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I AM A Nikon Street Photographer - Freestyle Football

Olly Burn is a professional reportage and sports photographer from London. Here he shares his freestyle football photo tips.

| Professional Interviewed

I AM A Nikon Street Photographer - Freestyle Football: Olly Burn
Image by Olly Burn 

Olly Burn, 29, is a professional reportage and sports photographer from London, England. Ever since picking up his first DSLR camera at university – a Nikon D70 – Olly has embraced his passion for capturing the outdoor world around him and places his rapport with people at the heart of his digital work.

There’s nothing staged about Olly. In his world, interaction and spontaneity are the elements of intrigue and surprise that motivate his trigger finger. He comments: "My philosophy is to shoot as much and as often as possible, experiment with light and pay attention to everything that inspires me, from movies to magazines, emotions and expressions".

A perceptive photographer, Olly is attracted to the creativity and fluidity that freestyle football embodies. Quick off the mark and vocal in his direction, he prefers to switch his DSLR to auto focus and let the action in front of him compose the photo. In direct sunlight for a shoot with pro football-freestyler Abbas Farid, Olly took the ISO as low as possible on his Nikon D5200, chose a shallow depth of field and wide aperture, and kept a close eye on his shutter speed at all times. By using the D5200’s 39-point auto focus he was able to follow the dazzling footwork and revolving football with his viewfinder, primed and ready to capture even the most unpredictable of movements from the athlete.

On the Nikon D5200, Olly comments: "There is a misconception that the better the camera you have, the better  photographer you will be, but many professional high end features are now available on smaller cameras that allow you to do more, for less. The autofocus on the D5200 is a great example of this".

Rich, textured images of athletic rainbow kicks and breath-taking ball skills set against mottled street level backdrops make freestyle football one of the most difficult street sports to shoot well. To add fantasy and intrigue to his still photographs, Olly chooses to shoot directly into the sun and use the eclipse of local architecture to showcase his signature style and inject some flare.

Olly Burn’s tips for shooting freestyle football:
  • Be alert – Shoot fluidly so you don’t miss unexpected tricks.
  • Don’t be too precious – Shoot more than you need, with digital storage on DSLRs there is no reason to hold back.
  • Embrace the surrounding environment – Freestyle football can be done almost anywhere, incorporate the backdrop and the weather into your shots.

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