Any photographer who shoots or is planning to shoot corporate events should consider adding golf photography to their wheelhouse. Corporate and other events often include golf, and many participants will appreciate having photos of themselves enjoying one of their favorite pastimes. There are certain guidelines that will help you capture memorable shots on the golf course.
Events and Golf Go Naturally Together
Clients may hire you to photograph a golf tournament or just a friendly session. However, when you have a gig at a corporate event, it’s worth checking if there’s a golf course on site or nearby. Attendees may want to spend some of their free time at the golf course. This provides some good opportunities to capture subjects in a different setting. Even the most creative shots at an event are limited by the setting, which is often a fairly generic convention center or similar space.
Even if golf isn’t mentioned when you book a shoot for an event, it’s worth researching. Find out if the hotel has a golf course or if there’s one nearby. Ask the client if they think golf might be on the agenda for participants. You could suggest that this could be a good opportunity to get some interesting photos. This could open up the door to more jobs in the future for clients who are avid golfers and may want a photographer for upcoming events.
General Golf Photography Tips
Golf photos and videos can be exciting and compelling. Compared to many other sports, golf is slow-moving, which can make it seem deceptively simple. However, there are certain challenges that you need to be aware of. Weather makes a big difference as you’re depending on natural light. Golf courses are sprawling open spaces, often in scenic spots. You’ll want to capture the surroundings as well as the action. Golf is a sport made up of distinct moments and you want to be sure not to miss any key elements. You can suggest a number of golf-related photos to your clients.
- Group photos of players before or after the game.
- Action shots of the game itself.
- Awards ceremonies for tournaments.
- Scenes around the golf club —eating lunch, having drinks, etc.
Research the Course
You’ll want to get familiar with the golf course before you arrive. The website of the golf club, hotel, or resort will usually provide some helpful photos. You can identify holes that provide especially scenic shots. Many golf courses have a signature hole that has the best views. The course or grounds may also have some other notable landmarks worth photographing. If possible, visit the course in person before the event. Unless it’s a public course, you’ll need permission from the club or hotel. This will also give you a chance to take some shots of the course and grounds on your own.
Be Aware of the Light
Golf games can last for some time, which means the light will be changing. Apart from the time of day, the sun may appear or hide behind clouds. As a golf photographer, you need to be aware of the light and how it impacts the course and everything else. You will probably need to change your position multiple times for the best vantage points.
It’s a well-known principle known to photographers that early morning and late afternoon, or sunset are the ideal times for capturing light. Of course, these hours may not sync with golf games. You may be able to capture some shots on your own. Then you can mix these in with the active footage of games. If people are willing, you can also arrange a photo shoot at the golf course during one of the “golden hours.”
Find the Highest Location
It’s always easier to film from a higher vantage point. Golf courses usually provide some excellent spots for filming the course from above. You should be able to get some great shots from a hill. Standing on a golf course will raise your elevation even further.
Bring a Wide-Angle Lens
A wide-angle lens lets you capture everything that’s happening both on and off the course, including the golfers, the putting green, any spectators, and the surroundings. A telephoto lens is also useful as you will probably be taking shots from a long distance.
Be Careful Not to Distract Players
With many sports, you can take photos freely with the players barely noticing. This isn’t the case with golf, where players must focus and take time setting up each shot. You don’t want to get too close, move around players while they’re concentrating, or stand in front of them. A widely recognized rule of golf photography etiquette is to never take a shot during a player’s backswing. It’s best to use a camera that has a silent shudder mode. The slightest noise can be a distraction to players.
Prepare For the Environment
Golf can be played in any weather on many types of terrain. You may encounter rain, wind, mud, or bright sunshine. Make sure you have water-resistant cases for your cameras and gear. Wear waterproof shoes. Have a hat (for the sun as well as rain), and sunscreen.
Get Creative With Event and Golf Photography
Shoots and golf clubs as well as events where people play golf give you plenty of options to take creative photos. If you haven’t done golf photography, you may want to consider adding it to your repertoire. It’s a perfect complement to covering corporate events.