Jump to content

    If you want access to members only forums on HSO, you will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member. ?

Friday Night Lights

Recommended Posts

If you would care for some feedback for your next outing let us know. We generally don't post feedback unless specifically asked for. I own a sports photography business and finnbay does as well, so you could get some pointers especially when specifically dealing with sports work. Have a fun season!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just thought I could offer a few tips when shooting sports, especially those as the lights come on.


In most cases manual exposure is going to work best for you. Why? The light and dark uniforms and changing backgrounds will fool your camera meter nearly every time. All of these shots are close to 2 stops underexposed. Part of that is you used -1 exposure compensation. I like to use the grass or my hand as a neutral start. Meter from the same light you are shooting towards and add about +1 EC. It gets you in the ballpark and allows you to check your histogram for proper exposure.

I also noticed you shooting at f7.1. Open your lens up to f4 or if you have the 70-200/2.8 to f2.8 or f3.2. You will need the shutter speed to help with keeping your subjects sharp!


There are a couple of hard and fast rules in sports photography. One being you need a face, or a ball but preferably both in the frame to draw your viewer in. Another is try not to cut off limbs and if you do make sure it is above or below a joint not right on it. I shoot from a low position all the time, either on knees or on my rear if I am not in the way of the action. This is especially important in football so you can see the eyes under the helmets! You need to be able to move fast if a play comes your way and it is heading out of bounds.


Choosing your shooting location and what will be in the background is almost as important as the subject itself. Try to eliminate trashcans, people lounging in chairs, walls. It is one area that really separates ok shots from good shots. With football, soccer, lacrosse, etc you can get toward the end zone and shoot down field so you are not using sidelines as backgrounds. You sometimes have to work hard to clean up the background but it really makes your shot stand out! The very first thing I evaluate at a venue is where the light is coming from so I can shoot with the sun at my back and what the background looks like. I will shoot into the sun if I get cleaner backgrounds but you need to compensate for exposures if you do that.


Shooting sports has another saying that is normally very important. “Shoot tight and crop even tighter!” With a 70-200 you generally have to wait for the action to come to you. When the subject is almost filling the frame start shooting away. That gets you in the habit of shooting tighter. Eliminate backgrounds and anything that does not have to do with your subject. You might be constrained with crops for print but shooting tight helps editors decide on a shot to run. Also remember the closer the subject when you take the shot the more blown out your background will be. I can shoot at f8 and if my subject is close still have a buttery smooth background. Shoot loose and crop 50% of your shot and at f4 you will still have subjects visible in the background. Not to mention you are cropping out pixels which will reduce quality. Here is where the quality of your lens and camera come into play!


Whether shooting vertical or horizontal make sure your horizons are straight. Shooting on a field rarely will a horizontal component be correct. Always use something vertical to check your horizon. A wall, goal post, anything you can see that is close to vertical. This gets you straight horizons virtually every time!

I hope a few of these pointers help shorten your learning curve! If you have questions ask away!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are great ... that's amazing. Yea, when I showed up it was already in the second quarter so light was already dwindling. I was going to another assignment when the boss called with a different location.

I learned right away, that I need to get my shots in before nightfall for obvious reasons! Then keeping track of the ball.. wow what a fast paced sport! Watching it through the glass was something else.

I'm definitely going to keep these tips in mind. Thanks for sharing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I shoot with both eyes open. Much easier to track action that way. It takes a bit to get used to it but your keeper rate goes way up. I don't know if you are using back button focus but shooting sports that is a big advantage. Well worth trying! There is a lot going on and things move fast when shooting sports. You literally have to be able to make changes fast and try and keep up with peak action. Timing comes with experience. The more you shoot the better it gets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, Great Tips Dan. I do not shoot much in the lines of sports other than an ocasional Hockey game but those tips make a lot of sense. HOckey is a real bugger because of the darn white ice, black puck, horrible lighting, and dull jersey colors. What more could a photographer ask for.

And good luck to Hookandcook on your new endeavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Paul, thanks for the shout out. I"ll be shooting a semi pro hockey team this winter. Care to shoot some tips? Communications minor tells me there's the book way of things, and there's the real world things.

I also have a go pro with a wireless remote that I anticipate getting some good crunch shots with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're going to utilize the rear button for focusing as Dan mentioned, be sure to practice it ahead of time. I tried it once and missed a decent shot because I didn't bother practicing with it first. It takes getting used to since it's a completely different way of doing things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now ↓↓↓ or ask your question and then register. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.