Every year, for every sport my kids play, I always manage to score the job of team photographer. (It’s waaaaaay more fun than Team Mom in my book, so I’m not complaining.) Photographing kids sports may not sound glamorous, but I’m here to tell you that it pays off in spades. You get to know all the kids, you have a great view of the game, and you get to make great photography business connections. I’ve been hired several times for head shots or family portraits because of the pictures I did for a team. I even taught a camera basics class to an entire group of people I met solely through kids sports. Once people realize the extent of your talent, they never hesitate to recommend you for other things.
Kids sporting events are also the perfect place to practice your skills. Need practice in low light situations? Basketball gyms are perfect for that.
You want to exercise your manual focus abilities? Try shooting through the backstop.
Do you need to work on freezing motion? Try to photograph a swimmer in mid-stroke in the pool with water suspended in air.
Want to work on portraiture? Volunteer to handle the team pictures.
Photographing sports is all about anticipating what’s about to happen. When you practice that enough, those skills transfer perfectly to every type of photography.
Opening Day for major league baseball is just days away, but for us, the softball and baseball seasons have already begun. The biggest challenge I have with kids sports is breaking up the monotony. There’s only so many ways you can photograph the same situations. At the beginning of the baseball/ softball season, I start out capturing the routine moments, at the plate, running the bases, standing in their positions, etc. But after the basics are out of the way, I start to play and it gets a lot more fun. Sometimes I’ll bring a lens I haven’t used in awhile, like a wide-angle. Sometimes I play with taking the aperture way up. Sometimes I do both.
Other times I focus on the in-between moments like the changing of innings or the downtime waiting in the dugout before their at-bat. I’ve even been known to turn the camera to the stands occasionally to snap a few shots of the fans. But in the end, it’s the emotion that wins out in pictures for me and makes me appreciate the games even more.
Play Ball! -Angie