By: Alex Reynolds | @Reynolds14__
Sam Oldenburg, a media advisor at Western Kentucky University, delivered a master class on how to craft a session for millennials. His presentation, “Sports Photography Tips,” was simple yet in depth. It was technical and elementary. It compressed sports photography into 11 easily digestible steps. And the kicker, all 10 steps start with “get.” Creative and memorable. Let’s get into it:
- Get Composed
The word “composed” has two meanings here. It refers to composition and planning your shot ahead of time. It also encourages the photographer to compose themselves. Take a deep breath and analyze the situation you are in.
2. Get Exposed
A step that all photographers know well, setting your exposure. In sports your shutter speed has to stay high in order to freeze a moment in place. Oldenburg suggests a shutter speed of at least 1/250 of a second. From there ISO and Aperture should be adjusted in order to get proper exposure.
3. Get Close
The closer you are to the athlete or thing that you are shooting in sports the better. A close shot can show emotions that a wider shot just can’t deliver. These shots help tell your story. There are three ways according to Oldenburg to achieve these tighter shots. Moving closer to the subject (feet), getting closer with your lease (zoom) and getting closer in editing (cropping).
4. Get Clean
“Cleaning up” an image to Oldenburg means reducing noise. Making sure an image is sharp and in focus is part of being clean. The other part is to simplify the image, making sure the image has a single clear focus and extra stuff is eliminated.
5. Get Low
Low angles are essential technique in a sports photographer’s repertoire. A low angle shooting up at an athlete makes them look larger than life. This is a very popular form of composition in sports photography. You can achieve this effect by kneeling, squating or even laying on your stomach. Just watch out for incoming athletes.
6. Get the Moment
Sports aren’t just about plays. They are about drama and passion and emotion. And so is sports photography. These moments of triumph or despair are just as important as a catch or a goal. Moments in sports are about action and reaction. The former is good but is captured all the time. The ladder is gold but is rarely done right. The key to it all is patience. Wait for that perfect moment and fire away.
7. Get in Position
Man has been playing sports since, well, the dawn of mankind. Therefore there are a lot of different sports and each of these sports are different. They require different lenses, extra precautions and most of all different positioning. The basic rule of thumb is to be on your team’s sideline and have your team coming towards you. And since all sports are different preparation is key. Getting to a game early and figuring out where you should or shouldn’t be could make or break your shoot.
8. Get Creative
All these rules that you’ve so graciously been reading through, yeah, they don’t matter. Well, they do, but they can all be sacrificed for something different. A close shot could easily be subbed for a cool wide shot that captures the whole environment. A high angle can give a unique birds eye view. Hell, even your shutter speed can be lowered to show speed or time elapsed. It’s all relative and it’s all up to you.
9. Get the Story
Regardless if you follow all the rules or break them you should be building too something. You should be telling a story of some sort. It doesn’t have to be super deep, it is sports after all. But the moments you capture should say something whether that’s elation, adversity or anything in-between. Shoot with a purpose.
10. Get Out
There’s only one way to get better at sports photography. Hint hint it’s the same three words that Nike parades around. Shia Labeouf also made it famous. The point is time on task is the key to success. Oldenburg suggests that sometimes its even better to get out of the pattern of traditional sports. Take pictures of Spikeball or Disc Golf or Quidditch. Doesn’t matter. Just do it.
11. Get Shooting
This one’s pretty self-explanatory don’t you think.