We first met celebrated sports photographer, Alex Livesey in part one, as we took a look at his incredible action shots. Now, in this final part of our two-part series on Alex’s work we’re taking a look at his portrait work which has seen this Bury-born, Stockport brought up lad photograph some of the UK’s best sportsmen and women.
But what does it take to be a top class sports photographer and get that all important shot?
“You have to have a bit of an eye.” Alex smiles, “A lot of it comes with experience, deciding what the news story might be, which team is important or which player. But outside of that it’s in the lap of the Gods what happens – you’ve just got to be ready to capture whatever happens in front of you!”
Although it might be argued that it’s easier to capture what’s in front of you when you have a famous athlete in for a portrait shoot?
“I do enjoy doing portraits as I can organise it. I do like the buzz of going to a live event with the action as I don’t think everyone can sports or action photography as its quite specialised – you live and die on your reactions but I like the results of portraiture.”
Alex has photographed some of the nation’s favourite sporting faces including Lizzie Arnold, Nicola Adams and Sir Alex Ferguson – but what is like to shoot Sir Alex?
“It’s amazing. When you get in the studio you get to meet these people and talk to them. It’s nice to have that actual connection and see them behind the scenes. It’s funny because I’d never met [Alex Ferguson] before and I had this image of him being this hardened Scottish guy and that he’d be a nightmare to take pictures of but actually he was the complete and utter opposite, such a gentleman. He completely blew my perception – I get that a lot with the athletes, they’re usually different to what you think they’ll be.”
Alex generally uses a Canon EOS 1DX body and his average lens is 400mm with a zoom lens of 70-200m. But what does he do when he’s not taking photographs?
“I don’t have much of a life!” He laughs, “My job has sort of morphed into my life really because I don’t feel like I actually do a job. So strangely enough if I’m not taking pictures of sport I’ll probably watch it somewhere. I used to play a lot of football but age and injuries catch up and so I decided to stop playing and I spend most of my time in the gym or with my kids. I’m a big Man City supporter so most the time I go to matches and I’ll take my boys to watch.”
Alex has now set up his own company with his sister, Danehouse Photography, and is paying back by passing his skills on to a junior photographer, Chloe.
“It’s nice to think I can actually give it back.” Alex smiles.
Alex admits the industry has been amazing to him and he’s looking forward to training Chloe up. If you’d like to check out more of Alex’s photography head to danehousephotography.com.