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Old 02-10-2014, 01:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Paintball Photography - What you wear?

I've been shooting paintball games for the past few years now, on the sidelines for speedball and on the field for woodsball. With woodsball photography I've tried to wear numerous different things to reduce the chance of being considered a target by players. I've tried wearing jeans and a t-shirt, safety vests, and a bright yellow jersey to name a few things. In all of these situations I attempt to make the point that I'm the only person on the field that isn't in camouflage. Despite my best efforts to distinguish myself from players and make sure I'm don't appear to be a player, I still get shot at and hit regularly.

Usually players realize their mistake and are apologetic about shooting a photographer, and I usually joke around that I get shot more as a photographer than as a player; which is unfortunately true.

My question to anyone that shoots paintball photography is simple, what do you wear to distinguish yourself from the players and how well does it work out?
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by esseprometheus View Post
I've been shooting paintball games for the past few years now, on the sidelines for speedball and on the field for woodsball. With woodsball photography I've tried to wear numerous different things to reduce the chance of being considered a target by players. I've tried wearing jeans and a t-shirt, safety vests, and a bright yellow jersey to name a few things. In all of these situations I attempt to make the point that I'm the only person on the field that isn't in camouflage. Despite my best efforts to distinguish myself from players and make sure I'm don't appear to be a player, I still get shot at and hit regularly.

Usually players realize their mistake and are apologetic about shooting a photographer, and I usually joke around that I get shot more as a photographer than as a player; which is unfortunately true.

My question to anyone that shoots paintball photography is simple, what do you wear to distinguish yourself from the players and how well does it work out?
Usually get permission before a game from the field owners/refs and wear the same color/jerseys that the refs are wearing helps reduce getting lit up but still get the occasional one/two hit. Or extra padding and not worry about it either way - ie full helmet - bounce jersey with an anorak - padded pants and stay close enough to the action but out of the "lanes".
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I translated this as: Scenario games are popular with overshooting douchebags raging on cocaine and steroid cocktails while roasting puppies and punching babies. Stay home unless you enjoy impromptu fistfights.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A paintball mask and fairly normal clothes. I've been toying with the idea of rigging some kind of hard shell stand off 'armour' (So that I can keep a good air flow over the skin and stay cool as much as for the protection from hits) to wear, but I didn't make it out even once last year and it fell by the wayside.

Biggest thing I found in paintball was to stand tall, walk at a reasonable pace, and don't act like a player. If you're hugging bunkers, moving quickly, taking cover, etc, then you look like a player and will draw fire from players out of habit.

Most of the times I'm hit isn't from players shooting directly at me, but rather natural cross fire. Airball has to be the worst due to random and erratic bounce from streams, and can be rather hard to position yourself for good photos while staying out of a danger zone.

Personally I think white is possibly the best colour. Rarely see players wearing white, and it tends to stand out just as much as blaze orange and safety vests. Plus it absorbs less from infrared than other colours.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the quick replies.

ELI7E - I don't care about getting shot, my concern lies primarily with my camera. I often use my body to shield my camera. I do agree about dressing like the refs, unfortunately at most of the fields I frequent, the refs wear the gear they play in.

Luckless - Your comments about presence on the field is actually exactly what I do. I always walk around, at most a light jog, I almost always have an arm in the air while moving around. I never make myself appear to be a player while photographing. And I agree about airball, there will always be stray shots and bounces to deal with.

I've recently been toying around with the idea to get a new jersey of sorts for photographing. I've been trying to decide between neon colors for visibility or black and white stripes to look like a referee. I'm thinking that looking like a traditional referee will register quicker for more players on the field.
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't worry much about the camera or myself these days.

What does bother me is interfering with the game. This practically never happens in airball, but it can and does happen in woods and scenario games where there's no sideline. The last scenario I shot, I wore a reflective orange vest and yellow mask. I still had to wave off attacks fairly often and some players spent quite a bit of time and paint shooting at me. This year I think I'm going to try a shield with "PHOTO" emblazoned across the front. Planting that in a player's direction should get the point across quickly.

For airball, a yellow mask, bright t-shirt and appropriate body language are enough.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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As everyone else said, behavior is an important way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. I usually call out while moving through trees, doorways or other tight areas just so I avoid any twitch shots. The way I've explained it to other people covering events is to treat players like bears - if they know you're there they won't bother you. I also tend to gravitate towards refs - I find that players tend not to shoot you if you're near one.

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I've recently been toying around with the idea to get a new jersey of sorts for photographing. I've been trying to decide between neon colors for visibility or black and white stripes to look like a referee. I'm thinking that looking like a traditional referee will register quicker for more players on the field.
I run with a ref vest from spec-ops - something that I've found a bit distracting is that if players think you're a ref, they'll usually start calling on you to check players and to make calls. While I usually don't mind lending a hand, I don't think it is right for me to make judgements that refs should be making. If you decide to go for something like that, I would suggest trying to stay away from ref designs or colors (or at least something that isn't like the refs at your local field).
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That's good point. You need to distinguish yourself from refs as well as players. Being mistaken for either can affect the game.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Usually get permission before a game from the field owners/refs and wear the same color/jerseys that the refs are wearing helps reduce getting lit up but still get the occasional one/two hit. Or extra padding and not worry about it either way - ie full helmet - bounce jersey with an anorak - padded pants and stay close enough to the action but out of the "lanes".
This. I am gonna probably get a jersey as well as the orange vest can be mistaken.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That is why I like the plain white shirt, rather than black and white stripes. Stands out just as well as the ref's stripes do in most cases, but is clearly not a ref, and is not easily confused with any of the various colours speedballers tend to wear.

I've had several cases where someone would by yelling at me for a paint check while I'm completely oblivious to the fact that they're actually talking to me, and I'm instead now looking around to figure out where the ref is and whether or not I'm going to be able to frame up a decent shot of it or not.

But the shield idea is a good one. I think I might make one myself. I'm thinking whicker frame and arches so it sort of a long dish, then stretch some fabric over it. Coat of paint, centre strap to hold, and a shoulder strap of some kind so I can go hands free and not completely drop the thing.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I use an official ref jersey and shield the camera with my body... Not much better way to do it that I have found haha
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