ten High School Football Photography Ideas

10 High School Football Photography Tips

high school football photography tips and advice

Are you searching to capture top-notch, action-packed, jaw-dropping photos of high college football?

You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve been carrying out high school football photography for  years , thus I’ve picked up plenty of key tips, techniques, and secrets to capture amazing shots. And this article, I aim to talk about it all with you, from important equipment to camera settings to creative tricks and more.

So if you’re ready to elevate your soccer photography, then let’s jump right in, starting with apparatus:

1 . Use the right gear

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here discussing camera physiques. Some of the photos in this article had been taken many years ago using a Nikon D70, and they look good. As long as you’re photographing using a reliable DIGITAL SLR or mirrorless camera , you’re going to be great. A fast continuous shooting speed as well as a capable autofocus system is useful, but if you can’t afford these types of features, then don’t worry  too  much.

For a soccer photographer, your big worry is lenses . Happily, it is possible to obtain really great shots with a couple of basic options. When I first started shooting sports, I actually used just one lens, a 70-200mm f/2. 8. I used to be able to shoot and modify creatively enough to get a selection of images. If you can only afford one lens right now, certainly opt for a longer zoom.

Don’t just buy  any  lengthy zoom, however. Make sure it is plenty fast; in other words, it should ideally feature a maximum aperture of f/2. 8.   Fast lenses are going to be massively important once the sun falls because most high school sports have a prohibition against using flash. You’ll need that will ultra-wide aperture to keep the sufficiently fast shutter speed (otherwise, your photos can all turn out blurry! ).

By the way, I’d also recommend investing in a fine monopod to keep your camera steady. In good gentle, you can handhold, but since the day turns into night, you’ll want some form of support – and tripods tend to be annoyingly unwieldy.

As with any type of shoot, make sure you have the ability to of the necessary backups: batteries, memory cards, etc . Furthermore, make sure you also have a plan with regard to when it starts raining. Note that rain will fall sometimes, so be prepared for it. The Think Container Hydrophobia should do the trick.

high school football in the rain

Trust me. At some point it’s going to rainfall!

second . Consider how you’ll get involved

If you’re seriously interested in football photography, consider getting in touch with the school/venue ahead of time and ask about media credentials. In exchange for your images, you  might  be able to get a totally free pass into the game.

Otherwise, you’ll most likely have to pay to get in (just like anyone else! ). The good thing is that it’s usually lower than $10. You might be able to speak your way in on the day of the game, but the money would go to a good cause, so if you are forced to pay, it’s not that big of a deal.

3. Get to the overall game early

Teams take the field to warm up anywhere from one to one-and-a-half hours before game time. And warm-ups are going to give you one of the best opportunities meant for quality shots .

For starters, the light is better. The sun won’t have fixed, and you’re going to get strong, powerful natural light, particularly if you shoot with the sun at your back.

Plus, players also tend to move a little more slowly in warm-ups than in the actual game, so you’ll have an easier time capturing motion. You’ll also get more of an opportunity to isolate individual players.

In some instances, you may even be able to actually walk out onto the field to capture. However , if you do, please be careful! There will be around 150 kids warming up, many of whom are big, fast, and not paying attention to you.

Always remember: the kids’ job would be to play football, not offer you a good photo op. Thus make sure you don’t get in the way in which!

high school football in good light

Get there earlier and take advantage of the sun as you can.

4. Know the sport

The key to getting high quality photos in football?

Have a solid knowledge of the game. Know how it is played .

After all, every online game has an ebb and flow of its personal. If you know how the game goes, then you’ll be ready once the game hits its levels (and you’ll know when you can relax and take your hand off the shutter).

Plus, knowledge of the game will help you to anticipate moments before these people happen. Will it be an operating play or a passing play? What are the odds that they are going to fake the punt on 4th down? Do you need to be on the sideline or the end-zone for the action? The home side of the field or the visitors’?

The more you understand the subtleties from the game, the better prepared you will be.

players snapping the ball

5. Concentrate like a pro

In football photography, you should master two types of centering:

  1. Mental focus
  2. Camera focus

First, mental focus: These types of kids are big and fast and strong, and so are trained to run through anything within their way. So please, please,   please  pay attention to the game, anticipate modify, and get free from the way if players are usually barrelling toward you .

I as soon as saw a photographer have his ground on the sidelines, despite the fact that a player was being moved out of bounds right at him. We watched as his camera, lens, and monopod all of went flying in three different directions (he flew in a fourth). He was ultimately wheeled off the industry with cuts to their face and a leg that were broken in two places. No photograph is worth that. So focus on where you are and what is going on around you.

player running with the football

As for the other kind of concentrate:

You’re photographing an action sport and also you want action photos. Therefore set your camera in order to its continuous autofocus environment ( AF-C upon some cameras, AI-Servo on others ).

Now, the kids is going to be wearing helmets, so don’t worry if you can’t focus on the players’ eyes. Sure, if you can get the eyes, that is great. If not, your best bet is to lock on the players’ amounts, or even the ball once players start moving. Here, your own camera’s tracking mode might be a big help. Of course , feel free to experiment with other AF area modes, just in case one suits your lifestyle of shooting.

The goal is  speed  and  accuracy . And at very first, you may struggle. That’s regular. But keep practicing, keep working at it, plus you’ll eventually improve.

football player with ball

6. Use the right camera settings

Football players move accelerated, and if you come home along with 250 blurry photos, you aren’t going to be happy. Therefore pay careful attention to your shutter speed, because the faster your own shutter speed, the better your chances of freezing the action.

