Sam, for our readers that aren’t as familiar with your work, can you please introduce yourself?
Hello there! My name is Sam Lutz. I’m a content producer for the Kansas City Royals. I create photos and videos for the team’s use on social and digital media
How did you start with Photography?
I started photography as a hobby. I ran track and cross country in college, so when I graduated I needed something to do for fun so I picked up my Dad’s camera and started shooting photos.
Baseball can be considered somewhat of a “slower type” of the game compared to others but just like other sports, special moments can come at any given time and if you miss it, well you missed it. So, with that being said, how do you prepare for the shot and do you have a go-to lens that can capture that moment?
Baseball, to me, is very situational. I’m always trying to look for the reaction, the play, or the hit. For example, if we have a pitcher in a huge spot, runner on third, game on the line, and he has a chance to strike out the batter I’ll keep my focus on the pitcher rather than a position player because I want to capture the emotion of the pitcher when he gets the game-saving strikeout. My go-to lens for game action is the 300 2.8. Not the longest sports lens, but I love that shallow depth of field and telephoto primes are crazy sharp!
What are your thoughts on post-processing photographs?
Everyone has a style they like and each team has its own aesthetic, but post-processing is your opportunity to set yourself apart. If you dig it, you dig it.
However, when shooting for news there are different standards.
Within the Royals baseball team, who is that one player that is always up for having their photo taken?
Adalberto Mondesi. He’s super photogenic and a very exciting player. Seems like he’s always looking for the camera. Each time he takes the field he points up to the sky which makes for great images.
Just like baseball, photographers have their “gamer”, what make and model camera are you working with at the moment?
My main shooter for photos and video is the Canon 1DX Mark II. I’ve also been using a Sony A7Riii for a lot of the run-and-gun filming I do before, during, and after the game.
Mirrorless within Sports Photography?
I’ve been seeing them more and more. The technology in mirrorless cameras is amazing. The Sony A7Riii has been new for me this season, but I like it, although I use it primarily for video. In my opinion, it’s not quite there yet when it comes to sports photography. However, mirrorless cameras seem to perform great for lifestyle, street, landscape and several other forms of photography.
You also handle video for the Royals, care to share some of your vision when creating a video?
I’m basically looking for the same “moments” when shooting video as I am when shooting stills. Starting out as a photographer has helped train my eye as a video shooter, but instead of looking for one frame, I’m looking for a series of frames.
Aside from your expertise in baseball photography, what other sports catch your interest and what would you like to shoot next?
I got my first taste of shooting football this year, and it was awesome! I’d love to do that again. I’d also really like to shoot basketball. The photos coming out of the NBA are amazing!
How do you decide which pictures to put on your Instagram page?
I like to use my Instagram as an art gallery and a portfolio. I only post my best and my favourite stuff.
Outside of baseball photography, what are your top 3 Instagram accounts that you can’t get enough of at the moment?
Three of my favourite people I follow are Matt Starkey, Ty Rogers, and Andre Robinson
Also, I have to give a shout out to Jason Hanna, the staff photographer for the Royals. He’s been such a great mentor and I’ve learned so much from him.
In your opinion, what’s that defensive position that is a can’t miss for some great photos during a game?
Other than the classic “ready position” photo. Shooting from the upper deck during a day game with a telephoto lens can create some very interesting images with the players casting shadows and running in and out of the light.
3 pieces of Photo equipment that are highly needed for that person that wants to start sports photography
- A camera – Any camera will work when you’re starting out, but a body that allows you to do continuous shooting will make a huge difference.
- A lens – For sports, a telephoto is a necessity. The 70-200 is a great lens when you’re starting out.
- A computer – Something to process and catalogue your images on. It could even be a phone. You can do a lot with Lightroom mobile.
Sometimes less is more?
Definitely. One camera can take you far.
Sam, thanks for the time. Any closing words or suggestions for aspiring photographers?
Shoot everything you can. Make things you like. Learn from the people around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Where can our readers find and follow you?