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Home > Photography Tips, Videos & More > Photography Tips & Tutorials > Sports Photography > Intro To Sports Photography - “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”

Intro To Sports Photography - “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”


by Lou Raimondi, Contributor

Posted: September 4th, 2011 @ 12:00am

Source: Lou Raimondi


The title of this article comes from a photography adage coined by Chase Jarvis and it also applies to sports photography. There is a misconception that to capture a good sports photo you need high end equipment capable of fast shutter speeds and high ISO. This article will tell you how to get the most out of your camera when photographing sports, even a point and shoot!
 
Today’s camera’s are incredibly sophisticated. Some of today’s point and shoot cameras have capabilities that exceed the cameras used by professional sports photographers just ten years ago. You can capture some great images with a point and shoot or all in one if you know the limitations of your camera and select the right shots. You can also expand the range and capabilities of your camera if you have a complete understanding of the features and functions of your camera. Many of today’s point and shoot or all in one’s provide the photographer with the ability to manually override the automated settings. However, like most electronic devices, many people don’t take the time to read the manual or experiment with the various settings.
 
First, let’s start with using a low to mid-level point and shoot in “Auto”, “Intelligent Aperture” or in one of the scene modes. While most of today’s cameras do a pretty good job of automatically setting the proper speed, aperture and ISO, they are often less than idea for fast moving objects or in low light situations. There are a few things you can do to work around these issues. First, instead of trying to “freeze” the action, try panning. Not only will you capture your subject in action, it will make for some interesting backgrounds. 
 
Photo by Lou Raimondi 
 
When people think sports photography, they generally think of action shots. However, some of the most coveted photos taken in sports are not action shots at all. Time outs, celebrations after a goal or run scored, mound visits, a batter in the on deck circle or a taking a sign from the coach, or a catcher looking into the dugout for a sign, provide great opportunities that can be captured with any camera. 
 
Photo by Lou Raimondi
Photo by Lou Raimondi 
 
As I said in my first article “Four Simple Steps For A Good Shoot”, it is very important to know how to quickly make manual adjustments to your camera as conditions change rapidly in outdoor photography and especially in sports photography. I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ10 camera which is a mid-level point and shoot. At the fully extended 5x zoom, I can capture an image with a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second in manual mode with an aperture of f/5.9. That is more than enough to capture even the fastest action for a day game.
  
Photo by Lou Raimondi
Photo by Lou Raimondi
 
If shooting indoors or at night, you need to understand the limitations of your camera and work around them either by making further adjustments to your camera, or selecting shots that work within the limits of your camera. This is also a great opportunity to do some creative and/or artistic photography. Some of the adjustments to look for are exposure compensation, higher ISO and slower shutter speed. Be careful not to increase your ISO too high. Most point and shoots set above ISO 800 will capture images with a lot of noise in them. Below is an example of an image I had taken at a night baseball game with a 3 mega-pixel, fixed lens, Kodak point and shot with no manual adjustments.
 
 
Photo by Lou Raimondi 
 
As I said in my first article, it’s important to know a little about the team and the players you are photographing. The shot below is of four friends who grew up playing baseball together. This was their first game together as High School Varsity players. A very important photo to them and their families.
 
 
Photo by Lou Raimondi 
 
The bottom line is there are a lot of photographic opportunities are sporting events that don’t require high end equipment. All it requires is that you be on the lookout for them.
 




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