Bob Given: Sports Photography, October 28th, 2020

Tonight’s speaker was Bob Given, MPAGB from Northern Ireland who talked about his love of sports photography. Bob lives in Belfast and he belongs to the prestigious Catchlight Camera Club.

Bob began by pointing out that it is useful to have a good knowledge of the sport you are photographing as choosing the right moment to press the shutter is critical. His advice was “if you see it in the viewfinder you’ve missed the shot”. He also advised that thorough preparation for the event is essential, especially ensuring that you have the right equipment with you.

Line Out Mayhem:


Bob showed a large number of images during the evening which covered a wide range of sports including athletics, cricket, American football, netball, tennis, table tennis, baseball, cage fighting (otherwise known as mixed martial arts), Australian rules football and rugby. Many of his images had won awards and some had been included in his successful panel for a Master’s distinction with the Photographic Society of Great Britain, the highest award that can be achieved.

Third Change:


While Bob’s superb and prize-winning images made sports photography look easy, he made it clear that it is not and there are many pitfalls to be avoided.  The first of these is simply in choosing, and gaining access to, a good position to take images, both to achieve the best angle for shooting the action but also to avoid distracting backgrounds. Bob pointed out that in a number of sports the low level of lighting could be a problem.  Some sports could involve potential for injury if the photographer is not in a safe location. The javelin and hammer competitions, for example, pose particular threats and it is essential to ensure that you stand well out of reach.  Bob’s advice was always to seek permission from the organisers of sports events and to follow their instructions on where to stand.  The dedicated sports photographer also has to go out in all weathers no matter how bad the conditions. Indeed, some of Bob’s best shots were taken in torrential rain.

All Hands:


Despite the limitations of Zoom Bob gave us a most enjoyable an inspirational evening which contained much useful information. While presentations given via Zoom are not quite the same as those given in person this technology does allow talks to reach a wider audience and on this occasion the evening was shared with members of Dumfries Camera Club.

Julie Walker