I generally want to start with a shutter speed of 1/500s and change my aperture and ISO accordingly until I obtain the look I want. Since soccer is an outdoor sport, the particular lighting is going to change throughout the game. You may start out with great natural light, but you will often end in the dark with less-than-ideal stadium light. This, in turn, may lead to slowing down your shutter speed to let in more gentle, as well as opening up your aperture to its maximum or raising your ISO.

Mastering these configurations – and knowing what to modify during a game – takes some practice. Be prepared for some trial and error. Here, Shutter Priority mode is often your buddy, as you can input your preferred shutter speed and INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG, then let your camera automatically adjust the aperture. You might also consider using Auto ISO with some sort of cap (but before you go this route, check different ISO values and determine your maximum “good” ISO).

intimate details and portraits

7. Carefully choose your vantage point

Beginning soccer photographers struggle to position by themselves correctly. They often pick an empty bleacher seat near the industry, set up their gear, plus stay in place for the entire sport.

But if you want truly excellent photos, you have to position yourself carefully – and if possible, you should move  with  the particular action.

How do you pick the best position? First of all, let the light guide you. This might sound dramatic, but really, you should just take advantage of the sun while you can. Especially when you’re starting out, put the sun at your back again so that it’s falling on to the field and nicely enlightening the players. As you get more experienced, you can try switching things up and working with backlight (i. e., situations where the light originates from behind  the players, as in the image below) or even sidelight, yet as a beginner, keep items as easy as possible.

football photography in beautiful light

Certainly, the closer you are to the action, the better your photos will be. So get since close to the field as possible. If you possibly can, position yourself on the sidelines, below the bleachers. This will give you the best angles, plus it will give you room to move using the game.

Remember that some stadiums will have limitations on where you can and can not stand, regardless of your push credentials. “The Box, ” for example , is the area over the sideline between the 20-yard lines. This area, for a selection of reasons, is off-limits to anyone other than players, mentors, trainers, etc . A game official who is a stickler for the rules could penalize the team for your presence in the box. If that occurs, start running and don’t look back!

There is a natural tendency to shoot a football game primarily from “your” team’s side of the field. If you’re a parent, this is where you know people and feel comfortable. But try available to the other side of the field once in a while. Like that, you can capture the action with your team’s colors and sidelines in the background.

8. Be creative and keep your eyes open

Sure, you’re photographing football , but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with your angles and compositions. If you are trying to sell game photos on your internet site, getting creative will only help!

I tend to think in terms of portraits; how can I highlight a specific player in the best way possible? Changing angles resulted in getting this quarterback against a perfect background:

player preparing to throw the ball

Don’t fall into the trap, though, of assuming that everything worth photographing is right there on the field in front of you. Spend some time in the stands. Shoot the crowd reactions. Photograph the band and the cheerleaders. Capture the traditions. There was so much more going on in a stadium than just a football game. So turn your back on the action once in a while and take a look around you. There are stories everywhere.

Above all, learn to keep your head on a swivel!

coaches and cheerleaders

dog on the football field

Pay attention. You never know who might drop in.

9. Consider utilizing your camera’s continuous shooting mode

Beginner sports photographers tend to set their camera to its fastest shooting mode , then follow the “spray and pray” strategy where you capture a series of shots over a split-second window.

But is this advisable? Or should you use your camera’s single-shot mode?

Honestly, it really is dependent upon you and your style. Ask five photographers, and you’ll get five different answers. When I first started shooting high school sports, I was working with a slow camera that didn’t i want to “spray and pray” consistently and hope for the best. It could have been frustrating back then, nonetheless it was probably a good thing. I learned to compose my shots and choose my moments a little more carefully. As time passes, I developed a pretty fast shutter finger and a much better eye for sports action. So even now, with a faster camera, I tend to leave my camera set for single clicks.

Ultimately, I’d recommend you try out both settings. Work with your camera’s continuous shooting mode for a while. Then, once you’ve gotten some shots you’re satisfied with, switch over to a single-shot mode and see how it feels!

players with the football

10. Tune in to the coaches (and follow proper etiquette)

If you are covering a particular team over the course of a season, introduce yourself to the coaches. Your task will be easier if they know who you are and why you’re there. Plus, play your cards right with the coaches and there’s no telling what kind of access you will get.

football players preparing for a game

Being nice to coaches gets you all kinds of access.

If a coach or official tells you something, listen. If they ask you to move, move . You’re in their house and you have to play by their rules.

As I mentioned above, don’t use flash. It’s prohibited, plus it can seriously impact the game. It may sound silly, but you have no idea what the effects of an unexpected flash may be. There could be college scouts in the stands, and if you blind the receiver together with your flash, they might not obtain a scholarship or even get recruited at all.

Also, if play stops for an injury on the field, show respect and put your camera down . While injuries might make for compelling photography, you may be witnessing the conclusion of a child’s life-long dream or even their chances of going to college. You don’t want the student or their parents to observe that on your website. This is senior high school, not the NFL. Be sensitive and keep things in perspective.

Any seasoned photographer will tell you that photographing sports is not easy, and football may be one of the hardest games to shoot.

However , with a little practice and preparation, your images will start to improve. Remember these tips, apply them to your photography, and pretty soon, your photographs will be outstanding .

Now over to you:

Do you have any tips for football photography? Have you photographed any games? What was it like? Share your thoughts in the comments below!




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Jeff Guyer

Jeff Guyer

is a commercial/portrait photographer based in Atlanta, GA. Still an avid street photographer and film shooter, Jeff also launched a kids photography class called: Digital Photo Challenges.

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