Saturday, January 22, 2011

How do Baseball Card Photographers take their pictures?

When you look through a stack of baseball cards, the variety of the shots always strikes me. You have shots in the dugout. Shots in the field. Shots at the plate. Action shots, and posed shots. I always wondered how they decided to take a picture of the third baseman backing up a throw, as opposed to the fielder making the throw, or the runner that caused the throw. Is it random? Luck? Skill? Do they just instinctively know which shot will make the best picture? How many pictures do they take each game? Do they have a system?

Being who I am, I suppose, I would have a system for myself to make sure I get a nice selection of shots of everyone. Say I went to a three-game series to take pictures. The first game, I’d focus on the home team. Every inning, I’d pick a position. In the top of that inning, I’d focus on that position in the field, taking as many shots as I could. So, if I picked left field in the first inning, I’d take shots of the left fielder all inning. If he’s standing in his ready position, click away. If he’s chasing down a flyball, click away. If he’s backing up a throw to third, click away. If he’s midair, making a diving grab, keep clicking. That would give me a nice selection of fielding shots of that player. In the bottom of the inning, take pictures of the batters. Swinging, stepping, checking, looking, shaking, whatever. So, now I have shots at the plate, and shots in the field. I’ve got every position player. Perfect.

The second game, I do the opposite. The same routine, but with the visiting team. Again, that gives me the chance to get a nice variety of shots of all the starters as they do the various things during the game. The third game of the series, I’d try to get everything else. Maybe that’s when I take some dugout shots. Or, shots of someone on-deck. Or, anyone who happens to be on base. Or, if I didn’t get many useable shots of a player before, I’d try to focus on him. Then, I’d have both teams covered, and have a great collection of shots.

Of course, I’d need a little flexibility when it came to the bench players. If a guy comes into the game late, I’d need to take advantage of the chance. Otherwise, I’d be stuck with bench/bullpen shots of the non-starters. Then, it would be off to another city to repeat the whole process over again.

I wonder if that’s how they do it.


  1. Sounds like you'd make a great card photographer.

  2. That's a great artice. Good job remembering it.


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