A good sports photo, just like a good news photo, tells a story.
And it’s important the story being told by the sports photo accurately reflects the game or event. Readers and viewers should not be misled by a photo which conveys one message while the story tells another.
Last night I photographed the Yakima Bears (our minor league baseball team) as they played the Boise Hawks in game two of a best-of-three series, the winner of which advances to the Northwest League championship.
When I sent my lead image to the sports desk at 9:45 p.m. the Bears seemed firmly in control of the game with a 3-2 lead late in the game. They had beaten Boise two days before and seemed to have Boise on the ropes in last night’s matchup. So, I felt pretty confident about this being the lead image for today’s website and newspaper, an image which conveys the excitement and happiness of a win and advancement to the championship.
Because of the deadline for the sports section I couldn’t wait until the game had ended to make my final print selection but as I said, I thought Yakima would win.
Going into the game I knew the deadline would pass before the end of the game so I made sure to have a “Bears win” sort of photo and “Bears lose” photo to cover all bases (pun intended).
A half-hour after my print deadline the game took a different turn with Boise coming from behind to thrash Yakima 11-5.
A late-night text from the sports editor alerting me to the Bears’ loss and a search through my web photo gallery yielded this photo, one that is more reflective of the final outcome of the game.
With some last-minute scrambling we were able to more accurately picture the outcome of the game because I did cover all the bases, photographically-speaking. It’s not a great photo (and it’s a photo that’s done often) but it does say “loss” or “losing.”