Sports photos: composition tips and tricks

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by photoflyer, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Worst thing about chimping

    That so-so shot - that will turn out the tack sharp best focused
    That "ooh that looks neat" will turn out miss focused and blurry in all the wrong places

    I'd say that I never delete or do a serious look through during an event. That's why its important to carry more memory cards than you ever need in a day. That way you can keep going rather than stop half way through having to try and clear space.


     
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  2. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm going to add one more hint: if you're shooting for publication and on deadline, then use halftime or breaks between periods to get initial work done. At least review what you've got, make initial selections. That way, your stuff gets out quickly (at the end of the match or maybe even before if the money shoot is of the graduating seniors being recognized by the crowd at the start of the game or the former star being entered into the Ring of Honor) and you beat the competition.
     
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  3. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I caught one of my yearbook students chimping and completely oblivious to the basket that was just made in front of him.
    And on the football field, he was not paying attention to the next play, but chimping his shots of the previous play.
    Some of the kids are worse than others. I don't know how to get them to break that habit of chimping. I'm open to ideas.

    Basketball is a generally high scoring game, so you have many chances to get another shot.
    Soccer, football, water polo and similar, are low scoring games, and you may have just one or two chances to get the score in a game. Miss those shots, and you may not get another chance.

    It helps that I grew up in the film days, so I never developed this habit/urge to chimp...we couldn't.
     
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  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thing is if they've got the histogram up and showing then chimping is a good thing - because it means they can check their exposures. In complex or tricky lighting situations or in changeable light this can be pretty important in the digital age as they aim to get as much exposure as possible whilst avoiding blowing out the exposure. Film had a bit more dynamic range and also was more forgiving in general (although some of the newer sensors are really getting to be very good at dark area recovery).

    So I'd say you can't "cure" chimping by simply sticking some tape or paper over the LCD because its part of how the modern camera is used. Esp with the histogram its as much a tool as was checking your light meter. Learning not to chimp or only to chimp at the best times is something they will have to learn. Perhaps have them simply watch or get involved in more games and then do a debrief where you can go over how fast things were, how dynamic the sport is and thus how important it is for them to not chimp (esp if you can ask them things they shouldn't be doing and lead them into saying chimping/checking the shot themselves).


    I also find that I chimp and check more when
    1) I'm unsure of the lighting
    2) I'm unsure of my focusing (even though the LCD is horrific to check this on)

    So sometimes going over the basics once more; making sure that they are really confident in their knowledge of camera control and instilling in them the confidence to trust their own skill and control. So that even if things go wrong its because of chance or hardware not keeping up rather than their method
     
  5. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The term 'chimping' started on Sports Photography and Photojournalism for Professional Photographers and Photography | SportsShooter.com . The site is done by pros and there was an article on the site about who was credited for first using the term. They did a video some years ago when digital photography was newer somewhat poking fun at themselves and/or people with cameras (and I don't know if any of this is still on there). It isn't exactly considered a good sports shooting technique. It isn't actually a technique at all, it's just a thing people do. I think there's maybe a natural tendency to look, but if you're putzing with your camera you're going to miss action.

    I started on film too, and can do either shooting sports. I got damn fast at changing a roll of film, I can tell you that; had a system of finished roll goes in right pocket, fresh roll comes out of left pocket, in and wind fast! Keep an eye (and a feel) for getting near the end of the roll and be aware of time on the clock til intermission when there's a chance to change rolls and restash from the camera bag. Except for when I was taking pictures during intermission, then I'd have to take a few minutes of game time to get ready for mascot races on the ice, big fake cardboard checks, etc.

    These days I'm out of 'game shape' for shooting hockey since I'm getting around with a cane and not actively shooting hockey, but I still take pictures at games from the 'cheap' seats (AKA the accessible seats). Usually I take my digital camera and tend to glance thru after a few shots, then I don't usually look except maybe during a TV timeout (or excuse me, now it's called a media timeout!).

    @ ac12 - Maybe give your students film cameras, that ought to break that habit! lol Seriously it might be due to lack of experience, that they keep checking and wanting to see what they did. (I was a teacher, occupational hazard.) As they get more practice and get better at shooting sports maybe that would improve. Or maybe they're not that into the game or the sport. Or maybe... tape a business card or part of an index card or whatever over their viewscreens...

    But I do find I watch it differently if I'm taking pictures or if I'm just being a fan, obviously you see it differently thru a telephoto. At ice level you have to look up from behind your camera to see who is looming up blocking the light like a small solar eclipse thru your viewfinder...
     
  6. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sharon,
    I think it is some of them not having the confidence in themselves.

    I have my ideas, but that will have to wait till next year. This year, I am stuck with the small staff as setup. I would like a 5-6 student photo staff, where I can concentrate my teaching, and they can get their experience and skills up. What bothers me is they shoot for their page, not a sport. Example one student shoots the JV game, then another shoots the Varsity game. So they are not getting enough camera time to get better. To me it makes better sense for one student to shoot both JV and Varsity games.
     
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  7. OnTheFly7

    OnTheFly7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So true!

    I need to through out most rodeos due to when they take place. Usually starting in straight day light, then progressively going to full darkness with arena lighting. So I’ll take a quick peek simply to check exposure. That’s it.

    Another reason not to chimp.......

    It is exciting to not know what you have until you get back to the hotel and upload!

    After shooting the same sport for a while, you will simply know when you nailed the shot! You will also know exactly when you missed it or were just a little too slow!
     
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  8. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OTF
    I go back and forth between Single Shot (S) and time the shot or Continuous High (C-H) and blast it.

    Half the time when I do C-H, I miss shots that happen in between the 6 FPS shots.
    - I learned this when I was shooting tennis and volleyball. Man those sports are FAST.
    - I keep thinking about going back to S, but at my age, things slow down, hence my use of C-H for sports.

    But S requires a LOT of practice to get the advanced timing nailed down in your head and finger.
    - I don't even try to teach the kids to shoot sport in S. They don't have enough camera time to learn the timing.
    - I will some times shoot single shots in C-H, because I feel I know the timing. Does not always work out. :apologetic:
     
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  9. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have this same struggle. I’ve gotten into the habit of shooting 3-5 shot bursts, but I’m also shooting 10fps on the D500. I honestly wish there was a setting to press the shutter and have it take no more than a set number of photos: a burst limit setting or something. It would help me utilize the high frame rate without taking way too many photos.
     
  10. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OTF
    I think there are only 2 kids that know what to do with the histogram and exposure compensation.
    Most of the kids are "button pushers."
    I'm trying to move some of the button pushers over a bit, to use more of the features of the camera.

    I think we needed this year of learning, for them to understand just how much they have to learn.
    But I also need them to put in the time to learn, and organize and work as a photo team, vs a bunch of individuals.
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem with a burst limit is, you don't know when something happens where you want to keep shooting.
    And when it happens, how do you overcome the burst limit, without loosing a key shot. The only option is to release and press the shutter when it hits that shot limit. But you loose shots when you do that.
    Logically, a burst unlock button is needed. Hit it with your thumb when you want to bypass the burst limit and keep shooting.
    Or a 3 position shutter release button. Press it down to the bottom to bypass the burst limit and go "full auto."
     
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  12. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Geez,
    I would hate to have to teach people how to use a 3 position shutter button.
    Many of them have a hard enough time with the current 2 position button. They just push right down and bypass the half press position.

    hmmm, that 3 position shutter button might be tough to use in the COLD, where you have to use a glove and do not have the feedback of a warm bare finger.
    Maybe a longer and stiffer throw to the 3rd position.
     
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