In his 2016 portfolio, published today at www.magichourgolf.com, golf photographer Andy Hiseman reveals not only his favourite images from the last twelve months, but also some of the stories behind them.
Alongside hundreds of sumptuous new golf course images are an equal number of spontaneous moments showing everyday golfers enjoying life at their golf club – including some of the bizarre characters which make golf such a unique sport.
From photographing the President of Azerbaijan at a golf club launch while being targeted by armed bodyguards, to taking pictures of great-grandmas playing FootGolf in the heart of England, the photographer and PR consultant has had an eventful twelve months behind the lens.
“I don’t know whether there’s another golf portfolio quite like mine out there on the web” said Hiseman. “Most golf photographers showcase their best golf course images online, and naturally I do the same, but I also like to show the characters who breathe life into a golf club.
“You could say that I specialise in photographing ‘your golf’ rather than Tour golf. Every photographer has their own style, and I hope mine comes through in the 500 or so images I have chosen for this year’s portfolio.”
Hiseman is a relatively recent arrival on the golf photography scene, and admits to being self-taught rather than professionally-trained.
“I don’t know the right or the wrong way – I only know my way” he said. “My first love is still photographing the golf course, and that’s all down to your individual eye. When I lap a green in a golf cart, there’s usually an angle which ‘pops’ – at least to my eye. Then out you get, set up the ladder, and see whether your instinct was right.
“But people photos are just as important, as are good shots of your golf facilities. Now that we all have fast broadband, smart phones and tablets, good images are more important than ever before to a golf club. Plus, golfers are as addicted to social media as the rest of the population, so Facebook and Twitter give clubs even more chances to attract attention with great photographs.
“A professional photoshoot will pay for itself many times over in the extra sales which good images will attract to your golf club.”
In recent years Hiseman has undertaken large-scale photography projects for dozens of golf clubs, with some of the UK’s largest and most influential operators such as Crown Golf and BGL Golf entrusting him with their imagery at multiple venues.
“Andy’s photographs capture the enjoyment of belonging to a golf club as well as the beauty of the golf course itself” said Guy Riggott at BGL Golf. “Great images are all-important in this mobile-optimised age, and Andy’s work is central to our marketing now and in the future.”
IMG’s Phil Jones, manager of the new Dreamland Golf Club in Baku, Azerbaijan, said: “Andy captured the true essence of our launch weekend, including a vitally-important high-society dinner with VIP guests. His deep understanding of golf course photography and his genial way with people enabled him to produce a large portfolio of photos for all of our marketing needs.”
And Ben Laing at Branston Golf & Country Club, near Burton on Trent in Staffordshire, had this to say: “Andy Hiseman is one of the finest at what he does. From first contact he provided an outstanding service, and delivered fantastic photographs which show off our club to its best.”
Former publisher of several of the UK’s best-selling golf magazines, Andy Hiseman now runs specialist golf PR consultancy Magic Hour Media (www.hiseman.com). His press photographs and golf course images have consistently appeared the UK golf media for the last five years.
“It’s not easy getting a golfer to smile for the camera when he’s heading for 10 points on the front nine” said Hiseman, “but most people are incredibly pleasant when you’re taking their photo at a golf club, even if the banter does get a bit difficult when you’ve been out there for twelve hours straight.”
“For course photography, I simply ask myself as a golfer – does this photograph make me want to play the hole?
“It’s not all about transcendent sunsets and misty dawns, although you do say a quiet thank you to Mother Nature when she produces a scene which is just begging to be photographed.
“More often than not, in Great Britain, you’re sitting in a golf cart feeling cold, dreaming of bacon sandwiches and waiting for the sun to come out.”