Big-league sports photog talks going pro with iPhone | Cult of Mac

Big-league sports photog talks going pro with iPhone

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Sports photographer Brad Mangin gets a lot of assignments these days to shoot with his iPhone.
Sports photographer Brad Mangin gets a lot of assignments these days to shoot with his iPhone.
Photo: Martha Jane Stanton

Sports photographer Brad Mangin used to rush to an airport after a big game to get several rolls of film on the next flight to New York for processing and editing. He never saw what he shot until it was on the cover or a two-page spread in the latest Sports Illustrated.

Now his colleagues with their heavy DSLR cameras, lenses, and a laptop to transmit photos laugh when they see Mangin with his gear – an iPhone and maybe an external battery.

Mangin has indeed been privileged to walk through many of photography’s technical revolutions and while the equipment he carries is significantly smaller, one thing hasn’t changed: Mangin still nails his shots.

He narrates his own video profile recently posted on the website of the PGA TOUR, which began flying him around the country last year to photograph tournaments with an iPhone as part of the TOUR’s social media team.

While his work and words have been featured in Cult of Mac, the video (at the bottom of this story) is like sitting down with him face-to-face for a conversation that offers a glimpse of his generous spirit and infectious enthusiasm.

Mangin was given behind-the-scenes access to TOUR events, working unobtrusively with his iPhone to capture golfers relaxing in the clubhouse, groundskeepers mowing greens at sunrise and attendants polishing golf shoes for the next round.

The PGA TOUR would post his pictures throughout the day to various social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and often, a Mangin photo of a winner and his trophy would be the first still photo published.

The iPhone has helped Mangin keep a career that was in jeopardy by falling freelance fees and new restrictive contracts. He has also been hired by NASCAR for its social media team.

Fortunately, Mangin began to get recognized for work he was doing with his iPhone. Assigned to shoot Spring Training in 2012, Mangin was carrying his then iPhone 4s and having fun taking pictures and posting them to Instagram.

The iPhone made photography feel playful again as Mangin ran around making portraits and shooting details, a like a bag of baseballs and a rack of wood bats.

Brad Mangin
Mangin’s baseball Instagram photos from the 2012 season were collected into a book.
Photo: Brad Mangin

The body of iPhone work grew and an editor at Sports Illustrated pushed for space in the magazine to publish his Instagram photos. SI displayed Margin’s pictures across three consecutive double trucks. A year later, more than 200 of his photos became the book, Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin.

In the spring of 2015, one of his Instagram photos caught the attention of Apple’s marketing team. His shot of a muddy high school football player was selected as part of Apple’s now famous “Shot on iPhone 6” advertising campaign.