Paintball Photography - Need help

Started May 11, 2012 | Discussions
Jaysun
Regular MemberPosts: 328
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Paintball Photography - Need help
May 11, 2012

I'm new to sports photography. I have tons to learn and I realize these shots are mediocre. I also realize that I over-edited to make up for lack of quality. I'm looking for some input from some experienced sports photographers that may be able to offer some advice on this genre.

Thanks, in advance.

Gary_Scotland
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Re: Paintball Photography - Need help
In reply to Jaysun, May 11, 2012

Hello,

Sorry, but can't give you advice on this style of photography, but want to say that I really like your third photo (posted below). The reason it works for me is that you can tell 'exactly' what is going on in the scene by the 'expression' on the person's eyes. There is evidence of paint ball splashes behind so the viewer can understand what is happening. The surroundings 'frame' the person and the shallow DOF takes you to the main subject.

My only criticism is that I feel the processing has left the image a little flat, which is taking a little 'life' away from it, but easy to boost the curves a bit.

For me, this photo says so much more than any of the ones that are showing more surroundings. This is because I am a lover of a photo that has just enough information to stimulate the viewer's mind into forming their own 'understanding/interpretation' of what it is about. I have found that if someone is 'allowed to think' they tend to place more value on the photo. Hope that makes sense?

Regards,

Gary

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Thorbard
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Re: Paintball Photography - Need help
In reply to Jaysun, May 11, 2012

Aside from the over-editing, which you've picked up on anyway, I think this is a good effort. Paintball isn't exactly an easy or conventional sport to work with.

Particularly I like how you've focused on each bit of action, captured the players individually and composed well (I'm not sure if you have done this by cropping, but even if so, thats OK!). It might be nice to see more of groups and teams in addition to the individuals.

Here are a few thoughts that might help you to improve;

If you're going to process heavily, try and keep a consistant style across a set of images. This is something that I've personally been trying to work on more. Select the images you like most and work out what you like about them and concentrate on that as a style.

Try and watch the backgrounds; a few of your photos have people obviously not in the game in the background and although they're out of focus, some of the colours could be distracting. The opposite is also true, if there are background elements that are a part of the game you're photographing, you can use them as a composition element even if they are out of focus.

Do try and get as tight in on your subject as possible, although generally good the 9_1585_1050 image shows a little too much background for my liking.

Other than that, good luck and keep practicing.

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Jaysun
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Re: Paintball Photography - Need help
In reply to Gary_Scotland, May 11, 2012

Thanks, a lot. I do need to get more tight shots like this. That's a fairly difficult task, though when you're mostly stuck on the left or right of all the players (so as not to put yourself in the line of fire).

You're definitely right about the image being a little flat. I was experimenting with different edits and was trying to get away from each photo looking the same. This was an attempt to get away from the style of most of the other high contrast/saturation shots I was doing. Maybe I'll revisit this one.

Thank you for your input

Gary_Scotland wrote:
Hello,

Sorry, but can't give you advice on this style of photography, but want to say that I really like your third photo (posted below). The reason it works for me is that you can tell 'exactly' what is going on in the scene by the 'expression' on the person's eyes. There is evidence of paint ball splashes behind so the viewer can understand what is happening. The surroundings 'frame' the person and the shallow DOF takes you to the main subject.

My only criticism is that I feel the processing has left the image a little flat, which is taking a little 'life' away from it, but easy to boost the curves a bit.

For me, this photo says so much more than any of the ones that are showing more surroundings. This is because I am a lover of a photo that has just enough information to stimulate the viewer's mind into forming their own 'understanding/interpretation' of what it is about. I have found that if someone is 'allowed to think' they tend to place more value on the photo. Hope that makes sense?

Regards,

Gary

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Jaysun
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Re: Paintball Photography - Need help
In reply to Thorbard, May 11, 2012

Thorbard wrote:

Aside from the over-editing, which you've picked up on anyway, I think this is a good effort. Paintball isn't exactly an easy or conventional sport to work with.

Particularly I like how you've focused on each bit of action, captured the players individually and composed well (I'm not sure if you have done this by cropping, but even if so, thats OK!). It might be nice to see more of groups and teams in addition to the individuals.

I don't think I cropped any of them. Maybe I should (like you said, the first one has a lot of background. I think that could benefit from a crop). Group shots are extremely hard to get (unless you're talking about non gameplay shots). Every team immediately splits up and hides behind bunkers as soon as the game starts. I've gotten a few decent shots of the initial split but, after that, it's near impossible to squeeze them all into a shot. Maybe I could have them do some sort of mock play, where they don't actually shoot, but stay together so I can get group shots like that. I'll try that at next practice.

Here are a few thoughts that might help you to improve;

If you're going to process heavily, try and keep a consistant style across a set of images. This is something that I've personally been trying to work on more. Select the images you like most and work out what you like about them and concentrate on that as a style.

This is one of my weaknesses. Every time I do a shoot, no matter what it is, I can't make all the photos look the same. It drives me crazy when I think every photo looks just like the last, so I always end up treading into weird editing to try and change things up. It may not be the best way, but I think it gives the people I'm shooting the opportunity to see different styles and choose what they like. I've gone back in an completely re-edited photos because people say "I like this photo, but I like that edit style". However, you're right. I don't see very many people that show spreads with wildly different pp. Maybe that should tell me something.

Try and watch the backgrounds; a few of your photos have people obviously not in the game in the background and although they're out of focus, some of the colours could be distracting. The opposite is also true, if there are background elements that are a part of the game you're photographing, you can use them as a composition element even if they are out of focus.

This is one of the big issues with shooting out there. There are people EVERYWHERE. It's hard to get away from unwanted people in the background. Like you said, I could use it to my advantage, though. I haven't been paying attention to me backgrounds at all when I'm composing the shots on the field.

Do try and get as tight in on your subject as possible, although generally good the 9_1585_1050 image shows a little too much background for my liking.

Other than that, good luck and keep practicing.

Thank you for all your input. I appreciate it a lot

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Thorbard
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Re: Paintball Photography - Need help
In reply to Jaysun, May 11, 2012

The initial split is actually what I was thinking when I said that. Also possibly getting one player looking at another from the opposing team (not necessarily both in focus, human shape recognition is very strong).

As far as editing goes, having a variety of styles is definitely a good thing, but if you want to present them as a set then a consistent style across that set may benefit you. Try and differentiate the photos in other ways, for example composition or different kinds of action.

That said, if it works for you, stick with it.

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