A kids sports team is kinda like a neighborhood. In an ideal world, everyone would be friendly and get along but in the real world, it’s usually a quirky—sometimes volatile—mixture of cliques, controversies and confusion. On the surface, none of this would seem to have anything to do with your photography, right? But if your team is like most, coaches and parents are probably interconnected through a web of various social media platforms. If you happen to post some of the awesome action shots you’ve taken of your son or daughter—and maybe one or two of their closest friends on the team—things might just get tricky.
When you think of youth sports photography, you probably think of action shots taken during games or matches. As much as I love a good action shot, they don’t really tell the whole story. When you really think about it, the game is just one small part of the overall experience. And if the goal is to capture as much of the experience as possible, shouldn’t we be shooting other things in addition to those fun action shots? Now, you may be thinking “Okay, what do you have in mind?” Glad you asked. This post is the first in an ongoing series of photographic subject ideas you may not have thought of. The goal is to offer examples that will hopefully provide food for thought and maybe generate ideas for capturing your child’s sports experience. Let’s dive in with our first topic.
The whole point of this blog is to give folks advice on taking better pictures at their kids’ sporting events without getting overly technical. But here’s the trouble: some topics are just technical in nature. Blurring is one of them. Mostly because there are a bunch of things that can cause blur and many of them interact with each other which means it can be kinda tough to figure out what’s causing the problem. I’ll do my best to keep the conversation as simple as possible but if you get confused or don’t understand something, you can leave comments at the end of this blog post or you can email me directly. Either way, I’ll do my best to offer as much help as possible. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the basics.
Let me know if this sounds familiar: After a long day of work, you haul ass back to your house, pick up your kid and race to the local ball diamond or soccer field because they have practice (AGAIN) where you’ll spend two hours NOT getting anything done even though you have a TON of stuff you need to get done. It’s the life of a typical sports parent and it can be frustrating to say the least. But rather than getting bitter, we have a better idea. Since you already have to be there anyway, why not bring your camera along? I know, it sounds kinda weird to take pictures at practice but it can actually be a perfect opportunity to capture some truly unique shots. Don’t believe me? Check out these ideas...
When you bring your camera to your son or daughter’s game, you’re probably hoping to capture a great action shot, right? Ideally, you’ll get the perfect image of them swinging a bat, racket or club, crushing whatever ball was unfortunate enough to get in their way. Or maybe you’ll get a photo of them crossing up a defender on their way to the game-winning score (while proudly thinking, “That’s my baby”).
Look, I get it. Not everyone wants to spend a bunch of money on camera gear. Maybe you have more pressing financial responsibilities or maybe all your spare cash is reserved for other stuff. (Hey, I don’t judge) No worries, even if you don’t have a fancy schmancy camera, I’ll bet you have an iPhone (or a roughly equivalent Android phone) in your pocket with a pretty amazing camera built right in. Sure, there are limitations compared to a DSLR or even a good point-and-shoot camera but you can still capture some fantastic images at your kids sporting events and, lucky for you, we have a few tips that will help. You’re welcome.
Many, many eons ago, my college roommate and I decided it was time to leave dorm life behind and move off campus. We were completely psyched to find a great apartment that was clean, roomy and best of all, affordable. But about halfway through our first semester in the new place, we discovered another benefit we hadn’t anticipated: we’d both lost weight and gained muscle tone from walking the extra distance to campus every day. Wouldn’t it be great if there were more unexpected benefits like that in life? Well, if you’re thinking of taking pictures at your kids sporting events, we have five benefits you probably never even considered and might just ensure you’ll grab your camera when heading out to the next game.
5 Simple ways photo editing software can transform your youth sports photos from ordinary to awesome
I know what you’re thinking “Yeah, I know there are programs like Photoshop that can do all kinds of amazing things but I barely have time to even download the photos off my camera much less learn how to use super complex software for editing them.” Fair enough. But what if the edits were super simple and quick to apply? Wouldn’t you have to at least think about it? Keep in mind, no one is saying you have to edit every photo. Maybe just pick out a few favorites to share with family and friends online, include in a holiday photo book or make a framed print. It’s completely up to you. My guess? Once you see the dramatic difference these simple edits can make, you’ll be using them on a regular basis.
About 8 years ago, my wife and I were planning vacation to Hilton Head Island and I talked her into letting me buy a new lens for the trip. I went with a Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM because it gave me a nice range of wide angle and telephoto options. I purchased the lens on Amazon for around $400. At the time, it was easily the most money I’d ever spent on a lens but, given the versatility of the zoom, I assumed it would be the only lens I’d ever need. And it was...until my grandson started playing sports.
So, you’ve been taking photos at your kids sporting events for a while now and the results have been okay but you’re not expecting any job offers from Sports Illustrated either. Sure, you’d like to invest in a better camera and maybe even some awesome zoom lenses but the expense is hard to justify. What if I told you there’s a very good chance you can see immediate improvements in your photos without spending a dime on new equipment? How’s that possible? One word: composition.