Photoshop Phriday #7: Score With Better Sports Photographs

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This post was published March 23rd, 2009 by Dory on Blissfully Domestic On their Photo Bliss Channel. 

*in a fierce, booming WWF voice* Howduhya like me now?!?! Huh?!?! HUH?!?!

Click on through and leave me some verbal cocaine commently luvs so we can propagate the illusion that mah peepull like me or something crazy like that. Go on, it’ll be fun! They’re giving out baskets of chicks and bunnies over there! Ok, they’re really not, but wouldn’t that be totally cool if they were?!

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Welcome to another edition of Photoshop Phriday with your hostess, Dory!

*applause sign lights up and the crowd goes wild*

By the way, if there’s anyone out there that’s all Photoshoppy, I would love for you to join in the fun and bring Photoshop Phriday to your bloggy casa. Just let me know. Or hold Glenda the Good Witch’s hand, click your heels together three times and chant, “There’s no place like blog, there’s no place like blog, there’s no place like blog…”  Ya know, whatever.

Anyhoo… on with the show.

This one isn’t exactly about Photoshop, but it is about photos, so it totally counts. Because I said so and I’m the Mom, that’s why.

Score With Better Sports Photographs

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

Are you ready to take some great sports pictures?!

Numbah One: Kill the Flash

It doesn’t help much beyond six-ish feet, and nine times out of ten you’re going to be farther away then that. The good news is your battery won’t conk out as fast.

Light

The most crucial element in your decision-making is how much light you have. If you’re outdoors at a soccer match, obviously you’re going to be in better shape than if you’re indoors at a hockey game. In the outdoors, you’re going to have plenty of light to play with. Indoor light is much trickier.

Balance: I haz it.

You’ve got three legs on the stool; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Balancing them is a little different in sports photography than say, macro photography, obviously.

Aperture AKA f-stop

Wide open aperture (smaller number, example: f/4) is going to let more light in and give you a more blurry background and a shallow depth of field, which is great if you want to put a spotlight on your subject and blur the background so it won’t be so distracting.

Small aperture (bigger number, example f/22) is going to let less light in and give you sharper background and deep depth of field, which is fabulous if you want to tell a story and need everything sharp front to back.

Shutter speed

In my humble opinion, the most important aspect in sports photography is shutter speed. Do you want to stop action and show an athlete defying gravity? Use a fast shutter speed to capture that thrilling 1/500th of a second. You want to allow a small amount of blur to convey motion? Use around 1/60th of a second. (These are just approximate, because they’re also going to depend on your light situation.)

ISO

If you’ve got plenty of light, ISO 100 will be just groovy.

In a low light situation, ISO is going to be your bestest friend and let you get away with a lot more in terms of higher shutter speed and/or smaller aperture.

If you don’t have a lot of light to work with, crank that ISO up, but only as far as you absolutely have to. A higher ISO is going to let you get away with a smaller f-stop and a shorter shutter speed, but the trade off is, it’s going to increase the noise level in your shots. Usually ISO 400 is pretty safe, but in a dim indoor arena, you may have to find yourself pushing to ISO 800 or even ISO 1600 if you have that available, but you’re going to sacrifice clarity of color and may see more annoying noise.

Let’s Have Some Fun!

Now that the tough part is out of the way, experiment with different ways to take more interesting, creative sports shots.

Sometimes Blur is OK

A little bit of blur is a great way to convey the motion and action going on.

You can almost feel that punch
and also the desperation to GET THE HECK OFF ME, YOU OAF!

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

You can feel the speed of the players’ action

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

Panning is a great way to convey motion and action. It takes a little practice. Basically, you’re going to be moving with your subject. As the subject flies by, hold your camera as steady as possible and at the same time, follow it from one direction to the other with your feet planted. Keep your subject in your viewfinder as you press the shutter.

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

photo credit: indywriter

Try a Different Angle or Perspective

Anyone can fire off some shots straight at the game.

Try tilting your camera to look at your subject differently.

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

Try to capture elements of the game in a way you’ve never seen before.

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

Sooooo Emo!

Sports bring out strong emotion; anguish at a loss, joy at a victory, concentration and determination to exert the amount of effort to perform at one’s very best.

Get out a lazer light and my Jack Russell Terrier
will get this same look of ultimate concentration on her face

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

 

“Yeah, you’re ugly and your mama dresses you funny, Ref!”

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

 

Tell a Story

Two words: Wordless Wednesday. We’re talking about shots that stand on their own. Shots that you don’t have to hover over peoples’ shoulders and explain what’s happening. Yes, I know I just said Wordless, but I’m titling these because it’s just fun. And I can. Neener neener neener.

The calm before the storm

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

 

Ready for the puck drop

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

 

After the battle

photo bliss Score With Better Sports Photographs

 

When’s the next time you’ll have an opportunity to take some sports shots? You’ll be ready!

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This post was published March 23rd, 2009 by Dory on Blissfully Domestic On their Photo Bliss Channel. 

*in a fierce, booming WWF voice* Howduhya like me now?!?! Huh?!?! HUH?!?!

Click on through and leave me some verbal cocaine commently luvs so we can propagate the illusion that mah peepull like me or something crazy like that. Go on, it’ll be fun! They’re giving out baskets of chicks and bunnies over there! Ok, they’re really not, but wouldn’t that be totally cool if they were?!

Author: Dory

Believer. Wife. Mom. Deaf chick. ADD-addled. Photographer. Graphic designer. Blogger. Guano whacknut. Not necessarily in that order.

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