Help with my "Action" Photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PhotoHeather, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. PhotoHeather

    PhotoHeather TPF Noob!

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    I shot a couple hundred photos of a kid's soccer practice with my XTI yesterday. I was shooting with a Tamron 28-75 lens and tried both the preset "action" mode as well as my trying my hands with about a hundred manual shots. Tried different av, iso, white balance, exposures, and all came out dark and blurry. I know the sun was behind my subjects but it was NOT dark at all compared to how the camera captured it. How can I get my photos to look like "stop action" and brighten them up a bit without post-processing? Also, how can I stay in focus with movement? I used Al Servo for all. This is one example of hundreds that all look about the same. Even the more "close up photos" look (extra) blurry, dark, and ick.
    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Change your metering to center weighted average, separate your focus lock and your exposure lock (custom function #4, set the * button to lock focus), get the subject to take up as much of the center as possible, hold the shutter halfway, keep holding, compose the shot, press * to focus, release shutter.

    OR

    set the camera to "P" mode, hold AV +/- button and turn the wheel to make the little metering arrow (in the viewfinder) go from
    ililililil|lilililil
    .....^.....

    to
    ililililil|lilililil
    .........^..
     
  3. PhotoHeather

    PhotoHeather TPF Noob!

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    Thank you! I will be trying this next week and I'll post the results.
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your camera is focusing and metering on the fence and pipes in the background. First of all you need to try and put the light source in thes case the sun at your back or at least more to the side if you are shooting towards the sun with your subject in between they will be backlighted. Also you need to try and fill the frame more with the kids so the camera will focus on themand not the bakground or as a previous poster said use focus lock anfocus on a person and recompose.
     
  5. JD in Socal

    JD in Socal TPF Noob!

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    I would hold off on messing with your metering and focus lock settings, or you will just be chasing your tail. Your camera is very capable of getting the metering correct as it is.

    As said above, you are missing the kids and getting the background in focus, which is a common problem. Shooting moving subjects is tough. With that lens you will have to get close in order to fill more of the frame with the kid(s). A longer lens (70-200mm range) makes it much easier to reach out from the sidelines.

    Next, you need to set the shutter and aperture. The "action" mode isn't bad, so don't give up on it. Better though, is this: go to Av (aperture priority) and open the aperture as much as possible (lowest number) using the wheel next to the shutter button. Point the camera toward the field and see what the shutter speed is indicated. If it is less than 640 or so, turn up the ISO until you get a faster shutter speed (640 or faster). If it is not bright out that day, and depending on your lens, you may have to go to ISO 400 or 800. Now, get close enough to your subjects to fill enough of the frame that your autofocus picks them up. Follow them in the viewfinder, squeeze the button halfway and you will see the focus point go red where the camera is focusing (should be on the player) then squeeze off the shot(s) as you continue to follow the action with the camera. Its not so easy, but you will get better at it quickly. Once you get the hang of it, you won't have to work so hard to keep the focus where you want it.

    With some practice and getting close enough you will get some great shots on a bright day. Low- light action shots take f2.8 zoom lenses (expensive). Don't expect to get the same results as you see from serious sports shooters (unless you want to spend some serious money) but you can get some terrific shots within certain limitations.

    One last tip. Try hard to find an angle that gives you a clean background. Shots will often look cluttered because of a busy background.

    Good luck out there.

    JD
     
  6. PhotoHeather

    PhotoHeather TPF Noob!

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    Thanks JD! My lens is a f2.8 zoom but the reach is only to 75mm which makes it hard to get the kids in full frame. I think a lens with a longer reach will be a birthday present (my bday is still a long way off though.) Next week I will try running on to the field quickly to get a few good shots or sit near the goal. I tried AV last week but didn't understand exactly how that setting works in relation to ISO and shutter speed until you explained it! Thanks!!!!

    JIP: Next week I will sit on the other side of the field and post the results.

    You have all been really helpful. Fingers crossed for some awesome shots next week!
     
  7. JD in Socal

    JD in Socal TPF Noob!

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    My favorite spot is behind and to one side of the goal. Wait for them to come to you and you can get some pretty close shots.

    Thats a great lens at 2.8, so your only limitation is distance. You should do well if you pick the right spot to stand.

    JD
     
  8. PhotoHeather

    PhotoHeather TPF Noob!

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    Alright.. this brings me to a new question. Is there any attachment, that is fairly inexpensive, that I can put on the end of my lens to increase the distance that won't completely destroy image quality or speed?
    Trying to figure out a cheap alternative to a 70-200 for the time being.
     
  9. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Shoot on the highest setting (L fine) and crop. 2x teleconverters darken the image.
     
  10. PhotoHeather

    PhotoHeather TPF Noob!

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    I didn't think I could even shoot with a teleconverter because my lens starts at 28mm. Am I wrong? (That would be nice if I was!)
     
  11. JD in Socal

    JD in Socal TPF Noob!

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    I think you are right about the teleconverter, and I wouldn't bother with it for now regardless.

    My advice is just to get closer. That zoom range (up to 75mm) will get you some good shots from the edge of the field. With these little guys in particular, you can get up close to the side and/or end of the field.

    I did spring for a 70/200 zoom (2.8) but pictures close to me are often at 70mm or so. Also, for what its worth, your lense is perfect for basketball or volleyball, indoors or out, assuming you can shoot from close to the court. My 70-200 is often too long, even at 70mm, if I'm shooting my kid's basketball game from the end of the court (under the basket, which is the best spot, IMO).

    The pro sports shooters use multiple cameras (at least 2, sometimes 3) with different lenses so they can get long shots or close shots. You won't get every shot throughout the game without having a similar setup. The good news is that you don't need to. Take advantage of the shot opportunities that you get with your existing lens and you should have more than enough shots for a game. If I end up with 3 or 4 shots I like of my kid's game (out of probably 100 frames shot), I'm happy. Any more than that and I don't know what to do with them anyway. Nobody needs 500 shots of a kid kicking a soccer ball, no matter how cute he/she is.

    When you do get a longer zoom, try borrowing and/or renting lenses before you spend your money. A f2.8 will get you fast shutter speeds, better low-light shots, and better separation of your subject from the background (less depth of field). An f4.0 is cheaper, lighter, and can get way better shots than the typical consumer f3.5-6.3 zoom. See if there is a Calumet (http://www.calumetphoto.com/) in your town. They rent pro gear. You can rent a $2,000 70-200 f2.8 for $30/day and shoot as many games as you can stand.

    JD
     
  12. _SnapShot_

    _SnapShot_ TPF Noob!

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    Put the Sun behind you. You have a heavy lighting from the left in your sample image. That means heavy dark shadows.

    Get a longer lens if possible. 75-300 USM III, about $200. Nice zoom range, without breaking the bank.
     

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