Sports photography has come a long way in its nearly 200-year history, with incredible images capturing the essence of athletic competition. One of the pioneers in this field was Robert Riger, a trained artist initially hired by Sports Illustrated as an illustrator. Riger set the bar high for sports photography when he started using a camera, and his children observed that he titled his photographs like an artist naming his work.

Riger’s Iconic Images

Some of the most famous Riger pictures include Mudhead, Over the Top, and The Golden Arm. Riger believed that sports pictures are a national language, continuously changing and recurring. The greatest sports photos are carefully thought through and seek to make pictures with aesthetic qualities that last through time.

The Decisive Moment

Henri Cartier-Bresson coined the phrase “the decisive moment” to describe the instant when the action before the lens is not simply captured by the photographer, but organized in such a way as to give it power and grace, balance, and form. This concept is evident in a photograph by Mark Leech of the World Cup match between the Netherlands and Brazil on July 2, 2010.

Drones in Sports Photography

With the relaxation of U.S. rules for commercial drones late last year, a race has sparked to develop flying camera platforms. New Zealand drone maker Aeronavics is testing drones for the film and television industry, using the country’s reputation for innovation in the film industry to stake out claims to what is expected to be a drone boom in Hollywood. New Zealand’s drone makers want to change the use of off-the-shelf drones to sophisticated, purpose-built aircraft.

The Future of Sports Photography

The global drone industry is expected to be worth $91 billion by 2024. Nearly half of the nearly 700 exemptions issued by the Federal Aviation Authority covered aerial photography. Aeronavics plans to launch a series of aircraft later this year specializing in capturing images for cinema, broadcasting, and live sporting events. Daily rates to rent a drone for shooting purposes range between $10,000 and $15,000 per day, while helicopter rentals can climb as high as $30,000 a day.