Using a wide angle in Sports.

I threw my 24mm Sigma lens on my second body for a basketball game last week and this is what I got!

My sports photography timeline…to a point.

Picking up the camera gave me something to work towards but then you need to find that niche so you’re not just blending with others around you. That is where sports photography came in for me. I started off shooting anything I could go shoot, high school sports, youth sports, public rec. sports. Then, I wanted more. Had college and pro aspirations but I was still a student at Pitt State. Not knowing what to do to gain those opportunities. Talking with sports photographers is tricky. It’s all a competition in this world and they don’t talk much. Or at least the ones that I have met and spoken to.

Fast forward about two years in, I gained a media pass to shoot a D1 college basketball tournament in KC and had the opportunity to shoot UCLA vs Creighton and Baylor vs Wisconsin. That was a stepping stone for me to keep grinding and working for bigger goals. I felt I had the work ethic and the skill and eye to do it with the top. Over confident? Yes. But that is how I try to be with things I have a passion for.

Life doesn’t always work out how you think It will and things happen. Finishing school I had to find a job. Looking for a job in my field is even tougher and having to stick around the area, the options are limited. I started looking for other options and that was jumping into weddings with another guy and shooting video for him. Leading to getting a job at a marketing agency shooting and editing video so then sports slowing slowed down.

Sports went on the back burner, I was busy working my full time job that the hours sometime ran late into the evening shooting or editing, whatever it may be, the free time was cut out for a good year besides weekends for the most part. Sports kind of just left my mind as a goal because I was shooting video and I loved it and so sports I would take here or there with the local newspaper and that was really it.

Taking it back a bit, I always wanted to shoot sports for Pitt State once I picked up a camera and realized sports is what I loved. I always asked about shooting games and they soon started letting me come out and shoot pretty often, football and basketball for the most part.

Back to the past two years. Left the marketing agency and started a new full time job at Pitsco Education here in Pittsburg,Ks. I am the videographer so I shoot and edit videos to be used for social, classrooms, youtube etc. Then I started wedding videos on my own in 2020 and it has taken off for 2021 with 10 booked. It’s a great outlet to work on my video and so I have been steadily busy with my job and the weddings. Sports was still a very seldom thing for me to shoot besides parents asking me to come to some high school games. Then Covid came and it was really put on the back burner and wasn’t getting much of anything in sports.

Jump to about 2 months ago, I was asked if I want to freelance for Pittsburg State University as their previous photographer, a student had graduated and found a full time job elsewhere. I jumped on the opportunity and it was been awesome. It has been so good getting back into sports photography and really been nice to get out and shoot something almost every week now.

This was a long explanation on how sometimes, you just need time to get where you’re going. Timing plays a part and to just keep working on it. I didn’t see this coming but sports is something I love to shoot and so happy to be where I am now.

Investing in yourself

Getting into photography early in college I knew it was an expensive path to take and at times you think GEAR is everything as many do. To purchase my first DSLR, I opened my first credit card and bout a canon rebel t5i, weeks after that I started a internship in order to graduate college and the guy let me rent to own a Nikon d3s. The reason that camera was great for me was I fell in love with sports photography and Id like to say it came natural to me but that’s not what I am covering today but check out my IG: to see some of my work over the years.

Back to the subject at hand. It’s expensive, rent to own my first PRO body and sports took off for me. Sports is a hard thing to get into if you want to cover pro or even college sports. Having a couple d2 colleges around sure helped out and ive covered a few D1 games for basketball. My gear was slowly aging and my interest started to shift from sports to portraits and wedding videos and video in general to be honest.

I then purchased a 5d mark iv to allow me to shoot wedding video and have a newer body for portraits and everyday use outside of my sports gear which was my Nikon d3s and Sigma 120-300 f2.8.

As you can see here ive had some gear and there is more gear when it comes to lenses and tripods, sliders. Whatever I thought I needed I found a way but it was always so hard to spend the money. My career never really made big hops and revenue wasn’t the best despite all of my hear I had. Chump change is what it was. Newspaper was $50 a game to give you an idea and so the money I was spending was my everyday cash, savings wasn’t a thing.

