Football Game Plan

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Football Game Plan
Greg Mayo

It’s high school football time again and time to snap the perfect photo of your son’s big play.  No guarantees on the big play, but these tips will improve the overall quality of your football photography.

First, get close.  If you have a telephoto lens, use it.  Even so, you still can’t get good shots from the stands.  The players will be tiny.  One big shot of the whole stadium is ok, but that’s enough.  Turn off your flash for this one, so you don’t light the fans in front of you and make the field dark.  With that done, it’s time to go down to the field.  Get as close as you are allowed and try to position yourself so the action is coming toward you.  Backs of uniforms aren’t all that interesting.  Be careful!  Football players can hurt you and they move fast.

Set your camera on a high ISO and a fast shutter speed…1/500 if possible.  That will stop the action and keep it from being blurred.  You’ll just have to experiment with your flash.  It probably won’t be powerful enough to do any good, and the photographs will look better with stadium lights only…but try it and see.

Fill up the screen with action and show the ball if possible.  Players will be more important if your eye goes straight to them without having to filter out half a screen of background.  The ball gives some reference to what is going on at the time of the shot.

Football Game PlanBe ready.  The opportunity for a great shot will come and go in the blink of an eye.  Anticipate.  Shoot before you think you should.  You will find yourself missing the action late more than missing it early.

Sports photography is not easy, but you’ll have successes.  I thought I had done something special when I shot this photo until I saw the photographer in the shot.  He is either really smart or really lucky.  He was in the perfect spot and his shot was better.  There is always next season.

If you have questions, give me a call at (318) 640-0401 or email greg@gregmayo.com.