Photographer Evan Schiller shares the shots that show how beautiful this game can be
From California to Ireland and all points elsewhere, Evan Schiller takes photos that make the game of golf look better.
Anybody can take a picture of a golf hole with a smartphone. Quick glance at the framing in broad daylight. Try to get some background. Push the button. Easy.
But to capture golf courses in the best light consistently, to wait out the weather and the clouds, to frame a shot in such a way that golfers will spend hundreds of dollars or more to hang a print on their walls at home? That’s art.
Evan Schiller has been such an artist for decades. His photos have graced the covers of too many magazines to count, been featured on websites, are sold in pro shops and wow golf fans on social media. Schiller is one of just a handful of accomplished photographers specializing in commercial course photography that makes the rest of us want to climb into an airplane to reach the best destinations in the game.
And there’s a lot more to it than just snapping a quick photo. He typically is hired well in advance by customers with high expectations. He shares his shots with the courses and sells them to consumers on his website, evanschillerphotography.com. On site at a course, he typically spends days looking for just the right shots at the perfect angles in flattering light. He uses traditional cameras and, in recent years, drones to make those shots happen.
Schiller has a long track record in golf, both as a player and a club pro before hanging out his shingle as a photographer. He played on the college squads at Tulane and the University of Miami, where he teamed up with Woody Austin and Nathaniel Crosby. He played the mini-tours and plenty of state opens after college, going so far as the South African Tour in the 1980s. He then took his first club job at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in New York, later moving to Westchester Country Club. And that is where his love for photography blossomed.
His new website features more than 800 photos for sale on a variety of paper and other mediums. They are even available as MetalPrints, for which dye is infused directly onto specially coated aluminum to create a beautiful luminescence. The courses he has shot include many among Golfweek’s Best lists of top courses. Think Bandon Dunes, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews and the like.
The devil is in the detail for these kinds of high-level photos. Lighting is crucial to show the ground contours, and capturing just the right clouds can make or break a shot. It takes days of planning and sometimes a bit of luck with the weather, and frequently there are just minutes available in a given day when it all comes together perfectly. And Schiller has to coordinate it all with course operators and ground crews, going so far as to ensure that nobody has driven any machinery on a given hole before he arrives in the morning, thus leaving unsightly tire tracks in the dew. There’s a lot more to it than pushing a button.
The affable Schiller recently shared what goes on behind the scenes to make it all come together, on demand, time and again. The following are excerpts from that interview.