The sports photography is a demanding discipline and to face it with guarantees proper and thorough preparation, both technical and style is required. In a first post we explained how to focus a session of sport photography from a more technical point of view , defining the usual conditions that we find in this kind of events, the most suitable photographic equipment to carry and the configuration of our team. In this new entry, we will focus more on the aesthetic part and preparation prior to the session, with the aim of having under control the largest number of elements and thus successfully overcome the session.
Ok, we are clear that we are going to cover a sporting event. It may be our son’s football game, a friend who has asked us to cover a basketball tournament to have images for the web, or simply that we like the world of the motor and want to have powerful images of a motorcycle race. Whatever the starting point, once we accept the order, we will have to take a series of steps that will help us obtain the best possible images. Here are some tips to keep in mind long before you start shooting.
Repeated ad nauseam, but a great truth and applicable to any type of photography, but especially relevant in sports photography. If you master your team, you will know everything it can offer, its limits of work and, therefore, what photographs you can take with an acceptable quality and which ones you miss.
It means that I have to know the menus and options that the camera gives me but also that I must know how it responds to extreme situations : up to which ISO I can shoot with an acceptable noise, how many photos can I shoot in burst and how long does it take for the buffer to update, How many steps can I overexpose a photo without burning it, what is the minimum speed at which I can shoot “freehand” or with a monopod without trepidation being a problem, how long does it take to focus, in what situations does it cost or how to do it? quickly.
In short, a series of questions that are answered by practicing and putting it to the test. Obviously, you can practice during the session itself, but in sports photography that means losing some photographs.
Once I know what my team can do for me, I can define which photographs I want to makein the session in a coherent way and I will reduce the frustration of not being able to obtain according to what type of images. So, if I do not have a sufficiently bright TV maybe I should minimize the close-ups to those moments when the players are really close and when it is not so focus more on more open photographs to capture the atmosphere of a match, the clashes with the rivals, etc.
The goal: to get the most out of my team , so that I have the best possible pictures, which will surely leave me satisfied.
It is an obvious advice, but it should appear. It is important that you do not leave anything at home that you may need during the session. What goals are you going to use? Do you have enough batteries and are they fully charged? Are the cards empty and ready for use? In fact, it does not hurt to get a checklist to ensure that we do not leave anything forgotten.
On the other hand, in the previous post we already answered some of these questions and which is the most advisable equipment for sports photography sessions, but each pre wedding photographermust make his own analysis and respond based on the equipment he has and the type of photos you want to take.
Arrive with plenty of time before the competition begins. It is important that you have room to explore the area and thus analyze where it will be best for you to place yourselfto make each type of photograph you have in mind. Try to visualize how the photos obtained in each place will be, how far the protagonists will be, what settings in the camera you will use, etc.
You can also take advantage of these moments of calm to find different and more creative photos that you can execute when the sport starts. Pay attention and take advantage of possible elements and structures of the place, look for original points of view, integrate the environment. Doing it before the event, with all the tranquility of the world, will surely allow you to discover / think about options that will hardly appear when you are in the heat of the session and that will greatly enrich your series and give it a special touch.
Another key reason to arrive with plenty of time to sports facilities is to have room to make the relevant measurements of light . So you can see in what open-speed-ISO values you will have to move.
It is convenient to make measurements at different points to check if the light is homogeneous in the whole area where you are going to take pictures, or if otherwise it varies.
If the session is outdoors, keep in mind that shadows can be much darker than sunny areas. In addition, if the protagonist is backlit or the sun is full, the correct exposure can vary appreciably. These moments before the event are perfect to estimate all these elements and decide, again with much more calm, the best solution.
For example, in outdoor sports events with sunlight, it is usually necessary to overexpose the image about 2/3 EV when the protagonist is backlit (or even more if the sun is low) or underexpose about 2/3 if the sun play full Anyway, these values are indicative and the correct thing is to check them and measure them “in situ”, in the field of competition.
Knowing well the sport that you are going to photograph will help you a lot to take the best pictures. It will allow you to anticipate the action or even decide how to take a picturebecause you already know in advance what will happen. For example, in football, when there is a corner kick we are sure that there will be a lot of action and interesting in the small area, so it can be smart to focus in that area and have the blast ready to shoot at the moment the ball approaches the players who are waiting for it.
Knowing the sport also includes getting to know the athletes . If we go to elite basketball, in some cases we will know which player has all the numbers to play the decisive ball that resolves the game. There it will be clear who should be followed even with one eye while the other eye follows the ball.