Assigned to photograph fall sports? Here are some tips to follow to help you get the best shots.
What to Pack:
- Extra batteries
- Telephoto lens – help you get in close to the action.
- Plastic bag/poncho to protect your camera
- Reporter’s notebook to take down names, events, and scores
Where to stand: Along the sides and the ends of the court, changing position as the players move.
Camera settings: ISO 100, 200 or 400 (depending on how overcast the sky is, you might want to play with these settings); shutter speed of 1/1600
Tip: Make sure you keep your eye on the ball so you can include it in your frame. You don’t have to follow it over the net, just make sure you know where the ball is when the player from your school is chasing it.
Where to stand: You want to stay well away from the golfers so you don’t distract them with the sound of your camera shutter.
Camera settings: ISO 100 or 200; maximum aperture to decrease depth of field; shutter speed of 1/2000 or higher if your camera can manage
Tip: Take continuous photos as the golfer begins their pitch so you have the full motion of their swing in photos. Don’t be afraid to include the environment when taking golf photos – it is an outdoor sport after all.
Where to stand: On the opposite side of the gym as your team. Whether you’re directly on the other side of the court or standing off to the side, you are sure to get some great pictures of people at the net. Be sure to get close to the team as well so you can get some shots without the net in the way of their faces.
Camera settings: Play around with your ISO keeping it below 800 to avoid grainy photos; shutter speed of 1/800 or greater
Tip: Plan for more vertical pics than horizontal. The players are usually taller and will jump up high to prevent the ball from going over the net. They also throw the ball high in the air or jump up when serving the ball.
Where to stand: You have two options: The end zone or on the sideline. If you stand on the end zone, you are going to get better pictures of players running head on towards you. If you stand on the sidelines, you can get pictures of players breaking through tackles and some reaction pictures from the coaches, other players and maybe even the crowd.
Camera settings: Use an ISO of about 200 or 400 when the game starts and the later it gets, try and bump this up, but avoid an ISO over 800; shutter speed over 1/1000
Tip: If you stand on the sidelines, make sure you stand on your team’s side and that you don’t block the view. Also, watch out for flying balls and people on the sidelines because that is where they will rush players out to prevent further advances in the game.
Where to stand: Try to stand somewhere between the corner arc and the goal line on the side that your team is trying to score on. You get great shots of your team making penalty kicks and head on shots of your team kicking for a goal.
Camera settings: ISO 100 or 200 during the day and later at night bump it up to 800; shutter speed 1/1000
Tip: Depending on how good the team is that you are playing, you might be standing on the opposite end for a long time without taking photos. Use that time to take photos of the student section or move to the other side where the action is, but don’t move too much or you’ll tire yourself out before half time.
Where to stand: Depending on the size of the course, you might be best to get a picture at just the start or finish lines. If you can make it to other points in the race, try for that as well.
Camera settings: ISO 100 or 200; shutter speed 1/1000 or higher
Tip: Since most of these events are held far away, make sure you get photos of at least one meet and then try for others events like Sectionals, Regionals, etc.
• NOT MY BABY! Protect your camera at all costs. If you see an athlete or a ball flying at you, protect that camera at all cost (sorry, but you will heal from an injury, but once that camera is broken, there’s no going back).
• For every action, there is an even greater reaction. Keep your camera pointed on athletes after they score to get a great picture of how they react to the news.
• You won’t always be on the winning team. As a photographer, you’ll have to record the good times as well as the bad times. Upset athletes and happy athletes both make for good photos.
• You make a better wall than you do a window. Other spectators and athletes are there to watch and compete in the game as well, so make sure you aren’t in anyone’s way when taking photos.
• You aren’t a statue. Don’t always stay in the same spot for the entire game. Be sure to switch sides and get another perspective on your team. Don’t forget to take photos of the student section and other important elements of each game.
• Practice makes perfect. Try and attend enough of the games and practices so that you can anticipate certain actions that the players perform at a game.
All photos by Roth Lovins.