You have the right equipment, you have read the basic instructions, well get out there and start practicing. The only way to get better is practice, practice and more practice. Just like the athletes you are trying to photograph who are training and practicing, you must do the same to be a good sports photographer. Practice at any and all events, share the photos you take with family, friends and team mates. They will let you know the ones they REALLY like. Your timing and anticipation will improve and your ability to get the easy shots as well as the tough ones will grow. If you’re in the business of selling photos then the ones that sale or not will let you know what’s good and what’s not.
Faces of the Game (The Emotion)
Don’t forget there is a lot of fun, emotion and action before, in the middle and after the event or competition. I like to refer to these as the faces of the game. Surprisingly perhaps, these photos, the faces and emotions of the game are as popular as any of the great action shots you will take. I especially like half-time when faces are full of emotion, sweat, determination and grit. Besides they are sitting quietly paying attention to the coach, drinking water or whatever. Fill the frame with their faces and snap away. Fill the entire frame with a single face. Not just 3/4 of the frame fill it all and you will love the results. Close-ups like that fill the photo with emotion and make it memorable. These are not posed photos, it’s even best when they don’t know you’re taking the photo. Move around or sneak around all you need, to ensure you get a clear shot at the face. Keep that bigger lens on the camera so you don’t have to get close. You will also find jubilation and sadness both strong emotions after a game, and a chance to catch team-mates hugging and groups cheering as well. Don’t forget coach who deserves a nice close-up as well.
If it’s an event and you want to make sure you get at least some good photos and not sure if you can, make sure to get the easy shots. The close-ups discussed above are what I would call easy shots, but there are any more. Each sport has it’s own. They may be shots during warm-up, foul shots during the basketball game, warm-up pitches in baseball, throw-ins and corner kicks in soccer. These are all easy shots that will mean you’ll have at least some from the event. It will get you off to a good start and will ensure you at least have something at the end.
Blurring can be good
We’ve talked a lot about how to get a crisp and sharp photo, but there are times when you might want blur or when a blurred photo showing the action is actually a good thing. The blur gives the impression of movement which is definitely occurring so that’s not always a bad thing. Perhaps it’s the ball in the pitcher’s hand as it’s thrown, or the ball leaving the soccer players foot. Whether on purpose or accident this is not always a bad thing, and will give variety to to your photos.
So, get out there and practice, you’ll be the next world-renowned family sports photographer!
The Sports Photography Professionals