Then came along 2020 and I knew changes had to be made. To preface, I had been shooting wedding films for another photog for a couple years at this point. Back to 2020, I decided I would get into wedding videos as Derek Livingston Media. I start looking at what gear I have and what I might need to make this a running deal. I booked my first wedding nice and cheap and months before C-19 came into the world.


Yep, everything is on hold. Dates are pushed around and then I book another wedding and that is pushed around. We hit a spot and weddings sizes changes and I shoot my first wedding and put out the video and it was a big hit. That is when everything changed for me and my eyes were opened to the possibilites.

What started out as a test has started a future, a bright future for my video career. 2020 gave me 4 weddings and 2021 I have 3 booked already. No promotion on my end, just the power of social media and people sharing their videos from my facebook page. You can say I am beyond blessed to be where I am now.

Some info on me, I am a full time videographer for a education company, I also freelance sports photography still and capture every moment that I can with my nieces and family. Wedding video was just another side hustle to get where I want to be. I want to be independent and able to help with my wife and I’s financial situation, just daily bills of life and also maybe someday have a full running business capturing moments for people whether that is photos or videos.

Over the years I have bought gear that didn’t pan out, gear that has panned out and now I know it’s part of the process in anything you do. You make mistakes and you also succeed. The moment that really made this all come to mind was the fact for once in my life, I have been able to purchase a camera with cash. No credit card debt, I didn’t have to sell any gear or borrow money. I was able to buy my new Canon Eos R6 brand new with wedding video money.

2020 wasn’t a year anyone expected but if anything, it really made me work for what I wanted, realize what I have and see what I need to do to keep going. I changed up my work, I started reaching out to other creatives, pushed more and more onto my social media, my youtube and staying consistent with my blog posts.

I think I got off a bit but long story short, I never thought I would get to where I am today and I am still not where I want to be but I think that is because we as people compare ourselves to how well others look to be doing. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the other person with 4k, 10k, 1m followers on IG or the person that gets 100, 500, 1k likes on a photo.

Just do you, invest in yourself and keep creating. I also realize this post didn’t end up how I wanted it to be but thats 100% of my blogs here. I start on something and I just type away and call it good. I am not a good writer and can’t focus on anything for more than 10 seconds so this is how it goes.

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Shooting sports photography on Film

Purchasing a Nikon F4 has been a great experience so far. I like the change from digital to film when I need a challenge. I have a 20mm f2.8 lens(I wrote about it in a previous post) and I took it to the courts recently and shot some college basketball and high school basketball. I shot with 400asa film and though it worked, I could have done things differently to get better results.

Things I could have changed up to get better shots would be… a Faster shutter speed but to get that I would have had to have a higher ASA film. 400asa isn’t that high when you’re in a dark gym, even at f2.8 and 20mm. The shots, for the most part, are sharp but you can see some motion for sure! I am new to film so I don’t know if changing the ASA dial would have changed anything.. like if I turned it to 800ASA would I actually gain that light. Though if that would work, I am sure the grain would be pretty high and I am willing to take because grain doesn’t bother me, even in my digital work.

Another thing I could have done was found better angles to shoot from since 20mm is so wide but, I enjoyed the look I got from this first roll of shooting sports. With the two gyms, I tried it at, you have to watch out for the dance team or cheer squad so the corners or under the basket are your only options but I also didn’t move around as much as I could have since I was working and the film side was simply for my personal experience so I had to focus on the games for the most part.

Below is are examples of the shots I took. Minimal or no cropping was done and I did adjust the white balance as it was off to the greenish/yellow side of things.



Hope you all enjoyed.. feel free to comment any questions or find me on instagram :@ DLsports or @ derekliving.

Twitter: ThatPhotog1


PEACE!…oh, also stay safe out there and don’t go out in groups.