Category Archives: Team

Basketball Team Photos – Additional Ideas

Different Angles

Experiment. Take your basketball team photos from different vantage points. Especially when shooting a larger team.  One great method is to elevate yourself with a ladder or other device. Your shooting angle will be down at the team, which will help to ensure everyone is seen in the photo. Also, the higher angle tends to provide a different and unique view of the athletes. Bleachers are another excellent device for posing your teams. You can use the seats to tier the group upward; however, you still don’t want to place the tall people down in front if you can avoid it.

Take Multiple Shots

This is one time you shouldn’t be hesitant to take multiple shots quickly. You wouldn’t typically switch the camera to continuous shooting mode, but it can often work well, catching them off-guard just as they are relaxing. In fact, we have found that the mere fact of the basketball team hearing your camera go off repeatedly and so quickly will generate a few smiles and laughs. Since it’s hard to get everyone to smile at exactly the right time, take many photos quickly. You will find that the first shot might not be that good, but the second or third will be better because they look a bit less posed and more relaxed.

Use this opportunity to change settings on your camera. Take multiple shots while changing the aperture, shutter, ISO, and white balance. Compare the differences and pick your favorites back at the house. With practice you will find you need to do less and less of this because you will know the best setting for any given circumstances.

Be Creative

If there is a chance at the basketball gym or location to do something unique, go for it. Along with the standard poses, try something different or fun, and your photos will stand out from others. Try standing your athletes in lockers looking out, or lined up in a single row, or lying in a circle. Look around. Take advantage of props unique to the basketball gym or location. Break the rules once in a while! We always do a "fun" shot where subjects can make silly faces and point at each other.

Individuals and Teams

Sports Photography – Individuals & Teams
You may be photographing a sporting event to capture photos of a single athlete, a entire team or perhaps multiple teams or groups.  Each presents different challenges unique to the sports photographer, but by following the ideas and tips included in this article you will be better prepared to successfully shoot your sporting event. 

Single Athlete
During a sports season I will take photos of all the players on my children’s team, but as with any proud parent, I always want more photos of my own children.  I will go to many games with the sole purpose purpose of shooting my child’s performance.  In many ways I find this the most enjoyable sports photography since I don’t have the worry or time pressure to capture a photo of everyone on the team.  It also means that I don’t have to take photos every minute of the event, I can pick the time when the lighting is best and my child is participating to shoot, and at other times I can sit down, relax and enjoy the event.

Attending a sporting event to take photos of a single athlete is the simplest.  With a little practice it won’t take you the entire event to have a handsome portfolio of great photos.  Be sure to position yourself in an area where you will get the most photo opportunities of that athlete.   Soccer for example, where the field is so large, you will want to position yourself on the side of the field where your athlete plays the most.  Similarly in dance or other performance sports, position yourself on the side of the stage where you will have the best angle and view to capture them. 

Depending on the sport you may want to shoot most of your shots with a vertical orientation.  Be sure to capture the athlete’s face and anticipate their movements to get great photos.  Follow them with the camera for several minutes at a time anticipating their movements and you will capture many good photos.  The more you follow them the more chance you will have to capture that unique and amazing sports moment.

Don’t forget to close-ups of your athlete.  Fill the frame with their face during breaks or prior to or after the event.  Also remember to not just shoot them alone, catch them in context of their team, the event and the competition.  Include photos of them and their position or relationship to the rest of the team.  Capture them in small groups or broader settings showing the venue and group.

Team
As a sports photographer you will also go to many events to shoot all the athletes in the competition.  This could be one team, both teams or many performing teams.  To do this requires more planning, effort and time. Depending on the sport or event you might be trying to capture photos of 4-30 athletes in 60 minutes.  This can be a real challenge for the sheer number of athletes and the limited time to do it in.  There is nothing worse than finishing shooting a game, showing participants and parents the photos and realizing someone was missed.

Preparation
It will take a few minutes, but if you prepare for the event by filling out a shooting card with the athlete’s names or jersey number you will be able to track who you captured and who you are missing.  Don’t take time to make a note after every shot, but during breaks go through a review of your photos on the camera’s LCD, delete the bad shots, and make note of the athletes you have taken shots of.

Be Aware
A challenge in capturing everyone is that some players are naturally easier to capture than others.  If not careful you will find yourself having many shots of a few players and only a couple shots of the rest, or even none at all.  A lot depends on the position they play and how aggressive they are.  Some seem to be in the middle of everything while others only appear occasionally.  Other athletes playing different positions and perhaps playing less aggressively will require you to pay special attention to.  By being aware of this you can pay special attention and you can make yourself move to different locations.  If you stay in the same location for the entire event, you will end up with the same athletes and the same photos.  Moving around will help you capture the entire team. Also be aware of the players on the bench and substitutions.  Subs often play less time and you will need to pay particular attention to them when they enter the game, and even follow them exclusively for a few minutes to get the shots you need.

