Much like its subject matter, sports photography is one of the most competitive styles of photography. There are limited spaces available to photographers at many sporting events, and those fortunate enough to get a press pass are usually competing with other highly skilled photographers in hopes of taking a photograph worthy of a Sports Illustrated cover. Damian Strohmeyer, a professional sports photographer, has done just that numerous times, and he is here to share some of his experiences and advice with those who have an interest in the genre. Strohmeyer’s presentation is about an hour and a half long and packed full of great photos and helpful tips:
Much of what Strohmeyer shares can be said of many types of photography; however, here are a few tidbits that are more specific to sports:
- Learn as much as you can about the sport, including who is playing and their style of play. Doing so will help you predict movement and plays, resulting in better timed photographs.
- Especially in basketball, it’s all about the angles. Position yourself and/or remote operated cameras around the court enabling you to photograph from various viewpoints.
- In basketball, try to keep your eye on the ball. As Strohmeyer says, “If you find the ball, then you’ll find your picture.” Do bear in mind, however, that there are exceptions to every rule, as you can see in the above photograph.
- When shooting football, Strohmeyer prefers to use a 50mm lens the majority of the time. He says pre-focusing gives still gives him plenty of control and allows him to be ready to snap a photo at any given time.
- There’s an old saying among sports photographers for those moments when you’re not getting the images you were hoping to get: “If you’re not getting a good picture, bend a knee.” Often times this change of perspective will add more interest to the scene.
- Before the game starts, familiarize yourself with the venue and use its unique characteristics to your advantage. The same can be said for atmospheric elements such as snow or clumps of grass flying through the air as players run across it.
“Baseball is the most cerebral sport to cover. The situational possibilities are endless. Be ready for the action. It’s almost over before it starts. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”
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