The Photo Package

The Package

This past New Year’s Eve in front of a national television audience and a sellout crowd in the Georgia Dome, Clemson capped a dramatic come-from-behind rally with a last-second field goal to defeat LSU 25-24 in one of the most exciting match-ups in Chick-fil-A Bowl history.

While many watching it on TV were enjoying the thriller at the Dome those in Atlanta were able to participate in more than just the game that day.

We assembled a team of three photographers to cover the days events which started with the Chick-fil-A Parade at noon and ran till midnight with the trophy presentation.

photo by: Robin Nelson

Robin Nelson is a seasoned news photographer who is  accustomed to getting the story. He started our coverage with the parade. Later Greg Thompson and myself joined the days coverage and around 6:30 pm Robin left to process some of the earlier coverage that we needed later that night.  Greg and I stayed to cover the game.


One of the first things a photographer should be aware of for a coverage is who is their audience. Too many photographers shoot for themselves and sometimes this can work, but often this is what separates the seasoned pro from the amateur.

Our audience was the Chick-fil-A internal audience. We were not producing this package for the general public.


One of the most important questions to ask yourself is why are you doing a coverage. Our answer to this question was to inform the internal Chick-fil-A people as to why we do the Bowl each year.

Every year we try and tell this from a different perspective. One year we told the behind the scenes coverage of what it takes to produce 30,000+ sandwiches in a day.

One common theme is always there in the photos–Branding. You see for a company to buy media time (Advertisements) to run on National TV is very expensive. Time for the Super Bowl this year on CBS is running about 3.8 million for each 30 second spot.

However when a company sponsors an event their logo goes everywhere in the event.

photo by: Greg Thompson

In the past they would take snapshots showing the logos being used. However we knew the images that help tell the story where you still see the logos take the images to a different level–Storytelling.

photo by: Greg Thompson

In the photo of the LSU player running, you can see the logo just as it might appear the next day in a newspaper or in Sports Illustrated. Do you see the difference in what else this is helping us in telling the story?

With photos that would be in Sports Illustrated the audience is seeing how Chick-fil-A brand is part of a world class event. You need world class photography to help communicate it and not a snapshot.

Photo by: Greg Thompson

In the photo of the Clemson player being tackled the logo is not sharp like in the earlier photo, but it is in the background. This helps to communicate the stewardship of the marketing department to place the logo strategically around the field in such a way that almost in every camera angle you see the logo.

More than a logo

photo by: Stanley Leary

Chick-fil-A likes to activate an event. What this means is they like to help take an event to a new level and be like the icing on the cake. They are not playing the game, but helping everyone enjoy it.

During the pre-game and post-game there is a Cow Parachute drop. As you can see from the photo the crowd loves this surprise. I remember the first time Chick-fil-A gave out the plush cows. There was a bad call, well for one of the teams fans and the cows were just flying onto the field. Now the cows they give out won’t go that far as easily. It was great publicity the first time the cows were all over the end zone, but they couldn’t continue that tradition.

photo by: Stanley Leary

Before the game the fans can go to FanFest to play games and just have fun. Chick-fil-A was giving out the new chocolate chip cookie for free. Just writing about that warm cookie makes my mouth water and wanting one. New Year’s Resolution is not to eat so many of those this year.  They are addicting.

photo by: Stanley Leary

Go to Chick-fil-A and you will be so thrilled with the customer service you will find yourself saying thank you and when you do you will hear “My Pleasure” in response. You see one of the other things we are trying to show in our package is how the Chick-fil-A team members enjoy serving with a smile.

Chick-fil-A also enjoys supporting our troops who are serving us with the ultimate gift of service.

photo by: Stanley Leary

In FanFest the fans could play games like the Ticket Tank where they try and grab pieces of fabric to turn in for free prizes.

photo by: Robin Nelson

Pool Photographers

In large events often agencies like Associated Press will only credit the photo with the agency name. This is because the reason one photographer has a shot and another doesn’t is due to the roles they have assigned.

Some photographers will be assigned to be in one corner of the track for that just in case photo.

Our team did a great job this year of covering all the days events. We split it up and also overlapped in some of our coverage.

Individual shots vs package

I believe every time we do one of these packages that the larger package is more powerful helping tell the story than the individual photos by themselves. However, the key is strong individual images.

For all those who enjoy shooting sports if you do this professionally sooner or later you will be told that you need to turn around and stop facing the field the entire game–there is a lot more going on to tell the story than the center of the field.

Now there are many photographers who make another mistake when covering a big event like the Chick-fil-A Bowl–they forget the action on the field. You need all of it for the package.

My challenge to you is to shoot all your assignments like they are to be used in a package. If you do the client has the opportunity to produce a package. You also will be giving them more options.