Photographing Kid’s Sports
No one plays harder than kids and taking pictures of kid’s sports events, practices, and pickup games can be a lot of fun. Here are some things to consider that can help you get memorable shots the next time you shoot kids engaged in sports.
Capture the Decisive Moment
Every kid’s sport has its peculiarities and moments of prime importance and understanding the game and how it is played can dramatically increase the number of exciting shots. You’ll be able to anticipate what the players might do next and that will help you have your camera focused on where the action is likely to occur. If the game uses a ball, you might track it with your camera when it is moving.
If you’re shooting a practice session of a kid’s sports team there will be moments when the ball or puck is stationary and kids will run or skate up to it. Focus on the ball or puck with one eye and keep the other eye on a larger area so you will be ready for something to happen. That’s how I got the soccer practice photo.
Another approach is to spend part of the time tracking your favorite player. If your camera has a burst mode you can take multiple shots when the action around him or her is hot and that will increase your odds of getting a truly memorable picture.
Pay Attention to the Background
A cluttered background makes for a messy picture. At worst, it might be difficult to understand; at best, it won’t have the impact of a photo where the action is sharply focused and everything else is not. If the scene is particularly jumbled you might spend part of your shooting time with your attention on an region with a comparatively simple background and shoot when something occurs on that part of the court or field.
Manage the Appearance of Motion
Slower shutter speeds emphasize motion and fast ones can freeze action. Decide how you want to depict motion and then set up to do it. You’ll need to understand how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO setting interact with each other to get the best results. If you’re not sure what to do you can check out this post:exposure-speed-aperture-and-iso-simplified. And remember that fast speeds usually mean that the camera has a large aperture. That tends to make backgrounds less intrusive because the sharpness of focus is reduced in front of and behind the region of focus. For more information take a look at the post on depth of field.
The participants in kid’s sports (and their coaches) are deeply involved in the moment and their faces can express emotions ranging from extreme exhilaration to anger or even deep disappointment. Capturing displays of emotion makes for compelling photos.
Practice Photographing Kid’s Sports
The kids practice to get better at what they do. You can get better at shooting kid’s sports if you practice too, so if you can get away to attend some practice sessions with your camera, you’ll be better prepared to catch the action at their formal games.
You might not have as much fun as the kids, but maybe you can get close. After all, whatever you’re shooting is a game, and win or lose, part of the fun of a game is the excitement.
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