Going for Gold

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Special Olympic Photography

Occasionally on my travels as a commercial photographer, I get the privilege to meet and photograph some great people. On this particular day I was shooting some prospectus images for a large University when I was introduced to Special Olympic gymnast - Omar Haddad. This guy was full of beans and definitely not camera shy. I'd been looking for an opportunity to get involved in the olympic build up, so i arranged to photograph him at one of his training sessions.


For those of you not familiar with Omar's work here's a quick PDF biography supplied by his coach Iain Chalmers.

I've always been interested in gymnastics as its a highly technical and supremely physical sport and to get the chance to photograph an Olympic athlete was an opportunity I didn't want to miss.

The shots in the gallery above show the amazing physical strength Omar has. I was immensely impressed with Omar's work rate, his strength and flexibility.

Top tip: When photographing any athletes, it's important to allow them time to warm up properly. There's been a few examples recently of athletes pulling muscles and ruining their season due to not warming up before a photography shoot. I highly recommend photographing after a training session, so long as the athlete isn't too tired.

Omar was a trooper during the shoot and pulled off some amazing moves. He brought along a neck load of medals; testament to his many amazing achievements, and even more thrilling was a real Olympic torch. He'd recently been selected by the Special Olympics GB team to carry the Olympic torch in the 2012 UK Olympic relay. We used these prestigious items whilst capturing a few sports portraits after the training session had finished. One thing more before I leave....Go Team GB! Good luck in London.

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