PROFILE

Eddie Keogh

Gareth Southgate, manager of the England men's football team, standing smiling in the rain.

Photojournalist and Canon Ambassador Eddie Keogh has captured sports at all levels – from Sunday league football to international rugby tournaments. This image shows Gareth Southgate, manager of the England men's football team, watching his players during a training session in the rain. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens at 170mm, 1/30 sec, f/2.8 and ISO320. © 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 the official photographer via Getty Images for the England football team and also works for England Rugby's main sponsor, O2. "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 teams play 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."
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.
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
Boys playing football on a grass pitch in front of a block of flats.

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 (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 41mm, 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."
A black-and-white image of footballers playing on a misty day.

Eddie was Highly Commended at the 2018 Sports Journalists Awards for his series of black-and-white images of Sunday league football. 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 70mm, 1/3200 sec, f/4 and ISO200. © Eddie Keogh

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."
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?

"I send most of my pictures straight from the camera to an FTP address, sometimes with a voice caption, and the editors can work on them from the office or home."



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."

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 containing Canon cameras and lenses.

Cameras

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

A former Canon EOS-1D X Mark II user, Eddie now relies on the Mark III. "My go-to camera," he says. "Incredible autofocus with deep learning AF, not to mention up to 20fps of stunning images."

Canon EOS R5

With its ability to shoot 45MP photos at up to 20fps, this revolutionary model will have you rethinking what you know about mirrorless technology. "We are, without doubt, looking at the future of photography with this camera," says Eddie. "If I use my Canon EOS-1D X Mark III to shoot sport, I'll use this for everything else."

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."

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

Favoured by many, this new version of the classic wide zoom offers stunning sharpness. "Such a versatile lens with edge-to-edge clarity at either end of the zoom. It travels with me everywhere," says Eddie.

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

A precision-designed, ultra wide-angle L-series lens with a rectilinear design to correct distortion. "Superb edge-to-edge when you need to go that little bit wider," says Eddie.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

With its compact, lightweight construction, this high-performance telephoto zoom lens offers excellent image quality in a variety of situations. "It's a wonderfully sharp zoom when you need to travel lighter or spend 12 hours carrying it over your shoulder shooting a golf tournament," Eddie explains.

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