One of my first articles for We Are SO Photo listed my top ten tips for better football photography. Whilst these tips will undoubtedly help improve your sports snaps, I’ve decided to compile five more pieces of advice to help you continue to grow as a photographer and capture those perfect football photos.
1. Where there’s action, turn around
Often, when something of importance is happening in front of you, it’s occasionally worth turning around to capture the reaction to these events. Capturing the emotion can be more powerful than the event itself. So, when a goal is scored or an aggressive foul is committed, focus on the fans, managers, etc and shoot those reactions.
2. Pick your best spot
Choosing where to place yourself when photographing can be the decider between coming away with photos that you are disappointed with or pleased with. If you’re looking to just capture the action, somewhere around the halfway line is where you’ll get the best shots of those contested tackles or headers. But if you’re looking to get that all important shot of the winning goal, positioning yourself behind the goal line is the better option. But be wary… you may miss key moments developing at the other end of the field. Read how the match is developing… who’s more likely to score. It could be crucial.
Do you want to perfectly capture those celebration shots? Of course. Then take note that most players when scoring a goal will run back towards their dugouts and/or teammates. Therefore, sitting behind the goalline will usually result in only capturing the player’s backs. By placing yourself near the half-way line, you’re more likely to get those players’ jubilation captured on your camera. If you regularly shoot for one particular team, get to know the players and let them know where you are positioned. They’re more likely to head your way mid-celebration.
4. Cover up from the elements
Football is mostly played over the colder months of the year and some afternoons can get bitterly cold. If you’re going to be sitting there for over 90 minutes, ensure you are warm and comfortable enough to focus on the action developing in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll lose concentration, and you certainly will not enjoy what you are doing. When protecting yourself and your kit from the rain, wear waterproof clothing and invest in a camera rain cover.
5. Get to know your club
The more contacts you can make, the better opportunities you’ll get to cover key events, prestige games and off the field events. Whilst you may not be paid for these (especially at lower level leagues) there can often be a great satisfaction in becoming part of a football club. I know plenty of football photographers (myself included) who get immense pleasure out of contributing to their local team. I also know many football clubs who are always very accommodating in accepting photographers to shoot their matches. If nothing else, it gives them great exposure.
These tips are only from mine and my close photographer friends’ experience, but following these will help your sports and action photography no-end.
Author – Stuart Tree