Yesterday, (Sunday 15th March) I photographed my first Premier League game at Goodison Park. The match was Everton v Newcastle and it was set to be a pretty even battle between the two teams, so I was really excited to get this game.
I already expected the competition to be tough, with lots of photographers and other people from the press and media. However there were not as many photographers as I thought there would be. When I photographed Derby v Chesterfield earlier this season there were more photographers there. The photographers that were there were the best, having worked in the industry for years and working for large imaging agencies such as Reuters. So the competition was incredibly tough and it was essential for me to get my images out as fast as I could.
I was set and ready in the photographers area behind the goal area before kick off, I had everything prepared and ready to go. I was struggling with the internet connection and couldn’t get Everton’s press internet to work. This wasn’t a problem because I don’t normally use the clubs internet anyway, I tether straight from my phone because I can get 4G speeds which are incredibly fast and do the job perfectly… that did not happen yesterday.
Even though my phone was clearly displaying that I had 4G internet speeds and my laptop was connected to my phone I was not getting a fast enough connection. I was unable to even just log on to the FTP server that I have to upload the images to. I started to think of ways around this and planned for a worst case scenario where I can’t upload any images pitch side, it would mean I have to go back into the media room at halftime and connect to the wifi in there and upload as fast as I could. But thankfully my internet started to work, it was a bit intermittent however at least it was working, it meant I could upload pitch side and get the images away as fast as possible. The hardest part of being a sports photographer is not always capturing the images, (although that is not always easy!) the hardest part is getting the right images uploaded and sent away as fast as you can, before the photographer next to you does. If you get beaten to upload your image will not be used. Unfortunately that is what happened on Sunday, I was just that little bit too slow, because the photographer next to me has had the same shot that I had published in the paper, and I have not had mine published. But that is just how it goes sometimes, which is why it is essential to get your workflow down so you can be as efficient and as fast as you can possibly be.
But all in all it was a great game, I got a load of shots I was happy with and as always I am learning from every game that I do. That will be something that never changes because the game is so unpredictable and everywhere you go is completely different, so you need to learn little tips and tricks that work for each stadium but don’t work at every stadium or match.