Posts with tag: "lewisville photographer"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
By Christina Holcomb
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Qualifier: I am not nearly experienced in the world of sports photography to be offering "expert" advice. However, I have spent a great deal of time around athletic competitions over the past few years to learn what works for me.  Below are some tips for taking cross country / track & field photos that I recently offered to a friend. Since these are primarily focused on fast movement, daylight activities, they don't necessarily apply to all sports.  However, many could be considered for other competitions as well. I hope they are helpful.  

1. Use a Zoom Lens! It will provide the most flexibility. You can zoom in close for a more personal shot or zoom out for a wider angle, ALL from  the same spot. With a daytime outdoor event like track and field, you will have alot of give and take from the aperture range on your zoom lens. (The same cannot be said for some indoor or evening events.) If you are wanting to get especially close (from a distance) then consider a 1.4 or 2X teleconverter.  I LOVE my 70-200mm 2.8 zoom.  It is my go-to for sports.

2. What are my Settings? In most cases I shoot in manual mode because it gives me the most control. For sports, I start with setting my Shutter Speed. Then adjust my aperture and iso. A fast shutter is better, unless you are looking for an intentional blur. Start with 640/sec   or more. The sunnier the day and the speedier the action, the faster you need to go on shutter speed. I like isolating runners with a shallow depth  of field, so I bump up the shutter speed even more to try and get the aperture open to at least f5.6.  (Note: the compression on a zoom will also help to isolate the runner). 

3. Use Continuous Focus ... but don't forget to move it back to single focus later or you will be upset with the results. Been there, done that :(

4. Focus Point - Choose your focus point. Know how to find this button and get comfortable using it while looking through the camera. Leave enough room to ensure you don't cut off the feet. If going verticle, move the focus point to the top. When the subject approaches they will fill the frame. Keep the focus point on the face or jersey.  For unpredictablemovement, the eyes are just too difficult to pinpoint, and if you miss, then the background will be what is in focus. 

5. Scout out the route, field, gym, stadium, etc. Pick the right vantage  point for the image you want, and consider the light. 

6. In addition to #5, think about the background in the picture; pick the trees over the parking lot. Sometimes you just get what you get. Try to capture runners behind or spectaors ahead to better tell the story

7. Try panning to capture a focused runner and blurred background - you might create a really unique image.

8. Practice on other runners before your athlete / team arrives at the spot.  Sports photographs in general are very fast paced and there are no re-takes.  Doesn't hurt practicing during a team's practice or warmups. 

9. Beware of changing light during the event; clouds, time of day, stadium lights, etc. 

10. Have fun! Sports photography is full of energy and emotion, celebration and defeat. Capturing those moments should be fun and rewarding.  Not every image you take is going to be a winner. Be patient, allow yourself some mistakes and keep trying.