a good time and building some camaraderie?

The event will include thousands of participants from the entire metro area. My corporation is 100,000+ employees, but our divisional office is only ~150 people with maybe 50 participating.

Don't forget the first rule of shooting for a client (which is what you will be doing). If the client is happy, you are happy. If the client isn't, then you can't be. If your co-workers are used to and pleased with cell-phone candids, don't assume they want Sports Illustrated-style event photos. Remember, that most of subjects will be more than happy with a grinning, thumbs-up post event victory photo.

I did find out since posting that we will have another volunteer armed with a T3i and 18-55mm for some of the usual shots (she's helped out in the past, so I know what to expect). It would be nice for our office to be able to send some "fun" and more "polished" shots for us to submit to the divisional newsletter, etc.

Thanks for the advice. Great points!
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
SL1: 10-18mm IS, 18-55mm IS

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 04:54:51 PM »

CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 05:01:53 PM »
Well, you specifically asked about the kit (as opposed to technique, etc.), so here's my two cents:

If you're renting a back-up body, definitely go with the 7d for the reach.  I shoot triathlons, bike races, and running races, and the 70-200 on my 7d is still often not quite where I need want it to be reach-wise.  You've got the 100-400, but if it happens to be a cloudy day you're going to struggle getting fast enough shutter speeds for a fast moving athlete.

That was exactly my thought process for renting the 7D. I might be able to simply borrow a crop body from one of my friends. I love well-isolated telephoto action shots where you can see the exertion/emotion on people's faces, blades of grass kicking up, etc!

And, hey, I thought about asking about technique as well - but I hate to bother everyone too much. I'd imagine for many of you it would be like trying to explain to your dog how to drive the car.  ;) I'm glad I'll have another person doing the wide/group shots and maybe I can focus on the up-close action.
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
SL1: 10-18mm IS, 18-55mm IS

bholliman

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 05:18:44 PM »
I think in this situation, less is more.  I would bring the 5DMIII, the 70-200, and either the 24-70 or the 50mm. 
Less is more.

I agree, the 70-200 and 24-70 would be exactly what I would bring

Agreed!  70-200 and 24-70 will cover everything you need.  I've done five similar events for my employer (400-500 participants) and have used lenses that cover these focal lengths with great success.  Last year I used my 7D with 15-85mm and 70-200mm lenses and didn't need anything else.  I used the 70-200 two-thirds of the time and the 24-70 the remaining third.  This year I plan to use my 6D with 24-105mm and 70-200 2.8 II.

I used a P&S for a backup and fortunately didn't need it.

Good luck!
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CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2013, 05:22:18 PM »
I agree, the 70-200 and 24-70 would be exactly what I would bring (I have them both and use both for high school sports, in fact that is what I use for indoor sports with a 5DIII and a 1DX). Along with a flash for dark situations, you should be good to go. If you can, you could add another 5DIII or 7D. I would prefer the 5DIII just for consistency and familiarity. It doesn't sound like you are going to be restricted to the sidelines or behind barricades like you would at competitive sporting events so you won't need the longer reach of the 7D and again not having to learn a new set-up would more than offset the crop factor IMO.

It'll be the first time I've attended these games, but from years past it looks like we have good access to the areas near the competition.

Seems like we're getting some consistency with the recommendations here. I actually do the same with my son's soccer games, just bring one or two lenses and work with those. For me, it is the wide variety of scenarios (indoor events like swimming vs. tug-of-war in the blazing sunlight vs. 5k bike ride) that made me think I might need more variety.

Thanks for the advice, Andy!
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
SL1: 10-18mm IS, 18-55mm IS

CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2013, 09:39:17 PM »
I used a P&S for a backup and fortunately didn't need it.

I will charge up and have a G12 as backup. Good reminder.
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
SL1: 10-18mm IS, 18-55mm IS

wickidwombat

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 12:43:24 AM »
i'd just take the 70-200 f2.8 the 24-70 f2.8 and the tc
as much as i prefer primes and love the 135 i think these 2 lenses will do everything you want
maybe hire a second 5Dmk3 if anything so you have no/less lens changes
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paul13walnut5

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 02:26:38 AM »
5d3
24-70
70-200
Monopod
Cards & batts.
Suncream
Flask of tea.
Flash for winners portraits.

You are over thinking it and if you keep doing that you'll screw it up.

Want:

Minimum kit to carry. (Drop / lose)
Minimum opportunities to change lenses (24-200 is all bases covered well)
To concentrate on composition and operation, not niggling nagging doubts like 'is my 135 prime better?"
Yes, it is.  But your 70-200 is absolutely brilliant and more than good enough.

Do a reccie.  Pick the best vantage point for freeezing the action. Learn how to shoot aiservo properly.
Learn how to tweak your ai servo tracking.

Think about having a couple of really strong images of each event.  Get the winners on the podium.  Try and get your bosses and friends along the way.

Relax and enjoy.  Loads of other folk will still take the iphone and compact shots ofbygone years.  Dont try and get everything or you'll get nothing.

No pressure like, but you've set your stall out: i am a photographer. I have good kit. Folk will expect good images.

Think quality not quantity.  Keep it simple and focused.  You might only shsre 10 images.  You might take 10'000.  Print the 10.  On matt.  With white border.  Big.  A3.  Folk will be blown away.

Just keep the heid.

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 02:26:38 AM »

Valvebounce

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 04:59:23 AM »
Hi,
Will you have a car with you, if you do, take a slightly larger selection (not everything you have) with you, when you travel between events swap out the lens for the most suitable for each event, maybe a faster prime if you have one for the indoor events, tele zooms for outdoors, just a thought, but I think that others have summed it up before me, one other point, cooperate with the other person you mention, if they are willing and/or able, and you have a two person team to cover a wider range of shots. Just a thought! Most important don't sweat it, if your camera craps out, too bad, your not getting paid, if they will cover renting a back up all well and good, if not just play the hand you are dealt.
Good luck. Have fun!
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CANONisOK

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 10:03:27 AM »
Paul - fantastic advice all around.

Do a reccie.  Pick the best vantage point for freeezing the action. Learn how to shoot aiservo properly.
Learn how to tweak your ai servo tracking.

I've been testing and tweaking my technique using AI-Servo in the backyard lately. I'll have a group of kids 2-5 years old chasing bubbles and follow one subject while they are criss-crossing, jumping, and swatting. Practice has definitely helped and I'm hoping it will translate over to the faster adult subjects.

No pressure like, but you've set your stall out: i am a photographer. I have good kit. Folk will expect good images.

Think quality not quantity.  Keep it simple and focused.  You might only shsre 10 images.  You might take 10'000.  Print the 10.  On matt.  With white border.  Big.  A3.  Folk will be blown away.

I've tried to keep it as low pressure as possible. Thankfully, I wasn't foolish enough to make a giant proclamation in front of the whole company - but rather I casually mentioned to one of the organizers later that I can "snap some pics" while I'm at the event. You know the drill: under-promise but over-deliver.

I have to say I really appreciate all the great advice I've been hearing. It's exactly the kind of smack upside the head I needed to be ready to make the most of the opportunity. At the end of the day, I am looking forward to having fun doing this and hopefully produce some memorable shots for the participants.
5D mark 3: R14/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 IS, 35mm f/2 IS, 50 1.2L, 100L macro, 85L, 135L, 300mm f/2.8 ii. 16-35L, 24-70L II, 70-200L IS II, TAM 150-600mm,  2x600ex-rt
EOS M: 18-55mm, 22mm
SL1: 10-18mm IS, 18-55mm IS

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Re: Seeking advice for corporate sporting event gear
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 10:03:27 AM »