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Yesterday I took some pics of my University playing football! This was the first time taking action/sports shots. The latest picture on my profile is from the game against John Moors.
I was just wondering if someone could give me some pointers on taking sports shots!
Where is the best place to stand in a football game?
What shutter speed should i be using?
Is a big apeture better?
Manual or auto focus?
Yesterday i tried to maximize the shutter speed and keep apeture at its max to get frozen shots and blured backgrounds! Focusing was the biggest problem!
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1)Best place to stand?
Firstly, don't shoot into the light, keep the sun generally behind you and you won't have too many exposure problems. Also, generally watch what is in the background and try not to have things that are too distracting. Thirdly, if it doesn't compromise the above two guidelines, shoot from the goal line that "your" players are attacking, that way you have a chance of capturing their faces and expressions in the shot.
2)What shutter speed?
For football, 1/1,000th is fast enough to freeze action. 1/500th sec is also acceptable.
3)Is a large aperture better?
The answer is yes but... A large aperture will tend to give you a narrow depth of field which is desirable. The focal length of the lens and the camera to subject distance also affect the depth of field. However, if you work with a very narrow depth of field, your camera's autofocusing system will struggle to keep a moving subject sharp. Unless, you are working with top of the range professional cameras and lenses which are designed for action photography, you will have to make some compromises. In my case, I usually shoot rugby using a 70-200mm zoom lens. Taking shots from behind the dead ball line, I only shoot action between the goal line and the 22. Action taking place around the 22 meter line, is shot with the lens at 200mm and action at the goal line, with the lens set at about 100mm. I use aperture priority or manual shooting mode to give me an aperture of f/4 with this lens. This combination of focal length, camera to subject distance and aperture gives me a depth of field that is sufficiently narrow to blur the background but not so narrow that my camera's autofocus system can't cope. Another thing which has greatly helped my sports photography is a monopod. A monopod does restrict your ability to move the camera about as you try to follow the action but it really increases your percentage of sharp shots which more than compensates. At the end of the day, you need to get to know your gear and your sport through trial and error in order to get the best shots.
4)Manual or autofocus?
With a fast moving sport like football, you could only use manual focus if you pick your spot, focus on it and wait for the action to arrive before shooting. I think this would give you very sharp shots but would result in getting far fewer shots in the can so to speak. In my experience, shooting sports is a bit of a percentage game and you end up discarding quite a few shots. I recommend using predictive autofocusing and continuous shooting mode. Depress the shutter button half way, follow the subject and when he moves into the part of the field you are set up for, fire off a rapid burst of a few shots as you track his movements.
I hope this helps. Taking sports shots can be frustrating but you only have to get one good one on a day out for it to be very rewarding. John
Great feedback john, much appreciated! Iíll keep all these tips in mind next time!
I used continuous focus, but I found that it was harder to compose the shot without loosing focus!
When using continuous focusing, would you keep the subject in the centre and crop the picture later on to fix the composition?
I usually set the camera's focusing system on the centre spot in the viewfinder and make sure I place this on the subject I'm trying to track. If necessary afterwards, yes, I'll crop to get the composition I want. On my cameras (Nikon D70 and D2X) I can select different focusing points in the viewfinder if I want to but usually I just work with the centre point. I'm not saying this is the right way to do it but it's how I work. John
The shot of the keeper taking a goal kick is very well composed and taken, but it is detratced by the car in the background.
I do motorsports photography, which has different requirmets than soccer photography.
But in answer to your questions:
1. as close to the action as poss, at the same level as the action, with no background distractions!
2.reasonably fast, reeze the action.
3. yes for sharp subject and blurred background to emphasise the subject
4. auto focus if not low light and your lens focussing is fast enough. manual focus if you can pre-focus on where the action is going to happen
Hi Ellis just looked at your footy pic not a bad effort....Its really hard when your doing local Sport to get a decent background...I have done it in the past and got all sorts of things in the background Ice cream Vans, Burned out cars and the other match taking place on the pitch next door
John has given you some top tips so I thought I would add a few of my own
1. I always sit on the goal line, It is a good idea to sit the end your team are attacking and preferably with your teams fans behind you (not always the case) then if they score you know they are gonna run to the area of the pitch where their fans are to celebrate (the celebration pic always gets more coverage at my paper than the action shots)and you gets some really good emotion pics from this. Also if your sitting down the sideline try and get the side the linesman isnt running up and down as that brilliant goal pic might end up a pic of two hairy legs
2. I usually set my exposure from the grass (f2.8 to f4) this works well especially on open pitches. I tend to use apeature priority if the pitch has a massive shadow cast upon it from one of the stands. The only problem with apeature priority is that if you catch a dark spot of Kit and your shuttter speed drops like a lead balloon you may miss a brilliant action shot.
3. Dont shoot every thing that moves wait till your subject fills the frame (you wont wanna blow up an image of a tackle thats happened down the other end of the pitch) It is tempting to just keep blasting everything that happens and zooming in and out - don't. Be brave if your using a zoom lens 70-300mm leave it at 300mm you can get some really nice closeup action shots with reactions on faces.
4. Know your sport and team inside out.....they may be a passing team, long ball team etc. Example if a winger is running towards you on the goal line get a few frames of him whilst he is filling the frame nicely...but when he gets closer turn your attention to what is happening inside the goalmouth (that winger is gonna put the ball in that area so get there before him and focus on the tussle in the box and wait for the ball to come in). another good tip is if your team score and they celebrate running away from you turn your attention on the fans or the manager ( I got a great Steve Bruce celebration picture when Birmingham scored against local rivals Aston Villa). If a penalty is awarded put on a wide lens and get yourself behind the goal focus through the net onto the penalty spot and theres another chance of getting a great goal picture.
5.ALways use Manual Focus...it will seem easy to just switch on AF when you are missing shots but stick with manual eventually you will miss less shots than you would with Auto focus on. Auto always seems to change its mind just as you press the shutter and another great shot is deleted from your card
6. The biggest tip of All.....
"If you See It Happen You have Missed It"
hope this helps
look forward to seeing the results
Thanks guys, you should be writing books! (I wouldn't be surprised if u did!) This is better than anything else I have read on the web!
Iíll bare all of this in mind next time Iíll be out!
Iíve uploaded a second picture now, but has the problem with the background!
Glad to be of service
Hi...anybody here done any soccer shoots in the evening/at night under stadium lights? What exposure, white balance and ISO did you use and what sort of shutter speeds were you getting?
Totally depends on the venue but I usually start at ISO800 or 1000, I usually try to shoot at about 320th - 500th sec at f2.8.
White balance also varies, at some of the stadia I know the flash white balance works really well but the autoWB on my canons usually does the trick.
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