Profile

Eddie Keogh

Pupils at Eton College play football dressed in traditional attire and watched by other pupils from a wall above. Photo by Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh.
Sports photojournalist and Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh has captured sports at all levels, from the World Cup to Sunday league. This shot shows pupils of the elite Eton College in England playing the Eton Wall Game, a sport played on a narrow strip 110 metres long up against a wall. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) at 1/800 sec, f/4 and ISO200. © Eddie Keogh

For over three decades, Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh has been at the forefront of sports photojournalism in the UK, having shot thousands of images from a huge range of sporting disciplines for the world's daily papers.

Eddie is a contract photographer for Reuters and the official photographer for both England Rugby's main sponsor O2 and the England football team on behalf of the FA. "It's an honour to work with the England football team and such an interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes," he says. "They have been really friendly, open to new ideas and very professional in their responsibility to their game. Both are played with passion and that endeavour comes through in the photographs. Whether that's a flying tackle in rugby or a diving header in football, there's always a chance of a great sports picture."

Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh.


Location: Oxford, UK
Specialist areas: Sports
Favourite Kit:
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM

London-born Eddie first picked up a camera when he became exasperated by his mother's hit-and-miss attempts to capture family photos. "I played and loved sport from an early age, so when my interest blossomed as a teenager it was a natural fit for me to combine my two loves: sport and photography." Eager to take his skill beyond that of a casual enthusiast, he transformed his bedroom into a darkroom and taught himself how to develop film and black-and-white printing, landing his first paid job in 1981 covering a match between Millwall and Reading.

Since then, the father-of-three's highlights have included travelling to many sporting events across the globe, his first being the Olympics in Los Angeles when he was just 21.

Youngsters play football in front of a tower block on Wanstead Flats in London. Photo by Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh.
Youth football on Wanstead Flats in London. Eddie says that photographing local sport is an excellent way to hone your skills. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 40mm, 1/1000 sec, f/4.5 and ISO800. © Eddie Keogh

Eddie's skill behind the camera isn't just recognised by editors, he's scored highly with competition judges too. "I was very happy with a Highly Commended in the Specialist Portfolio of the Sports Journalists Awards in 2018," says Eddie, when asked which trophy meant the most. "Only because it was a set of black-and-white images I'd taken as a private project on Sunday morning football. But it was so nice that a set of pictures of amateur sport was able to compete at the highest level against so many portfolios of professional sports."

The Oxfordshire based shooter's other triumphs include: the Premier League Football Photographer of the Year Award 2006, the UK Picture Editors' Sports Photographer of the Year 2010, the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA)'s Sports News Picture of the Year in 2009 and 2010, SJA's Portfolio award 2012, and SJA's Away from the Action award in 2019 and 2020. "I think one of my strengths is that I can turn my hand to most styles depending on what the client requires, and I certainly enjoy a moment of humour that sometimes comes through in my pictures."

A goalkeeper leans against his goalpost in a black-and-white shot from Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh's series on Sunday league football.
Eddie was Highly Commended at the 2018 Sports Journalists Awards for his series of black-and-white images on Sunday league football. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 70mm, 1/3200 sec, f/4 and ISO200. © Eddie Keogh

What do you do the night before an event?
"I charge the camera batteries, mobile phone, computer and Wi-Fi units. I do my homework on the event I'm attending so I know the backstory, and I double-check my bag."

Can you share a few of your shooting secrets?
"Look at backgrounds; they can make or break a picture. If backgrounds are bad, stay on a long lens – if you want more atmosphere of the event stay on shorter lenses."

What happens to your images after you fire the shutter?
"Working with Reuters, I send most of my pictures straight from the camera, and the editors will do the editing in the London office."

A football match in a park is seen through goal posts framing the scene. Photo by Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh.
Not only concerned with football and rugby, Eddie shoots other sports such as gymnastics too. By placing the focus on the judges in this shot, the speed of the gymnast's movement is emphasised. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 1/20 sec, f/8 and ISO400. © Eddie Keogh

Do you ever retouch your images?
"If I send the images from my laptop first, I do very little retouching. Literally lighten or darken, colour correct if necessary and occasionally sharpen if it's a big pull. It's a sackable offence to add or take anything out of a picture so we are very, very careful."

What's the best way to break into the industry?
"There are so many photographers working for local clubs now and that's a great way to learn. If you get good at that – and you have to be good – there's always a chance of moving onwards and upwards."

Twitter: @eddie_keogh
Instagram: @eddiekeoghphotos
Website: www.eddiekeogh.com

One thing I know
Eddie Keogh

"A fast shutter speed is a good start. Most sports are fast-moving, so it's essential to have sharp pictures. Try to get as low as you can; a low angle can add a touch more drama to your pictures especially if you can see that the athletes are off the ground. Other than that I recommend practise, practise and then go and practise some more. Get off the computer and get to any sporting events you can. And don't be particular about the weather – bad weather can produce great pictures."

Eddie Keogh's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Eddie Keogh's kitbag with Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.

Camera

Lenses

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM

The world's lightest telephoto lens for ultra high-quality sport, wildlife and action images. "Pin-sharp, stunning quality, unbeatable focus – and now it's so light you can hold it with your little finger," says Eddie.

Canon EF 85mm F/1.4L IS USM

This fast L-series telephoto with advanced optical engineering is perfect for creative portrait photography. "This lens is so good for portraits and in situations where you need to lose the background," says Eddie. "It's so sharp, the images jump off the screen."

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

The professional's standard zoom lens – sharp, quick and compact, it excels in low light. An extremely popular lens with pros. "Depending on the job, either this or the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens are always on my camera," says Eddie. "Brilliant image quality and very reliable."

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