Great sports photography doesn’t always happen during the game
posted Monday, February 16, 2015 at 9:59 AM EST
Some of the best sports photographs happen before and after the game—and during timeouts. Keep your eyes open for those personal moments that say something about the way your favorite athletes feel about competing, winning, and, sadly, losing.
It’s almost impossible to appreciate how difficult sports action photography is without trying your hand at it on the sidelines of a large team sport.
I’ve actually become aggravated with famous quarterbacks, for example, for daring to throw a great pass while standing in front of a lousy background
Athletes are, well, so preoccupied. Can’t they appreciate what I’m trying to do over here?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to discourage you from photographing the athlete in your life; I just want you to get pictures you love AND I want you to do that with realistic expectations. If you put all of your eggs in one basket waiting for a diving catch to happen in front of you, you may be waiting for a while. And if it actually does, the odds are still pretty slim that you’re actually going to get an in-focus perfect peak moment picture of it.
All that determination to get that one great one may result in what I call Real Moment Blindness. There are other wonderful moments happening at every sporting event, but you need to keep your eyes open.
The presence of other players are in this photograph by Lori Hagen, but not the players themselves. It’s just one little athlete feeling the good vibes of any empty dugout.
Anytime a team gets together in one of their pre-game team spirit huddles there’s a photograph waiting to be taken. When the defense is standing on the sidelines cheering for the offense there’s a picture. When they all raise their hands and cheer and yell there’s a photograph. When they’re sitting in the dugout looking all tense and anxious there’s a picture. When a coach puts his arm around a player for a one on one that’s a photo moment. It goes on and on.
These are not game action moments. These are the moments that happen when people compete for fun. It’s all part of the sports world. Sports are a lot more than throwing and catching and running and jumping. It’s about the emotions that people feel when they do it well or do it badly. It’s about winning and losing and the lessons we learn from both.
(An exceptional educator and a world-class photographer, Nick Kelsh is the founder of How To Photograph Your Life, an excellent source of affordable photography training and tips. Nick’s courses can be conducted by yourself in your own time, or with feedback from Nick and your fellow students. If you appreciated this article and want to improve your photography, visit How to Photograph your Life and sign up for a course today!)