Tips for Sports Photography Beginners
So you want to shoot sports? Besides the techniques you will need to learn to do the job properly such as panning during exposure, anticipating a play, capturing the peak of the action here are some tips that will help you through the day, and maybe kick off a successful career in sports photography.
Arrive Early, Leave Late.
Get to the stadium early so you can secure an ideal vantage point. The race for the best photographer’s seats is a “sporting event” in itself, and you don’t want to be the losing player here. Being early also allows you to read the light levels and set up your camera properly. Unlike theatrical performances where the stage lights are not turned on before the show, stadia and arenas are lit up to full illumination levels before the start of the sporting event.
In some sporting events, such as track and field basketball, and baseball, athletes warm up and take practice shots in full view of spectators. You can pictures of them stretching and limbering up, or doing practice slam-dunks.
Remember that a sports photographer is not a spectator. You are there to take sport pictures, not to see your favorite team win. So when the bleachers start filing for the exits because a lop-sided game seems all wrapped up, don’t put away your cameras yourself. There is always the possibility of a last-minute rally or a disastrous error by the leading team. Besides, post-game reactions are as interesting subjects as those during the game.
Consider The Backdrop When Choosing Vantage Points
At racing or track-and-field events, you don’t want to be shooting down a straight lane or road the whole time. Position yourself so you can shoot racecars coming round a bend or negotiating curves. You can also shoot a car speeding down a straight lane against the backdrop of other cars rounding corners for a three-dimensional perspective. Other sports photographers, by choice or force of circumstance, make the best of the backdrop they are presented with, such as sponsors’ billboards and logos or spectator galleries.
Be Friendly With Other Photographers.
It isn’t just good public relations to be on friendly terms with fellow photographers and video crew. If you’re an amateur photographer who manages to cadge a pass to the press section, being friendly rather than competitive with the professional photographers can get you into restricted areas. Press people are generally a tight group who help one another, so you’d better make sure you’re on their side of the fence.
Be Familiar With The Sport
If you’re going to a sport you’ve never photographed before, you are more likely to come away with successful shots if you do some basic research on the sport beforehand. Even watching videos of the sport can be helpful; and Googling the Web won’t take more than an afternoon at the Internet Cafe. Your research should tell you how the game flows, how and where the players position themselves, and what the “scoring” moves are (throwing a ball into the basket, hitting a homerun, kicking the ball into the goal, pitching a baseball, or blocking a pass). Besides the scoring moves, you should learn to anticipate the critical plays as the athletes move around the arena. You should also know beforehand who the key players are so you can follow them around with your camera.