Shooting Football


And so the new season begins in earnest…………..time to re-learn how to shoot football again!!

It’s amazing how quickly you get out of practice shooting certain things and for me after a couple of months off I finally got back to sports photography.

Of course my timing is way off and everyone that I hadn’t seen for a couple of months wanted a chat. Great to be back doing something you love, but I gotta get the shot guys.

I thought it might be a good time to share some tips and settings on how I approach Football (sometimes called soccer) as I though it may help.

Know the game you’re shooting: I am lucky that I have been photographing football for over 5 years now and therefore can anticipate where the action will be. Having said that I still miss shots, mainly cause I am chatting (another passion of mine) so I am not perfect.(who knew) A good tip is to watch some games before the one you’re going to shoot, look at where things happen relative to the ball in certain situations, goal kicks, throw-ins , this will all help you to focus and anticipate the action.

Camera Set-up: Think about what shots you want, are they mostly action shots??? What time of the day will you be shooting??? Which lenses will you need??

Typically for me I have my camera set-up as follows:

 

 

 

Shooting Mode                                 Aperture Priority

Shutter Speed:                                 1/1000s – continuous shooting mode

Aperture:                                            F 5.6 or lower

ISO:                                                        100 to 1600 this depends largely on the available light*

Focus Mode:                                      Multiple points/Centre Weighed/AF-C

Lenses:                                                 150-500mm/70-300mm

SD Cards:                                             SanDisk 16 GB Extreme Pro x2

*Key for me is to ensure I keep my shutter speed high to freeze the action and have a nice blurred out background

Take plenty of shots: You have the luxury of digital technology so use it, take multiple shots. It not unusual to fire 1000 shots during a game. You will get a lot of missed shots, blurry images, etc….so by increasing the amount of shots you take the chances are you will get a few you can use. If I fire 900 to 1000 shots in a match, I will be happy if I get 20 photos that stand out and are usable. Keep shooting after a goal is scored or there is an incident on the park, or the crowd becomes vocal, this will help you to capture the emotion around the contest.

Look for the best view point and vary it: Many of the grounds I shoot at have restricted access or are not perfect to shoot at. This is just a fact of life, so get as close as possible and be prepared to move several times during the match. This also applies to your camera angle, go high, go low, the key is don’t be static.

Spare everything: As photographers we are a little paranoid about a whole range of things, especially gear failure. So bring spare memory cards, spare batteries, a back-up lenses, etc…just in case. It’s good to get in a routine on the night before a match in charging and packing everything you need. Remember over time you will figure out what to pack and what you don’t need, however when you start always have more than you need to give you choices.

Share your Images: Please make sure you are able to share your images and get feedback on them. For me I use a Facebook page and get direct feedback from players, coaches, family, spectators, etc…. I also use my images as end of season’s gifts plus a DVD of the season, all of which helps me gain better and better creative shots.

The most important thing is to have fun, learn the basics and then experiment, be creative once your comfortable.

Happy Shooting