Remember this ad from 12 years ago? This is why you don’t use on-camera flash for sports photography

Mar 18, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Remember this ad from 12 years ago? This is why you don’t use on-camera flash for sports photography

Mar 18, 2022

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

Share on:

YouTube video

Are you sitting comfortably? Great! Now, think back 12 years ago. Yes, that would be pre-multiple political upheavals, pre-pandemic and pre-full frame mirrorless cameras. It was a much simpler time, we were all so innocent then…but I digress.

Take a look at this Buffalo Wings commercial from 2010 that hilariously pokes fun at sports photographers using on-camera flash. The results of which, have a disasterous effect on the athletes.

I personally hadn’t seen this advertisement when it was new, but I have to say it’s pretty spot on. Indoor events generally request no flash photography, and especially if matches are televised it’s a big no-no. These days with modern cameras and fast lenses the need for a flash is pretty minimal. Newer mirrorless cameras like the Canon R3 can freeze action and rapid fire shots at incredibly fast speeds. You’re not going to miss the shot.

Unlike the poor athletes who may be completely distracted by something such as a rogue flash going off in their line of sight. It’s a similar problem with concert photography. In my performing days I even had video crews asking to be on stage with the musicians, sticking their cameras almost into their faces. My response is always this: the music or sport, the musicians or athletes, and the paying audience come first with shooting these kinds of events. Find a way to capture what you need, without detracting from the enjoyment and execution of the performance itself. You are not the star of the show.

We probably don’t need to be telling you, but if you’re thinking of using flash in a live situation, please just don’t!

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 responses to “Remember this ad from 12 years ago? This is why you don’t use on-camera flash for sports photography”

  1. g_discus Avatar
    g_discus

    I think flash is the obvious part of their job. Musicians and athletes make money by public performances.

  2. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    Can someone do a tutorial on how to DIY build that flash unit? ;-)

  3. BJ Savant Avatar
    BJ Savant

    Not sure we will every see a “Poor” athlete ?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Isn’t US college basketball unpaid, with no insurance and yet massive revenues from it?

  4. musso hoffman Avatar
    musso hoffman

    not the best use of flash
    flash still works just fine to offset backlighting when faces remain in shadow

    1. Joost Avatar
      Joost

      I think that was the point