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Any tips for avoiding being trigger happy for Sports photography?

TrekRover
Prime Creator

Yesterday I was at my first Sports photography event. I went a little crazy and shot around 5706 photos... However after processing, only 127 photos were passable before doing post-processing... any tips for avoiding being trigger happy? 

5 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

LensBrew
Prime Creator

Hey Trek, I had that discussion with some of the pro photographers from other outlets. They actually would be proud you shot a lot. the points I concluded from our conversation is fairly simple. Sports is very fast, and the moments flee in milliseconds. Out of a 100 you get 1 good shot, out of a 1000 you get 10. In the end, the game would have that 1 or 2 moments that you're either lucky to capture or unlucky to miss. And the final element to affect the image is the result. If you got the shot of the best moment, but the team loses, it becomes a normal shot. Therefore, Luck play a big role is sports, and mass shooting becomes necessary after great skills to increase the luck factor. In the end, memory is cheaper now and no restrictions apply.

You might be thinking of post work, and my advice is to review the images during the game when the play is paused for any reason. I have a custom button to star images as I review them, and usually I have a sense of which set of shots would have the best shot and instantly rate it.

This is image from the last women basketball game I shot and was the big moment shot (in my humble opinion). The coach rarely shows his emotions, but not during this game, and especially that this is the first time they beat Louisville since 1995. Only the last sentence (information) makes the image a lot more meaningful.

2023.01.12.Hamad Alhendi - Collegiate Times.0351.jpg 

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Avoid center spot focusing! I've tried every method to see what fits best. There was an article on Alpha Universe, and I bet it was PM-R, that mentioned using medium spot tracking. I tried it, and now it's my go to for sports and anything moving. Give it a try. You would need to figure where to place the box for the best result that suits you.

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JDedmonPhoto
Member

A few years ago I was shooting at the Outback Bowl in Florida. I was standing next to a well known former SI  photographer. We had chatted a bit between plays and after a bit he looked at me and asked, "you started shooting with film, didn't you?" Nervous I was doing something wrong, I answered yes. He smiled and said "good", always shoot to get the shot, not just to not miss it. In other words, know the sport, anticipate the moments and where you need to be to get the best angle and shoot with purpose..not out of fear of missing a moment. It will help in post if youre on deadline, and while you may miss a few shots, you'll gradually find you develop and eye that brings you more keepers.

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tonygale
Prime Creator

I would say don't worry about being trigger happy, the difference between a great shot and a ok one can be fractions of a second and if you see it, it's too late to capture. Alternatively, in you can try what Patrick Murphy-Racey has been doing, and shoot 8k video and pull stills 

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I started my career as a sports photographer 46+ years ago before auto-everything. A standard take on an NFL game (I shot for 26 years) was 40 rolls (chrome) per game. That is 1200 images. Don't shoot less, just shoot don't shoot meaningless images. Action and Emotion are what needs to be shot in most cases and you did a great job here of capturing the emotion. If you are shooting with an a1 at 30fps, it's pretty easy to rack up a large number. It will vary from sport to sport. You said it was your first event? Study you edit and see where the "non-keepers" are coming from. You should always be learning through your edits. The will teach you a lot about what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.

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10 REPLIES 10

LensBrew
Prime Creator

Hey Trek, I had that discussion with some of the pro photographers from other outlets. They actually would be proud you shot a lot. the points I concluded from our conversation is fairly simple. Sports is very fast, and the moments flee in milliseconds. Out of a 100 you get 1 good shot, out of a 1000 you get 10. In the end, the game would have that 1 or 2 moments that you're either lucky to capture or unlucky to miss. And the final element to affect the image is the result. If you got the shot of the best moment, but the team loses, it becomes a normal shot. Therefore, Luck play a big role is sports, and mass shooting becomes necessary after great skills to increase the luck factor. In the end, memory is cheaper now and no restrictions apply.

You might be thinking of post work, and my advice is to review the images during the game when the play is paused for any reason. I have a custom button to star images as I review them, and usually I have a sense of which set of shots would have the best shot and instantly rate it.

This is image from the last women basketball game I shot and was the big moment shot (in my humble opinion). The coach rarely shows his emotions, but not during this game, and especially that this is the first time they beat Louisville since 1995. Only the last sentence (information) makes the image a lot more meaningful.

2023.01.12.Hamad Alhendi - Collegiate Times.0351.jpg 

I started my career as a sports photographer 46+ years ago before auto-everything. A standard take on an NFL game (I shot for 26 years) was 40 rolls (chrome) per game. That is 1200 images. Don't shoot less, just shoot don't shoot meaningless images. Action and Emotion are what needs to be shot in most cases and you did a great job here of capturing the emotion. If you are shooting with an a1 at 30fps, it's pretty easy to rack up a large number. It will vary from sport to sport. You said it was your first event? Study you edit and see where the "non-keepers" are coming from. You should always be learning through your edits. The will teach you a lot about what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.

TrekRover
Prime Creator

Thanks for the advice! That makes me feel better. I feel like I need to up my focusing game and try to do center spot focusing area. As I was looking at my photos there were many missed opportunities because the camera ended up focusing the audience instead of the players....😅 Well I just finished processing and editing the photos, down to 38 and of those, 16 were the "best" of them. From 5,000 to 38.... 😭

From my first Sports shoot :DFrom my first Sports shoot 😄

Avoid center spot focusing! I've tried every method to see what fits best. There was an article on Alpha Universe, and I bet it was PM-R, that mentioned using medium spot tracking. I tried it, and now it's my go to for sports and anything moving. Give it a try. You would need to figure where to place the box for the best result that suits you.