One of the coolest things about working with a team/specific athletes is learning their habits and mannerisms and being able to use that knowledge in your work. The access granted by their trust in you gives you the ability to go places and capture shots others can't. Taking advantage of that can grant some amazing results.
As an internal photographer and cinematographer for UNC Football, I get access to places such as the team locker room and bench area, access given to very few others. This means that after the team runs out of the tunnel, instead of running to the end zones to set up for the start of the game with everyone else, I can stick around as the team finishes up their last bits of preparation before taking the field.
It was during these brief moments in between that I noticed a few tendencies certain players would repeat every game. Quarterback Drake Maye would step out and get a few extra tosses in around midfield, Defensive End Kaimon Rucker would close his eyes and pray for a few seconds, and Linebacker Cedric Gray would give a speech to his position group. Knowing this, I started setting up to capture these moments each game and ended up getting some of my favorite frames, frames I never would have gotten if I hadn't stuck close and intentionally observed their behaviors.
Trust and access are two of the most difficult and yet important things to come by in sports. When you're lucky enough to earn them, make sure to take full advantage.

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