The Life of a Super Bowl Sports Photographer
For sports photographers everywhere, tonight is the night that you someday hope to be working. Super Bowl Sunday has basically became a national holiday for Americans. Whether you’re watching for the commercials, or the game, photographers everywhere want to see that lineup of camera bodies and lenses on the sidelines.
Recently, The Verge had the opportunity to interview Peter Read Miller, a Sports Illustrated photographer who has had the luxury of shooting the Super Bowl, 38 times over. And Miller is good too, so good in fact that he has had his photos on the Sports Illustrated cover over 100 times. But he isn’t the only one shooting the big game for Sports Illustrated.
Along with Miller, will be 10 other SI photographers, at different positions on the field, ensuring that no big play will be missed. There are also, what Verge calls ‘a remote army’ of cameras, capturing the game at different angles that’d be virtually impossible to get with a camera man.
As for equipment, Miller uses four Canon EOS-1D X bodies, with lenses ranging from the Canon EF 600mm f/4L to the new Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L II. Usually with two cameras strapped to him, and two on monopods, carrying the equipment can become a daunting task. So photographers often have an assistant with them, to help move and hold cameras, and make sure all the lens caps are in order.
Along with assistants, Miller and other photographers have a team of people swapping out memory cards called runners. These runners, put the photos into a system called Opus, which ingests the photos and send small JPEGs to editors in New York. The editors then select the photos, and the system sends them the RAW images automatically. This allows photos to be in articles and print mere moments after the photo was taken, as oppose to days with film.
In a single game, Miller says he usually takes about 2000 photos, and that other photographers often take many more than him. With over half a million photos in his career, many of them were shot on film. Miller hopes to someday be able to compile them into a book, giving a look into his long career taking those iconic photos.
Read the full article from The Verge here, and look for Peter Read Miller on the sidelines tonight, snapping away.