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article imageDaniel Mitchell discusses career in sports photography Special

By Markos Papadatos     Aug 28, 2017 in Sports
Esteemed photographer Daniel Mitchell chatted with Digital Journal about his career in sports photography, as well as the digital transformation of photography industry.
Mitchell has photographed some of the biggest names in the sports world, namely track and field. He is a member of the International Press Association.
"My passion for sports was with me from an early age but it really kicked off when I was 14 years old watching Eric Heiden speed-skate in the 1980 Olympic Games," he recalled. "This impressed me deeply. My interest in sports photography generated itself over time and kicked into high gear when digital cameras entered the consumer market in the late 1990's. I have been professionally active about 13 years."
When asked what motivates him each day, Mitchell responded, "I am constantly searching for images that tell a story without the need for a caption." "I spend many hours every day (365 days a year) learning something new about photography, going through photos, or in some way managing my photography business. The motivation comes from my passion of photography and it must be totally subconscious because it never feels like work. My mind is always in motion about what I could be doing or photographing," he said.
2017 World Championships in London
2017 World Championships in London
Daniel Mitchell
2017 World Championships in London
For Mitchell, it was an "amazing experience" to photograph the 2017 World Championships in track and field that took place earlier this month in London. "The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium was, for me, the finest stadium worldwide I have ever worked in. There was a lot of space to circulate and this allowed me to plan the right angle for my shots. Additionally, there was excellent lighting both day and night. Having an up-front seat to all the competitions and to see all the world's greatest athletes compete cannot be described easily in words. It is a real thrill. When a stadium of nearly 60,000 people is all cheering during a competition, it is emotionally moving. Since I personally met and photographed many of the top athletes at previous competitions it was particularly special for me; however, it is worth noting that it was also very physically demanding. Carrying around two or three cameras with large heavy lenses took its toll on my back muscles and feet. Also, processing photos until 2 a.m. in the morning, and then starting your day again at 8 a.m. exhausted me after several long days in a row," he explained.
Sam Kendricks at the 2017 World Championships in London
Sam Kendricks at the 2017 World Championships in London
Daniel Mitchell
For aspiring photographers, Mitchell's advice is as follows: "One simple thing I would say to all aspiring photographers that there is always more to learn and improve in your work no matter who you are. My advice is simple - consider yourself as an eternal student. Constantly challenge your techniques, work-flow, knowledge, and artistic skills. Watch how others work and look for ways to improve."
2017 World Championships in London
2017 World Championships in London
Daniel Mitchell
Throughout his respected career in photography, he had several stand-out moments. "When I was first granted infield accreditation at IAAF Diamond League meetings I was so proud. Infield accreditation is very limited and often is restricted only to the top world media agencies. It was, and still is a huge thing for me to be in this small group of select photographers. Additionally, starting my own company and selling my work to the newspapers and websites made me feel very proud," he said.
Mitchell talks about digital transformation of photography
Regarding the impact of technology on the photography scene, he said, "The advances over the past few years in camera sensors is an immense change still underway in the commercial camera market. I think this was an anticipated change but the speed of the developments are far quicker than I expected. Improvements in resolution, sensitivity, and speed of the CCD sensors is now changing everything about photography. Additionally, the developments in cloud storage and social media sharing platforms is another extremely fast change that few correctly predicted or understand how it will continue to evolve."
Mitchell shared that he uses technology regularly on a daily basis. "I use social media extensively every day to show my work to people, to advertise, and to attract sales. Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and my web-site are fundamental technology pieces that I work with every single day. These sites and technologies help me reach a worldwide audience with my photos. Without fail, I follow very closely the daily web statistics gathered by Google Analytics for my web site. Additionally, I make very good use of software subscriptions such as Adobe Creative Cloud for image work-flow as well as sites such as Carbonite for image and computer backups. I have approximately seven Terabytes of photos to catalog, store and backup. Part of my solution for this large quantity of data involves a Linux based server and cloud storage. Finally, I use my phone and three different computers to monitor, process, manipulate and archive my photos," he said.
On the evolution of photography with the help of technology over the years, he explained, "The obvious game-changing developments are technical improvements in digital camera features, cloud storage and backup, social media for sharing and advertising, and the Internet has immensely altered photography from what it was just 10 years ago."
To learn more about acclaimed sports photographer Daniel Mitchell, check out his official homepage.
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