Soccer Photos - Florida ODP Training

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
John_A_G Veteran Member • Posts: 7,571
feedback on photos

As others have mentioned, framing and DOF are the biggest issues.

You need to shoot wide open - no reason not to.

And, what helps with both of the above issues is framing tightly in-camera.  Yes, it takes practice - it's tougher to follow the action when you're zoomed in tight on it.  But, it makes for better images.

Also, if you're going to be shooting a lot of sports - get a battery grip.  Why?  Not just for the battery life but also to get the buttons in the right place so you can hold the gear in portrait orientation.  The vast number of photos for most human sports have more vertical component to the image than horizontal.  So, I always found that I shot about 90% in portrait orientation.  Having the battery grip helps with the ergonomics of that.

Generally speaking, you've got some basics down.  You're at the "casual parent photographer stage" where you've got some in focus images.  Now, you have to put in some work to make better sports images.  It's time to go to that 2nd level where focus is no longer the only goal.  It takes time and practice. So, don't get too down - we all have to learn.

On to specifics:

shot 1:  Portrait orientation makes more sense.  But, as another poster mentioned, the body position is awkward and without interaction from the defender it means the resulting image doesn't work that well.

shot 2:  framed way, way too loose and timing is off.  For a header you want to get the shot closer to impact and you need to frame tightly so you get detail in the ball and the head.  It's one of the toughest shots to capture - but the other players aren't doing anything in this image so they don't add to the story of the image.

shot 3:  Again, the other players aren't doing anything - only the boy dribbling.  You either need to wait until there is interaction or you decide to take isolation shots of the dribbler - in which case you definitely need to be in portrait orientation.  Also, the body position is awkward again. This is where burst is essential.  People that don't shoot sports have the mistaken notion that burst shooting is "spray and pray" - not true.  It's very useful for getting multiple shots around peak action so you can select an image that has a good body position.  That isn't very easy to time - so if you take 3-4 shot bursts you should be able to select one with good action AND good body position.

shot 4 - this one has good action - but again it's mostly vertical so this shot should be framed in portrait orientation (and framed much tighter - don't rely on overcropping -frame tightly to begin with and you'll get more detail and shallower DOF). However, even if all of that were done, the image doesn't work because both players are facing away.  That's a tough lesson to learn about shooting sports - sometimes that happens or a stray player or official gets in the way.

Shot 5 - needed to be portrait - dead space on either side and part of head cut off.  It's still not an ideal body position - when it's a player in isolation like this that 3-4 shot burst should capture a better shot than this current one.

So, for next time:

1.  Shoot portrait orientation (preferably with battery grip so it's more comfortable)

2. Frame tightly in-camera.  In portrait orientation, make sure your subject fills over 1/2 the vertical frame in camera.

3. Take 3-4 shot bursts so you can pick a shot where the body position is most appealing

4.  Shoot with wide open aperture.

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