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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Basic Guidelines to Sports Photography
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05/18/2007 11:08:05 AM · #1
I am only posting this because I have received a few PM's from people about this so called "Guideline" I mentioned in some of my critiques in the sports challenge.

I have put this out before, and is easily found here Sports Picture Blog, and here Sports Photography by Rob Miracle and somewhere in here Sports Shooter

Some Basic Guidelines for
Sports Photography


1) Rule of 6= Don't include the whole team in any one picture frame. It looks too cluttered. Use no more than 6 players from the team to get your point across that there actually is a team.

2) Action shots should include facial expressions and the ball. Opposing teams are good to get in the shot, but make sure to get the main player comped before the secondary player.

3)Focus all your shots to be tack sharp. Anything less is not a good picture.

4)Comp your frame to have all of the players limbs in the frame. Try not to cut limbs off.

5) A player running twords you is a better picture than a player running away from you.

6) Keep your bg soft, and don't include ANY advertisement. Banners of the teams are ok, but Nike, or Burger King is distracting unless you are going after a ad shot. Also, re-con your venue. Find the bg you like best and use it. A blank wall is better than a parking lot.

7)
Crop tightly.

8) Anticipate your shots. Especially on a long lens. Know your sport, put the lens where on a part of the playing area where you think the most plays will be, and let the action come to you.

9) Wide lens shots are great for full team shots, full stadium shots, fan shots, fields shots.

10) There is more to sports than the competition. Look for stuff before, during, and after any game. The lone ball, the hash mark, the tossed baseball cap, the deranged fan, the drunk owner.

11) I mentioned this, but I can not stress enough but KNOW YOUR SPORT. Anyone can shoot a sporting event, but if you don't know when to anticipate the action, then why are you there. If it is a new sport to you, start watching ESPN and go to that sporting event. Ask questions to people that does know the sport. Baseball is different photographically than football. Baseball you are limited to where you can stand, football you can roam up and down the field.

12) Find out who the stars are, or the impact players are before the game. These people will be more in demand from editors, and/or they will be the players that make the great plays.

13)Know your peramaters with the sport. Youth sports usually has no problems of where you can be to take pictures. But, when you get into college, and pro sports, there are guidelines to be aware of to not interfere with the coaching staff and the players.

14)Bring a flash with you, but ask first if you can use the flash. Sometimes coach's don't like flash's to be used, e.g. the fast lens.

15)Bring extra everything with you, you will need it.

16) Avoid fence lines going through your players image if possible. This is not always possible, but try anyway.
05/18/2007 12:31:54 PM · #2
Very useful. Much appreciated, and bookmarked.
05/18/2007 06:24:01 PM · #3
bump
05/23/2007 10:03:03 PM · #4
I'll bump this as the links alone are worth spending some time with.
05/23/2007 10:13:31 PM · #5
Thanks for this!
05/23/2007 10:40:33 PM · #6
Good info in the post itself, I haven't looked at the links yet, I am more into motorsport though.
05/23/2007 11:44:07 PM · #7
Even here the rules are broken with the top three ribbons.

But, try and sell an image without these guidelines, good luck.
05/24/2007 12:09:58 AM · #8
Those are all good points, but a lot of them are simply impossible unless you are shooting in a professional arena. The background advertisements and fence lines are specific examples that you just can't work around :)
05/24/2007 12:41:26 AM · #9
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

Those are all good points, but a lot of them are simply impossible unless you are shooting in a professional arena. The background advertisements and fence lines are specific examples that you just can't work around :)


I agree to a point.

Not all venues are the same.

Some times you have to let the action come to you, and not you go to the action.
05/24/2007 10:51:13 PM · #10
Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Originally posted by jmsetzler:

Those are all good points, but a lot of them are simply impossible unless you are shooting in a professional arena. The background advertisements and fence lines are specific examples that you just can't work around :)


I agree to a point.

Not all venues are the same.

Some times you have to let the action come to you, and not you go to the action.


You can wait for the action to come to you, but when you are working for a newspaper, that is a tremendously bad idea, especially if you are the only photographer staffing the event.

