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aerial golf course view

How to take perfect golf course photographs

Unlike any other sport, with golf there’s always plenty of time to take a good picture. But if you want to capture the course just as it was – or even better than it was – follow these tips from eric’s brilliant golf photographer collaborator Jacob Sjöman.

1. Early birdie catches the…

Avoid the harsh light of the middle of the day and get to the course either just after sunrise or just before sunset. The rising or falling sun will illuminate and cast shadows on different parts of the course to stunning effect. Be sure to check out the weather forecast in advance and arrive in good time before you start shooting pictures.

Trump International Links
Trump International Links

2. Find the course’s USP

Before you hit the course, ask the club pro or someone who plays it regularly, what the signature holes are and where best to capture its unique characteristics. There’s a lot of similar traits on golf courses, yet every course is different – find a way to frame those differences and that will in turn make your photographs varied.

Anahita Golf Course, Mauritius
Anahita Golf Course, Mauritius

3. Cover every angle

Work wisely with your composition and avoid placing objects in the centre, it can make it look too staged and unnatural. Instead, cover your angles, literally, by trying more than one composition for each picture. I always try to do three different compositions of each scene at least.

Le Golf National
Le Golf National

4. Take the higher ground

It’s a good thing to find higher viewpoints to shoot from such as hills, big rocks and, if you’re going to take it seriously, you might invest in a special high tripod. The elevation helps you show the smaller details of a course rather than just green – so you’ll see water, bunkers, and other intricacies.

TPC Kuala Lumpur
TPC Kuala Lumpur

5. Fifty (or more) shades

While we all know not to shoot directly into sunlight – if you don’t, you do now – you should also avoid positioning the camera so the sun is directly behind you as this will flatten the image. Instead, if you take more of an angled approach, with the sun still mostly behind you, you’ll be able to see where shadows are cast, delivering a sense of the course contours to the images.

Thracian Cliffs
Thracian Cliffs

6. Look above as well as below

As a golfer you might focus on the green expanse ahead, but many of my shots are made by the dramatic skies you get at either end of the day. In short, look above as well as below when it comes to painting the golf landscape.

Tavla Lofoten Links
Lofoten Links

7. Don’t try to capture the whole hole

Unless it’s a short par three, without a drone, it’s very hard to capture the whole golf hole and do it justice. Instead, be selective, either look at the approach to the hole – for instance, capturing the elements that protect it – or focus on a unique characteristic, it could be the tee position, a sharp dog-leg or the fairway bunkering.

Augusta US Masters
Augusta US Masters

8. Flag position

I don’t like it when people position the flag too close in a scene, so instead, I try to show more of what’s in front the flag such as bunkers, water or a nice fairway. However, it’s not always easy to find good compositions for the flag since a lot of times you would like to change the position of the pin – those course designers don’t always help me, very considerate.

Brohof Stadium Course
Brohof Stadium Course

If you want to know about making simply brilliant content, get in touch with eric.