Safe Shots
Another way to ensure you capture the entire team is to remember to get "safe" shots.  These are the shots that are easy to get before and after the game and during a break or half-time.  You can get close-ups and isolated shots during warm-ups and depending on the sport there may appear to be no difference between that shot and a shot during the game.  Other safe shots include close-ups during half-time or after the game.

Following these tips will help you capture better sports photos whether you are shooting a single athlete or everyone on the team.

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The Sports Photographers

How to Take Team Photos

You’re so busy getting all those great actions shots don’t forget to get the team and group photos.  Don’t forget the team photos that help document the occasion the effort, emotion and success.  Team photos can be successful before or after the game or after the awards ceremony.  Just as you are with the action shots you will need to be quick and organized.  If not you will have whining and complaining athletes as well as parents, and guaranteed the next time you try, few will stay around.  So be quick, efficient and people will respond.

When & What to Wear
There are three primary options for when to take the team photo.  They can be taken prior to the competition, immediately after or along with the awards ceremony.  Depending on the event it might a  formal affair or simply a quick team photo to remind everyone who on the team or at the tournament. 

Before
The advantages of doing it before the game or event is that everyone is typically in a good enthusiastic mood, no one has lost yet, and their uniforms and hair are perfectly arranged, or as good as it will get.  The challenges are they might not all come wearing their uniform as you requested and they might arrive late which holds everyone up.  If you are attempting to do this before-hand get the word out in advance if you can, tell them all what to wear and encourage them to be on time.  Also, make sure it’s okay with the coach because they often have a very specific plan for warm-up and will want extra time if you’re going to take photos to no disrupt it.

After
Taking a team photo after the competition or event can be good since all the athletes are present and in the team uniform.  Many like the post game photo because it shows them more in their real attire and look, sweat on their faces, dirt on their shoes and uniforms and faces with the emotions of losing or winning.  If this is the plan, then make sure to let the athletes know before they start removing jerseys or shoes, catch they won’t want to put them back on.  So hustle them together before any of that occurs.

Location & Lighting
The where to take this photo will be dependent on what’s available close by and how many athletes will be in the photo.  Can you choose a location that compliments the sport and eliminates distracting backgrounds.  Is their a geographical items to capture as part of it.  Are there physical items that can play a part such as the goal posts, the stadium, the bleachers.  Fortunately some post photo editing may help fix some of the background, but if you can generate a good angle or find a good background you will be better off.  It’s a challenge but you must also contend with the light.  Ideally allow the sun to light their faces, but invariably it will be too bright and they will close their eyes.  If the group is small enough you can use "fill flash" to remove the shadows from faces or another trick is to have everyone open their eyes just in time for the photo.

Posing
Take charge and get the athletes organized.  You may want to enlist parents or other observers to assist.  Make sure all bags, balls, towels or other sports gear that is a distraction in the photo is removed and out of the way.  It will often get tossed behind or to the side, but will still be in the way of your photos.  Enlist a parent of sibling to run around and pick everything up and put it in a single pile out of the way.  Each sport and the number of athlete participants and the location you have chosen will affect the way you organize and pose them.  From a doubles tennis team of two through a soccer team of 21 or a football team of 40+ you may have some real challenges. 

A good way to get some posing ideas is to look at professional sports magazines or websites.  For example, world cup soccer poses are a bit unique with two rows of players the first row squatting on their heals.  Each sport may have it’s own way or typical way to shoot team photos.  The key factors are to position, balance and spacing.  Position the athletes so everyone is visible.  That might mean the first row is sitting, the second kneeling and the third standing.  But just as with your action shots you need to see everyone’s face.  Balance is next, be a bit symmetrical, not all the tall athletes one side, nor allow the standing row to roll off to the left a few more feet than the kneeling row.  Spacing means ensure the athletes are tight together, no huge spaces between them either horizontally or depth-wise, what looks like a small space to use will appear much larger and disproportionate in the photo.

Make it fun & fast
Whatever you do make it fast, get them in position, take a couple shots and be done with it.  Their athletes and kids and they don’t like posing for photos.  They want to have a photo taken don’t get me wrong, but they don’t want to wait around for it, so be quick about it.  Make it fun as well, be creative, after the serious shot take a crazy one they always love that.  Make sure to include the coach and if you have a MVP or goalie or someone to highlight put them in front with the ball.  With soccer teams we always like to lay the goalie down in front with the soccer ball, and they always appreciate it.

Remember to make team and group photos part of your sports photography, and you will have more great photos to share and enjoy!

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The Sports Photography Professionals