Did you know that I am Paintball Photographer? 🙂 I bet many of you didn’t know that.
I’m a professional photographer specializing in food and interiors, however I do photograph other subjects when there’s opportunity – Paintball is one of them. It’s always good for a photographer, whether hobbyist or professional, to expand their horizons and explore other forms of photography.
Let me share to you what is Paintball Photography like ….
BUT before I continue, let me make it clear that I do not consider myself a professional or expert paintball photographer. Sure I’m a professional photographer but I do not think I’m on that league of professional paintball photographers.
With that cleared – let’s move on to my sharing on Paintball Photography.
Challenges in Paintball Photography
Paintball photography is challenging in many ways. I don’t know how to start so bear with me if the written text from this point onward make no better sense than a Indian movie.
Let’s begin ….
1. The closest you can get to your viewfinder, is the screen on your mask. Forget about framing, your only view is the center AF point.
2. It’s good exercise. You move around the field with your heavy gear under hot sun and when the game starts, you’re moving fast all over to capture as many actions you can. During that short match (speedball), players are often hiding behind bunkers – so you’re looking both sides to spot good opportunity. Let’s just say you’re playing “whack a mole”. The matches are short but there are usually many matches so it’s a test of your endurance.
3. Oh and speaking of endurance, you do get hit by paintball from time to time too. Photograph in PAIN(T)!
4. To maximize your successful photos, you need to anticipate the moment. You need to read the game. With experience, you know which are the possible angles to wait for – the problem is, which one could be the better one?
5. You need to be very competent in your settings. Getting the right exposure and freezing the moments are critical.
Do have a look at the photos of my recent outing with Team Heatwave, a casual gaming session for some newbies to experience the game.
Gears for Paintball Photography
Ahhh, the question that many would ask – what do I need?
1. Camera body – If you have a DSLR (or DSLT) camera body then you’re good to go. I’ve photographed with an EOS 350D before so I’m sure any other camera today will do. The better the burst mode speed, the more frames you get to capture. For compact cameras and mirrorless, it really depends on the feature available. For example, some compacts are really great but they do not have the focal length to get the good shots. I use a Canon EOS 60D.
2. Lenses – A telephoto zoom lens is recommended. I use a Canon EF 70-200 F4L USM. If you’re using some entry telephoto lens like some Tamron / Sigma 70-300 or Canon’s 55-250 (not famliiar with Sony, Nikon, Pentax, others) – it’s usable too. You might struggle a bit due to the less stellar focusing but getting a good shot isn’t difficult.
3. Optional items – I have my own paintball mask (because I hate rental masks) and gloves. The gloves are to protect my hands and fingers. If you think your camera needs some protection, put a towel over it. Wear sports shoes for maximum comfort. I also wear loose fitting attire to absorb paintball impact. 😉
High-end gear may not be the best
A high-end camera setup like say a Nikon D3X with a 70-200 f2.8 VR lens comes to nearly 3 kilograms. While it’s an awesome setup in terms of focusing speed and burst mode, the weight could wear you down really fast as you’re carrying 3 Kg weight with you every time you’re on field.
My EOS 60D with 70-200 F4 setup is only about 1.5 kilograms, and has fast focusing and decent burst mode.
Interested in Paintball Photography?
I usually have my paintball photography session with Team Heatwave, the team that got me started in Paintball Photography.
Keep an eye out on their wall and perhaps even my wall as I do invite people to experience paintball photography from time to time.
On field – you’re the only one that never run out of ammo, and your shots don’t hurt anyone.
Anyone interested? 😀
Check out also Paintball Photography for more Paintball Photography goodness. 🙂