The Summerall Guards perform half-time at the Parent’ss Weekend football game at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Knowing your subject gives you insights into what makes a better photo than any photo.
My son was a Summerall Guard at the Citadel in the class of 2011. During this time, I took more photos of them performing and started to see these moments that gave you insights into how they communicate during a silent drill.
I noticed that the facial expressions showed them counting to themselves or breathing loudly so those around them would hear. This lets them know if they were together in their counts and moves.
The Summerall Guard was formed in 1932. Membership is considered a high honor at the military college. The platoon aims to exemplify the exactness and thoroughness of a cadet’s training through a unique series of movements based on the old German close-order drill. The exercise is performed to a silent count. Each year’s Guards take responsibility for teaching the following year’s unit the precise drill.
In sports, very similar predictable moments happen as well. I know that if I am covering a team like The Citadel, they are trying to get to the goal they are facing. So even on defense, if a fumble or interception happens, the players will try and go towards the goal.
I like to stand or kneel in the endzone where they are going, so I can see their faces. If I am on the sideline, I sometimes get their faces, but when I am facing them, the percentage of photos with their faces seems to be a loCitadel’sfor photos.
Their extra effort on the play will be them lunging toward the goal line, which is where I am standing.
The offensive linemen are creating holes for the running backs facing that goal line.
Even if they are stopped, most of the time, the expression on their faces shows that they are often putting it all on the line. This type of tackle photo works well on sports pages when the guy just got a first down.
As you can see in both the examples of the Citadel cadets, if they are on the Summerall Guards or playing a sport, the facial expression draws the audience into the photograph.
What you want to show as the photographer is the effort; one of the best ways to capture this is in the expressions.
By the way, we were at The Citadel due to a request for my wife, Dorie Griggs, to preach on Sunday. So here is her message if you would like to hear it.