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Batter Up with Baseball Photography

Author: Libby - Printique by Adorama

It’s the time of the year when America’s favorite past time kicks off with a crack of the bat and cheers from the stands. We are,of course, talking about baseball. Recently, we were delighted by member @27upand27down ‘s Instagram feed which is entirely devoted to his passion of baseball photography. We spend some time with Eric Dearborn to find out more about his homerun of an Instagram feed.

Tell us a little about yourself

My Name is Eric Dearborn and I’ve lived a blessed life! For over 2 decades I’ve been a male print model and used to be on All My Children. I’ve done work for such companies as the Gap and Tommy Hilfiger and worked with such photographers as Matthew Rolston and Bruce Weber. Basically, my entire life has been spent in front or behind a camera.

How did you start in baseball photography?

I started taking photos of baseball players because I wanted to collect autographs. I figured that I could take a photo of a player and have him sign it. The first major league player I asked to sign one actually kept it and gave me his batting gloves. At that point, I was hooked.

How did you hone your skills for this particular photography and what is in your camera bag?

I’m still learning but I’ve found that practice makes perfect. I’ve probably shot a few hundred baseball games in the last 5 years.
My camera bag consists of a Canon 7d Mark 1 and a Mark 2, a t3i that I only use for video purposes, a 17-40mm L, 100-400MM L, 8mm Rokinon and an old school 300mm Bushnell manual lens. For baseball and all sports, you need a telephoto. The reason I went with the 100-400mm over a prime is because of the price and it gives me much more freedom to frame shots in camera instead of post. Also, I use the 7d’s so the sensor is cropped but even if I zoom to 400mm I still would only get a full frame shot of the second baseman or shortstop depending on what side of the field I’m shooting from. To get great shots of outfielders that you can blow up you should consider using a teleconverter.

Most rewarding experience re: to baseball photography?

100’s of great memories but the first time I had one of my photos put into the Baseball Hall of Fame’s photo library was the best. That honor wasn’t expected and it was prior to me attending photo school so I quickly realized I must be doing something right and I needed to take things seriously.

 Is there a sweet spot to sit at during games to get the best photos?

 There really is no ideal spot to shoot from because a game takes place all around you. The action shots will usually take place in front of you but the game isn’t 100% action. The fans in the stands and the players on the bench can provide just as interesting shots as a double play or a sliding catch.  If you’re shooting a major league game or college you pretty much only have the photo wells which are located near first base or third base to shoot from. That means all your competition is going to get similar shots so you have to figure out a way that will make your photos more interesting than the competition.

 Advice for those who would like to start?

My advice would be to never chase money but love what you shoot. If you put all of yourself into every shot the money will come. If it doesn’t come quick enough you will already be full of happiness because you are doing what you love and to the best of your ability.
 Thank you, Eric. By the way, last year Eric was one of three winners that won our Print Your Instagram Feed Giveaway. We printed out his Instagram feed in 5x5s on luster photo paper. He said, “It turned out perfect. The problem is that when I showed some of the shots to the players they wanted the prints. I guess that’s a great problem to have :).” We agree !
If you would like to see more of his work. You can check out his website HERE or give him a follow on his Instagram feed @27up27down.