I read lots of these utopian thoughts on sports photography... not just here, but on other sites as well. They are all good in theory, but poor in practicality.
05/27/2007 05:01:34 AM · #11
heres a tip i gave my friend:

One problem bout shooting football as a sport is you are soo focused thru the lens, that you dont see the big picture ie, some guy running full blast right at you! BAM!! there goes you and your camera lol. So, keep both eyes opened but dont get tunnel vision.
05/27/2007 09:26:10 AM · #12
Originally posted by howzitboy:

heres a tip i gave my friend:

One problem bout shooting football as a sport is you are soo focused thru the lens, that you dont see the big picture ie, some guy running full blast right at you! BAM!! there goes you and your camera lol. So, keep both eyes opened but dont get tunnel vision.


Should be part of the guidelines.
05/27/2007 09:53:00 AM · #13
That's something I have a lot of trouble with. I'm used to shooting with my left eye, the right one is then covered by the camera body. If I use the right one for the viewfinder, the left eye, which sees the scene, is so dominant that I don't know what the camera is pointing at.
05/27/2007 11:06:06 AM · #14
Originally posted by gloda:

That's something I have a lot of trouble with. I'm used to shooting with my left eye, the right one is then covered by the camera body. If I use the right one for the viewfinder, the left eye, which sees the scene, is so dominant that I don't know what the camera is pointing at.


I have the same problem. I shoot with my left eye also. When I'm shooting certain sports scenes though, I find myself forcing the use of my right eye so I can compose the photo with it and watch something else through my left eye. When I'm shooting baseball from the third baseline, I like to photograph the pick-off attempts at first base. Being able to watch the pitcher and first base at the same time gives me an edge on getting this photo...
05/27/2007 01:51:30 PM · #15
Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Originally posted by howzitboy:

heres a tip i gave my friend:

One problem bout shooting football as a sport is you are soo focused thru the lens, that you dont see the big picture ie, some guy running full blast right at you! BAM!! there goes you and your camera lol. So, keep both eyes opened but dont get tunnel vision.


Should be part of the guidelines.


feel free to add it! great, useful tips u gave!
05/27/2007 02:57:13 PM · #16
Originally posted by gloda:

That's something I have a lot of trouble with. I'm used to shooting with my left eye, the right one is then covered by the camera body. If I use the right one for the viewfinder, the left eye, which sees the scene, is so dominant that I don't know what the camera is pointing at.


I switch eyes periodically, mainly for comfort.

I also do a trick that I have seen DP's do.

Shoot with both eyes open.

They do this so as to see the blocking of the actors. I do it to anticipate a throw, or a steal, or any play a'commin.
05/27/2007 04:20:42 PM · #17
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

I ... use of my right eye so I can compose the photo with it and watch something else through my left eye. When I'm shooting baseball from the third baseline, I like to photograph the pick-off attempts at first base. Being able to watch the pitcher and first base at the same time gives me an edge on getting this photo...

I use the same technique for wildlife photography, tracking birds and such, and kids on the playground.

521621.jpg
05/27/2007 06:28:06 PM · #18
Are there any training methods I can use to make my left eye less dominant then?
05/27/2007 11:19:33 PM · #19
Originally posted by gloda:

Are there any training methods I can use to make my left eye less dominant then?


Welllll.....there is this top secret temple, see, in the middle of Tibet.

It cost's a little money, and a lot of time, patience, and walking on a lot of rice paper, but I could hook you up.

Oh, the bad news is that at the end of your training, after you have perfected the "Focusing Eye" technique, you have to pick up a red hot kettle with your forearms, and permanently burn into your skin the words Canon on your left side, and Nikon on your right.

PM me if interested.

Message edited by author 2007-05-27 23:20:15.
05/27/2007 11:27:56 PM · #20
Originally posted by howzitboy:

heres a tip i gave my friend:

One problem bout shooting football as a sport is you are soo focused thru the lens, that you dont see the big picture ie, some guy running full blast right at you! BAM!! there goes you and your camera lol. So, keep both eyes opened but dont get tunnel vision.


Hmm, works in basketball and baseball too.

I was shooting a baseball game today, and had found a spot standing on a table looking over the fence. That blasted foul ball was within two feet of my head. :0 Had I not been watching, I wouldn't have been hit, but probably would have been shaken up a bit.

Number one rule in sports safety -- always know where the ball is. Whether you are a player or a photographer.
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