If there’s one thing I’ve learned from taking and sharing photos of my kids, grandkids and all their teammates over the years is that everyone—and I mean everyone—loves getting pictures of their kids or grandkids. (I’ve had grown women cry while telling me how much they appreciate the photos I took of their son or daughter.) Given how much people enjoy having these precious photos, you’d think every youth sporting event would be filled with people using cameras. Nope, not so much.
The reality is that there are usually only a handful of people taking pictures at most games (at least the ones I’ve attended over the years). I’m sure every individual has their own reasons but I’ve run across five that I hear more than any other. The good news? There’s a fix for every single one. You just have to be willing to try.
You know what’s a LOT more expensive than having kids? Having kids who play sports. Sign up fees, uniforms, equipment, travel, drinks/snacks, fundraisers, team pictures and on and on and on. It all adds up and it will stretch just about any family’s budget. Given all the cash dedicated to sports, it’s not surprising that some families just don’t have a lot left over for a camera. But here’s the thing, if you know what to look for and where to shop, you can get some perfectly good photography equipment without breaking the bank.
As I mentioned here, taking pictures at your kids’ games doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There’s no law that says you have to run out and get a fancy, high-end DSLR camera with a giant lens and all the accessories. Start off with a simple point-and-shoot model. Not only are they much cheaper but they’re specifically designed for beginners so the controls are dirt simple.
Still too pricey? No problem. The nice thing about cameras is that they tend to last a long time if they’re well cared for, so it’s usually safe to buy a used unit. You can easily find previous generation models that often cost hundreds less than new. I’d recommend sticking with reputable sites such as eBay and Amazon since they offer money back guarantees if you fall victim to a scammer. Be sure to read the item description and examine the photos very carefully so you know exactly what you’re buying.
Some local camera stores sell used equipment as well and can help guide you through the pros and cons of the models they have to offer. They also provide the opportunity to actually test out and examine the equipment before deciding if you want to buy.
Finally, many of the biggest names in photography such as Nikon and Canon offer certified refurbished models on their websites. The prices are a bit higher than most used models but they often come with partial or even full manufacturer’s warranties.
Note: Don’t forget about the camera you already have in your pocket. Check out these tips for getting great photos with the amazing camera on your iPhone. And for some in-depth advice on how to buy used camera gear, check out the video below from the folks at The Beginner Photography Podcast.
I’ve heard this one a lot and until recently, it wasn’t that far from truth. But modern cameras have advanced to the point where they’re pretty much idiot proof. Seriously, unless you’re purposely trying to screw up, even modest point-and-shoot cameras are super simple and take great photos. Other than learning a few simple techniques for composing your shots, you don’t have to spend oodles of time mastering all the technical details. Just pick up a few basics and you’ll be good to go.
THAT’S MY BABY OUT THERE
I have no interest in watching my kid play sports. Said no one. Ever. Seriously, I totally get it. The only thing that’s brought me more pleasure than watching my kids play sports is watching my grandkids play sports. It’s an absolute blast. And yes, shooting pictures does tend to pull your focus away from the game a bit. Luckily, this fix is relatively easy. Rather than trying to multi-task, split your time between being a photographer and being a parent/fan. Try taking photos for a portion of each game or maybe you only take photos every other game. Whatever works for you. The bottom line is that you don’t have to choose between watching your son or daughter play and capturing pictures you’ll treasure for years to come. Split your time and you get the best of both.
I’M A SUCKY PHOTOGRAPHER
There’s no such thing as a bad photographer. Yeah, I know that sounds weird but stay with me on this one. You may not be happy with the photos you’ve taken in the past but that just means you have to learn a few basics. There’s a big difference between the results and the person. Once you pick up a few simple techniques on how to shoot, you’ll see noticeable improvement right away. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get. The very fact that you’re reading this blog tells me you care about getting better.
Don’t have time to research the exact camera that’s the absolute best? Just go with one of the big two (Canon and Nikon). You can’t really go wrong with either one. Don’t have time to sort through all the photos between games, then don’t. Just download them to a folder on your computer and set them aside for as an offseason project. Don’t have time to upload all your photos to FB? Some photo editing software handles that for you with a single click. The point is, you’re not under any deadline to get these tasks finished. You can fit all of them in as you’re able to find a few pockets of free time here and there. My advice is to not worry about it right now. Shoot photos and ask those questions later.
Look, if you really have no interest in taking photos at your kid’s game, there isn’t anything I can say that will change your mind. But if you’re still reading this post, my guess is you do. If that’s the case, then just get started. Don’t worry about buying super expensive, brand new equipment. Just pick up whatever you can afford and start shooting. The rest will take care of itself. Of course, I’d also suggest that you keep checking back here Play Click Share. Chances are, we’ll be answering whatever questions you may have in future posts.