Shot Put: Beauty and the Beast

March 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment


The Shot Put is an event for powerful men and ladies.  If you shoot high school sports, it can be a challenge to photograph this event in a way that is complimentary to the appearance of both ladies and the men.  For men, there is usually less of a problem if the athlete's face is contorted.  High school girls may be more sensitive about how they appear in photos.  Depending on how the image is to be used, both men and women might like to have a photo of themselves competing that shows intensity yet is pleasing from a photogenic aspect.


Here's an approach that can be used for both sexes and also might be helpful if access is limited, the background is distracting, or the sun angle is troublesome.  Consider shooting from behind the athlete instead of the conventional position in front.


Consider the problems with this:

 photo ZIVN4362.jpg



Compared to this:

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Or this:

 photo ZIVN4440.jpg



Compared to this:

 photo PZIV9587.jpg




Or this:

 photo ZZIV2556.jpg



Compared to this:

 photo PZIV9627.jpg




This is not to say that shooting behind the athlete will always be a better vantage point.  The same issues of light and background can conspire to work in the opposite direction.  Additionally, the action of the launch of the shot put can be compelling and gender stereotypes of what looks appealing may just be flat wrong.  What I am suggesting is that when you go to photograph the shot put, consider the light, background, access, desires of the athlete, and how the image is to be used when you choose where you, the photographer, should position yourself.



Phil Zivnuska


Philip S. Zivnuska