Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

Sports Photography Tips

The Panning effect

 From Frank Siteman/ DPA instructor from Boston View more of his images at http://digitalphotoacademy.com/portfolio/frank-siteman/ The technique used to make this photo is called panning.  It is a very effective means of conveying motion, and can bring amazing energy to a photo. To obtain images like this, one moves the camera with the subject, keeping the main object in the same place, relative to the edge of the frame.  The image of the background sweeps from side to side while the car remains centered….or wherever you’ve placed it in the frame.  You can check out the intensity of the blur by simple experimentation, moving the camera at different speeds and/or following subjects which move at different velocities.  I like to find a shutter speed which gives me an acceptable and appealing blur and then find an aperture/ISO combination which gives neither an over nor under exposed file, checking your histogram to ensure you are not unnecessarily blowing out important detail.   Digital photography makes taking pann shots relatively simple, as it gives you the means to adjust your settings to meet whatever situations you encounter and provide you with an instant preview.   In this instance, I was in the small village of Lyme Regis in England and saw this red coupe coming towards me at a relatively slow speed.  In order to show it’s motion, I knew from experience that I would be able to get the results I wanted by setting my camera to it’s shutter priority mode and to a 1/15th of a second.   If the car had been traveling slower, I might have used a 1/8th sec exposure.   This technique is wonderfully effective when shooting runners, people biking, dogs running or even kids playing soccer.  The important thing is to find the shutter speed which works for your particular situation and then work around that setting.


Framing & Composition – Mix It Up!

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions and answers are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars for reference.   Photos by Wolfgang Kaehler, DPA Instructor, Seattle The three fanciful, fun and exotic photographs of birds here that appeared in the DPA Sports and Fast Action Webinar, were shot by Wolfgang Kaehler, DPA Instructor, Seattle. Wolfgang travels a lot and is very good at covering a subject, as evidenced by his 500,000+ searchable archive of travel and location photos. If you vary the camera position and framing you can potentially get more than one great photos of the same subject. Be careful when deleting images in the field, most pros don’t do it preferring to wait until later to edit. You can’t really tell about the impact or success of a particular photo until you open them up on your computer, what looked weak on the LCD might be masterful when viewed larger. Framing & Composition: Often it′s useful to compose without using the camera - LOOK at what you want to make a picture of. This is the arrangement of the subject and its surroundings within the viewfinder. Is there a story in your photograph? Does your photograph say what you want about the subject? Is there another way to tell the same story? If so, try it. Am I too close? ... Or am I too far away? Can you make a better photograph by getting closer to the subject, or moving back to show more context, to give some reference to what the subject is doing. What will make the things you like about the scene appear better in the finished photograph? Don’t be afraid to change something to make a better picture.     Fill the frame: Fill the frame and get close enough to eliminate objects you don′t want in your picture. Remember that part of taking a good picture is leaving things out that are distracting, (like garbage pails or dead plants). Be aware of things like the horizon. Is it level? Is the sun hitting the subject or are they in a shadow? (Most of the time it is better if the sun is behind you and hitting the subject). Make sure your own shadow is not in the picture, unless of course you want it there.       All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com Please submit your images in the following specs: Compressed JPEG Approx size 1-2 MB per image 200 dpi 10 inch size longest edge Large file size is requested should the need arise to magnify or open and enlarge an image during the webinar. If EXIF Metadata is not attached please provide exposure info if possible Please include your name and city in the image file name as below: First_Last_City_01.jpeg Please also indicate who was your DPA instructor and in what city, and at what level was your DPA class, Advanced, Intermediate or Beginner. Please also include brief captions including subject, location and any pertinent tech info. If it is not immediately clear from your image, for which webinar you are submitting photos, please indicate this as well. By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photograph(s) in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photograph(s) may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of the webinar(s) containing your photograph(s). You further authorize the use of your photograph(s) in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photograph(s). The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


