A Look Back at the Birth of Modern Sports Photography

Capturing the essence of athleticism and the thrill of competition has always been a driving force for sports photographers. But the landscape of this genre has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years, evolving from isolated photo shoots to comprehensive media days involving entire teams and extensive production crews. 

Coming to you from James Quantz Jr, this insightful video takes you on a journey through time, revisiting Quantz's first-ever behind-the-scenes sports photography video from 2013, offering fascinating glimpse into how much the industry has changed in just over a decade, highlighting advancements in equipment, techniques, and the overall approach to sports photography. 

Quantz's original video was created as a marketing tool, showcasing his innovative approach to capturing college athletic teams. Back then, teams relied on piecing together in-game action shots for promotional materials. Quantz proposed a more controlled and stylized approach, photographing individual star players to create a portfolio of images for various media needs. This concept, which now seems commonplace, was groundbreaking at the time, eventually landing Quantz work with several NFL, NHL, and NBA teams. 

The video delves into the technical aspects of the 2013 shoot, comparing the equipment and methods used then to those employed today. Beyond gear, the video highlights the shift from static tripod-based shooting to a more dynamic and flexible approach, allowing photographers to better capture the energy and movement of athletes. 

The evolution of sports photography extends beyond technological advancements. The rise of social media and the increasing demand for behind-the-scenes content has transformed how teams and athletes connect with their fans. What was once a niche service offered by pioneering photographers like Quantz has become an integral part of the sports industry, with dedicated media days and full-time staff photographers now the norm. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Quantz.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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