Sports photographer: Tim Tadder

Tim Tadder is not only a sports photographer, although he started out in sports events and his sport shoots are gorgeous. Tadder’s images feature strong foreground subjects as the principal graphic element, usually poised at that peak moment of high-wire, fuel-injected tension. His style is fantastic for advertising, which he has been doing since 2005. He, together with two assistants, a producer and a digital tech, travel by bike every morning to Cardiff, San Diego, to their studio just beside the sea.

“Classic with a great ocean view and fresh breeze all day.”

Tadder takes a vanload of lighting solutions with him pretty much wherever he goes, sometimes with up to six or seven people moving equipment for him. He primarily uses Profoto, bringing his Pro-7a and Pro-7b power supplies for broad power sources and his D4 power supplies for the extended channel control they provide for his accent sources. He actually prefers to go on location, and has no problem mixing natural lighting with artificial lighting.

“There are lots of surprises that come from locations in a good way,” says Tadder, “like a musty old fence, or a great receding landscape, or a cool sky that comes out of nowhere. So we definitely get fired up about shooting locations as opposed to shooting in a studio, for sure. Artificial light creates a sense of dimension that doesn’t necessarily exist in traditional photography. You can’t get these skies without throwing a lot of light underneath. And that all probably stemmed from one of my very first visual inspirations, Galen Rowell, who used graduated neutral-density filters a lot.”

“We want to make our stuff look cooler and have greater impact.”

Tadder’s Gear

  • Cameras
    • Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
    • Hasselblad H3D-39
  • Lighting
    • Profoto Heads
    • Profoto Pro-7a 2400 Power Supply
    • Profoto Pro-7b 1200 Power Supply
    • Profoto D4 4800R Power Supply
  • Digital
    • Adobe Lightroom
    • Apple Mac Pro 8-core

“Photography is a little like baseball in that these guys get paid millions of dollars, and they only hit the ball one out of three times. We have to take a lot of pictures in order to take the right picture. There are a lot of mistakes that make that success. Visual perfection is elusive, and to better your chances at it, in my opinion, you have to refine and really know what you’re trying to accomplish.”

Author: Bea Cabrera

Freelance Filmmaker with a passion for big cities, snowboard, cinema and a weakness for the smell of freshly ground coffee. Engineer & Graphic Designer in a previous life, loving and living both: art and technology.  

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