Photographing People, Subject Placement & Expression

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions and answers are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars for reference.     Photo by Andy Greenwell, DPA Instructor, Detroit   Photographing People: When taking pictures of people be polite and respectful to your subjects but don’t be shy! Sometimes you have to get right in there and get close to get a good photo. The dramatic photo above of NBA star Jerry Stackhouse was shot by by Andy Greenwell, DPA Instructor in Detroit. Andy posed Stackhouse with the ball, giving the photo context and purpose. Instead of it simply appearing as a photo of some random guy, it’s a basketball player with dramatic side lighting. This gut looks purposeful and intense. This brings up a point of curiosity (especially for viewers who may not recognize Stackhouse in the photo) and leads to other questions and answers by the viewer putting the photo into a context for furthering exploration.   Subject placement and expression: How do you want the subject to look? To best capture people work, ask yourself what objects need to be included in your photo. Photo can be portrait style, where the person is looking at the camera-or candid style, where the person is involved in their work, and pretending you′re not there. If you want someone to smile or not ask him or her. Or ask them to look at the camera, or not look. They are often waiting for you to tell them what to do, help them out. They will be more relaxed and more into the shoot ... Resulting in better photos.   All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com Please submit your images in the following specs: Compressed JPEG Approx size 1-2 MB per image 200 dpi 10 inch size longest edge Large file size is requested should the need arise to magnify or open and enlarge an image during the webinar. If EXIF Metadata is not attached please provide exposure info if possible Please include your name and city in the image file name as below: First_Last_City_01.jpeg Please also indicate who was your DPA instructor and in what city, and at what level was your DPA class, Advanced, Intermediate or Beginner. Please also include brief captions including subject, location and any pertinent tech info. If it is not immediately clear from your image, for which webinar you are submitting photos, please indicate this as well. By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photograph(s) in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photograph(s) may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of the webinar(s) containing your photograph(s). You further authorize the use of your photograph(s) in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photograph(s). The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


What to Shoot, Why to Shoot

  Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on LivinginHD.com. Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions and answers are posted here on digitalphotoacademy.com where you can also view the archived webinars for reference.     Photos by Adam Stoltman, DPA Instructor NY   Adam Stoltman likes sports. That’s what he’s into, he likes watching it, playing it ... and because he loves it, he photographs it. The three photos on this page, that appeared in the DPA Sports and Fast Action Webinar are all shot by Adam Stoltman, DPA Instructor in NY are but a few examples of Adams sports photography. In addition to countless other sporting competitions and events Adam has photographed ten Olympic Games. You need to find what you love and shoot it. Your photos will be better and your passion for the event, theme or subject will come through in the photos. What to Photograph: Take pictures of what interests you, or what you like, and what you know. Take pictures of your family, friends, pets, or the building where you live, or at school, or on your walk to school. If you are passionate about your subject your photos will be better, more substantial and have more significance.     Why to Photograph: Think about why you want to photograph something before you shoot. Look at the subject (before looking through the camera) and think about why you want to take a picture. What is it you like about the scene. Is it the light and shadow, the people, the things, the action or activity? Concentrate on the things you like that are important. Try to give those elements more prominence in the frame. Mistakes are OK: You might make mistakes, that’s OK. Sometimes mistakes make good pictures. Just pay attention and remember what you did so you can learn for next time. All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at LivinginHD.com, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar. Submit your photographs to info@digitalphotoacademy.com Please submit your images in the following specs: Compressed JPEG Approx size 1-2 MB per image 200 dpi 10 inch size longest edge Large file size is requested should the need arise to magnify or open and enlarge an image during the webinar. If EXIF Metadata is not attached please provide exposure info if possible Please include your name and city in the image file name as below: First_Last_City_01.jpeg Please also indicate who was your DPA instructor and in what city, and at what level was your DPA class, Advanced, Intermediate or Beginner. Please also include brief captions including subject, location and any pertinent tech info. If it is not immediately clear from your image, for which webinar you are submitting photos, please indicate this as well. By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, LivinginHD.com and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photograph(s) in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photograph(s) may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of the webinar(s) containing your photograph(s). You further authorize the use of your photograph(s) in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photograph(s). The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


