Let’s face it, not many people are polite these days. From road rage on the highway to pushy people at the grocery store, everyone seems to be out for themselves. While that sort of behavior may lead to bad Karma (not to mention some dangerous driving conditions) when you’re trying take pictures at a youth sporting event, bad manners can prevent you from getting the best shots possible. Lucky for you, we’ve broken all these rules at least once (um, some of them multiple times), learned from our mistakes (sort of) and now want to share our wisdom so won’t have to go through the same headaches (hopefully).
BE NICE TO THE ZEBRAS
You know how you said stuff like “You’re not the boss of me.” when you were a kid? Well, when it comes to youth sports, game officials are pretty much the boss of everyone and everything. Here are a few tips for playing nice with the boys in the funny striped shirts:
In my experience (which is scarily vast, we’re talking Mojave-desert vast, people), most officials tend to appreciate you’ve made an effort to show them respect and you never know when that goodwill will be helpful.
DON’T BE A DISTRACTION
One of the best ways to get great shots at any sporting event is to get as close the action as possible. But the absolute last thing you want to do is distract players. When in doubt, play it safe and simply let your camera zoom do the work.
No discussion of photography etiquette would be complete without mentioning flash. Here’s the short version: Do. Not. Use. Flash. Period. Not only is it extremely distracting for players, coaches, officials and fans but unless you’re close enough to the action to smell sweat (yeah, it’s a gross example but you get what I’m saying) a flash isn’t going to improve your images all that much. In fact, you’ll likely end up with overexposed pictures and lots of dirty looks. Trust me, leave the flash turned off and skip the nasty stares.
BE A PHOTOGRAPHER NOT A FAN
When you put on your “photographer hat” you have to take off your “parent/fan hat.” Here’s why:
This one is pretty basic. Under no circumstances should you ever do anything that interrupts a game in any way. Nuff said.
DON’T BLOCK ANYONE’S VIEW
Youth sports photography is a little like real estate it’s all about location, location, location. Positioning yourself in a prime location can be key to getting the perfect action shot. Unfortunately, it can also put you directly in front of fans trying to watch the game. One of the quickest ways to become super unpopular is to plant yourself in front of a group of parents trying to watch their baby play a game.
QUICK TIP: Steak out your preferred location as early as possible. Unless you’re in an area that’s clearly intended for spectators (such as bleachers), people will be less likely to ask you to move if you were already there when they arrived. If you are asked to move, have a backup location in mind so you don’t waste a lot of time and miss important plays.
In the end, it’s really not all that complicated. These “rules” really just come down to simply being polite and considerate. When in doubt, don’t be a jerk. That alone will give you a solid advantage when taking pictures at your next game.
Have questions, suggestions or comments? Feel free to shoot ‘em our way. We’d love to hear from you.