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The Shoot Day Explained

The Shoot Day Explained

The Shoot Day Explained

Game Shooting Photography - So What Happens?

Here's how a usual day might pan out

I will arrive early. I may have left home really early or I may have come from a hotel overnight. Either way, a spot of breakfast is nice, and certainly a coffee to blow the cobwebs away. Plus the fact it's nice to get to know everybody. In particular I like to get to know the shoot master - whoever it is managing the shooting line - because they are going to give me the low down on the prime pegs on each drive later.

And of course there are photo opportunities here, the meet and greet is important as a social time, at that time of the day all are cheerful (mostly) and excited, the cartridge bags are full, the dogs are clean.

So, you see, my day starts as soon as I get there, just as soon as I get that first cup of coffee sorted ...

 I treat each shoot as a story, to be told from start to finish.

When we move out onto the drives that is when I start to work on the action shots. I will try to stand behind a peg that is likely to see some action. Always a bit of a gamble, but as said before that is why I stick close to the 'man who knows" where the birds are most likely to be on each drive. The intention is always to capture the guns in action, the birds and the gun in the same shot and the "money shot" is the kill obviously ... but that depends on the gun!

My aim for the day is to capture each gun on the shoot in full swing, although due to the nature of shooting, this sometimes does rely on a heap of good luck and the skill and knowledge of the keeper.

Between drives there is the inevitable chat, banter and of course, refreshments.

These times are important to me as they give me great opportunities for some informal shots as the guns, beaters, pickers up, and their dogs relax. I can also use these moments to understand the dynamic of the group, work out who's who, and take stock of what images I need to be concentrating on during the next drive.

Dogs are very important to a game shoot, and therefore form an essential element on my story of the day.

Dogs that flush, dogs that retrieve, dogs that sit patiently (or otherwise) on peg. They can display a supreme level of training, a real connection and bond between them and the handler. On the flip side of course they can occasionally show a supreme level of disobedience! Whatever the dog, whatever their role on the day, they play a vital role in my storytelling.

The bulk of the day's story though is all in the action.

There is always something happening, somewhere on the line of pegs, or in the beating line. It is my job to try and be at the right place at the right time to capture. Sometimes I have to utilise a sixth sense because it is not always apparent, but often it is just a matter of listening to the keeper ... and waiting!

The ultimate image is the gun, the shot and the bird in the same frame. It takes a special moment to capture that, it does happen, but I'm certainly not guaranteeing it!

Of course a day's driven game shooting wouldn't happen without the hard work and dedication of the beaters.

It doesn't always fit with the brief for the particular shoot, but often I will join the beaters for a drive or two. It helps "complete the circle" for the story of the day. The boys and girls on the beating line perform such a vital task, under quite severe conditions, it seems only right that they are included in the images.

Once the fun bit is over though, the work really begins for me back at Over & Under HQ ...

All the images will be offloaded from the cameras, sorted, sifted and the rubbish deleted (there's always the odd one or two!). I will edit all the images, it's very rare that images are spot on direct from the camera, and they will be uploaded to the web gallery that all of my clients receive as part of their shoot day.

During the weeks after the shoot any orders for prints and products from the guns or beaters are handled through this gallery, and of course I then start work on designing the books that you have ordered for your shoot. Whether it is one bespoke for you, or a set of books so the guns (or beaters) can have one each.

I also love this part of the process, because it means that I get to relive the day over and over, much as you will when you receive your bespoke photobooks ...

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