It’s been a long winter, March Madness is starting to wind down and opening day for MLB teams has arrived. In the next few weeks, thousands and thousands of kids will be pulling bats and mitts from the back of their closets in anticipation of hearing those two magic words, “Play ball.” As a parent, that’s your cue to get your camera gear gathered up. You’ll want to make sure you're ready to capture amazing photos that will not only make for lasting memories but also make the rest of the parents on your team intensely jealous of your skills. Lucky for you, we’ve got some suggestions that should help you achieve both goals.
So the next time your son or daughter has practice, make sure you bring along your camera. Chances are, you’ll catch at least a few shots worth keeping. If nothing else, it will be more fun than checking your email.
ITCHY SHUTTER BUTTON FINGER
Let’s face it, baseball and softball games can be a tad boring at times. There tends to be lots of standing around with short, intense bursts of activity mixed in. The key to catching the action is to anticipate and start shooting right before the critical moments. In addition, almost every modern camera has a setting called "burst mode". Even your iPhone camera has it. Essentially, it allows the camera to continuously shoot shot after shot while you hold down on the shutter button. This feature is extremely helpful when shooting someone at bat. I usually keep one eye on the viewfinder and one on the pitcher. As soon as the pitcher winds up, I watch the batter through the viewfinder and look for signs they intend to swing. If I think they will, I immediately start shooting in burst mode all the way through the swing. The entire process usually only lasts a second or two but depending on your camera, you should be able to capture multiple shots in that brief time. If you're lucky, one of them will be magic.
OFF THE FIELD
If you think about a baseball or softball game as its own small community, the suburbs of this community would be places like the dugout, the bleachers and even the concession stand. Just because they’re not located “downtown” where all the action is, doesn’t mean they’re not an important part of the story. Take some time to capture a few shots of players goofing around in the dugout or parents cheering on their team. After the game is over, keep your camera ready and you might get a memorable shot of a player holding an after-game treat from the concession stand or carrying their game gear. Anything that helps capture the overall experience is a worthy contribution to your photo collection.
IT’S A TEAM GAME
When I first began taking photos of my daughter at her sporting events, I was completely focused on taking pictures of just her. As we developed friendships with other parents on her various teams, I started casually taking pictures of their kids too. To be honest, I didn’t really think anything of it but when I shared the photos I’d taken, the other parents were thrilled and very appreciative. What I realized is that lots of parents either don’t have the resources to buy camera equipment or have simply given up trying on their own after getting poor results. Long story, short, whatever minor amount of extra time/work it may require to take a few photos of your son or daughter’s teammates will pay for itself in the outpouring of gratitude you’ll get back (not to mention all the great karma). Plus, there are a wide range of online options that make sharing photos super quick and easy. Really, it’s a win-win all the way around.
So what about you? Have any of your own baseball or softball photography tips you want to share? What about some great photos you’ve captured? Feel free to give us a shout. We’d love to hear your thoughts and see your work.
For those of you who are a little more advanced in your photography skills the video below by Vincent Martinez dives deeper into the technical issues with specific types of camera bodies, lenses and camera settings he prefers for various shooting scenarios.