Through the lens with Fred Daniels



You Don’t Get Second Chances In Sports Photography


Heisman winners tend to draw some attention.

Joe Burrow takes the field at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. 


Pregame photos are always tough if you don’t have a specific assignment. There is so much going on. Teams come out in certain groups, helmet on, helmet off, some are fully dressed. Some may not even be playing in the game. Depending on the story you’re trying to capture, you have to be alert. Almost every media channel was waiting for Burrow to come out of the locker room to get this particular photo. Getting this shot takes some patience, but also requires you to be on your toes because you don’t get second chances in sports photography. Once the moment has passed, it’s gone. All you have is replays to visit. When you’re shooting for the home team/event you tend to get better access, so I was able to get a better position as we waited. A news camera sat right in my path of the shot (which happens often at games), so I had to move accordingly, knowing in my mind I wanted to get this shot. Who doesn’t want a shot of the Heisman winner?




Those Moss genes. 

Thaddeus Moss caught mid-air before a catch and run for a few yards.


When I’m on the sideline and players are coming at me I ask myself: Should I stay in position to get the shot or should I move out of the way? When Moss caught the ball on my end, I knew I had some good photos coming. Next thing you know, he’s hit in this awkward way that forced his body to be parallel to the ground. I just kept shooting knowing I would get a great outcome. I’m glad it didn’t end with an injury and he held on to the ball. Those Moss genes. 




There is still a story to tell.

Sooner player getting a breather in between plays.


When photographing a sporting event, there can only be one winner. How to document that is a challenge. In this situation, LSU had a significant lead. You try not to abandon a team’s photo opportunities because they are down. There is still a story to tell. I usually give myself some time to grab photos of the losing team due to the emotional aspect of the shots. I prefer solo moments like this one — where the player must be in deep thought. For a team that’s only lost one game, they probably didn’t expect this outcome. He could be in deep thought or he could be grabbing a quick rest. The power of capturing certain moments like this is that the audience gets to guess what that story might be.




Everyone wants the touchdown shot.

Justin Jefferson celebrates his third TD of the evening.


Covering football is challenging because it’s all about placement on the field. As far as I know, EVERYONE wants the touchdown shot. LSU was driving and I made my way to their end-zone. Two plays later Justin Jefferson catches his third (of four) touchdowns and he made sure to let the people know how many he had!




The right place at the right time.

Joe Burrow and Lincoln Riley postgame.


I couldn’t hear what was said because of the noise postgame, but the respect level that is shown between a player and coach of opposing teams speaks volumes.

Postgame photos are just as crazy to capture as the pregame photos, if not more, because it’s a scramble on the field. You have so many great photo opportunities to choose from. Of course most choose the QB and coaches a lot of the time. Right after the LSU/OU coaches shook hands, I stayed close to the middle in the midst of the media chaos. With a wide lens I was able to catch this moment of pure respect. What you don’t see is the 50 other media members on my back trying to get their version of the exact same shot. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.




The first time in a long time.

Hurts walks past the scrum postgame.


The only thing I thought about when I took this photo was: What’s going through Jalen’s mind? For the first time in a long time, the media were walking past him to cover someone else. After listening to his postgame press conference, I think this photo depicts exactly what he was saying. He has a bright future ahead and left a great legacy over college football.



Written and Photographed by Fred Daniels






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