Power & Grace

Sports photography requires a keen sense of timing as well as an appreciation of movement and form.  Generally sports photographers look to freeze the action OR convey a sense of fluidity, power and grace as in some of the examples below. © Adam Stoltman Both require different techniques, yet both require staying "in tune", as well as understanding the concept of peak action.  Literally, this is the moment when a particular movement reaches its apex, as in the photograph of the diver.  Her body is at full extension as she reaches the "peak" of her jump.  The silouhette also accentuates the athletic form.   No matter what sport you are photographing these peak moments occur, and you can train your eye to see them. © Adam Stoltman The football and ski jumping images record similar peak moments -- the lineman springing off the snap of the ball, their bodies fully extended and impacted the on rushing defenders, and the jumper in full flight, his body completely extended over his skis -- however here, rather than "freezing" the action with a fast shutter speed, a longer exposure allows the camera to record the movement in a more fluid manner, creating an entirely different effect. © Adam Stoltman


Anticipate the Action

It was once said of Wayne Gretzky that he didn′t go to where to the puck was, he went to where it was going.  By thinking ahead of the action, you′ll be ready for it. © Michael Hart In Craig Biggio′s final game, I pre-focused on second base whenever The Atlanta Braves got a runner on first; this way, as I kept the camera pointed to second but watched the action out of my left eye, I was ready to catch Craig turning the final double-play of his Hall of Fame career. As the runner neared second, I hit the motor drive and got the sequence, culminating in this shot of Craig airborne over the player, who is sliding in to attempt to break up the play. A long lens (300mm) and almost-wide-open aperture, with the resulting short shutter speed, freezes the action against a soft background.  


Change your Point of View

When photographing an athletic event or contest, normally one is focused on freezing the action.  However, by changing your point of view, you will often notice patterns to the action that can be bold, graphic powerful, and revealing.  In the two examples below, the elevated position radically changes the composition and content. © Adam Stoltman The shot of the New York Marathon was taken atop the Verrezano Narrows bridge and the perspective allows us to see the full size of the field entered in the race in a way that would be difficult at ground level.  The overhead position allows us a perspective by which we can appreciate the size of the event with nearly 16,000 entrants in the race. © Adam Stoltman The tennis photograph taken at the US Open from the upper rows of the stadium, and interplay of light and shadow gives the viewer a sense of the lonely quest of athletic competition.  The service motion -- even at a distance -- is frozen at the peak moment, when the action literally freezes itself for an instant.  The point at which the ball is at the maximum height of the toss, and the server ready to uncoil.  


Freeze the Action

© Robin Hill Shooting sports is almost always best if you can freeze the action.  Try using a wide aperture and high shutter speed of at least 1/500 second. Sometimes showing the subject within the context of a wider frame can work well to tell the whole story. Try zooming out to obtain this effect.  


Not for the Timid

© Michael Thoennes Emotion. Peak moment. Unique angles. Movement. Speed. Sports shooting is not for the timid. You must be actively engaged with your camera and think fast. Set your camera to shutter priority to stop the action. Use a higher ISO if needed to get a correct exposure. NIK software works wonders at removing the additional noise you′ll gain. The shot on the field was done with a 400mm 2.8 lens at f4 1/500. Most of us don′t have access to long fast lenses, so shots like this are rare for the average parent. But there are other opportunities on the sideline which can be captured with a normal or wide lens. Keep your eyes open for those moments and always look the other way!  


Sailing Color

© Chuck Place Driving down the coast to Los Angeles, I often stop at a small beach called County Line. Although it is usually packed with surfers, due to the beautiful break, this day was windy and the waves were torn into tatters. Not a surfer in sight. But the weather had brought out another type of surf fanatic—sailboarders. A couple dozen were assembling their sailboards on the beach and side lighting from the afternoon sun was interesting, but once they moved out into the surf in front of me, backlighting set the sails glowing. This is my favorite lighting for sailboats of any kind. It highlights the texture of the water while intensifying the color of the sails. Over exposing one stop gives me an accurate exposure and the high shutter speed of shooting into the light freezes every flying drop of spray. A 300mm lens was used to make the viewer feel like they were actually in the surf with the sailboards.


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