Spring has sprung and summer sports are in full swing. Trying to take a “perfect” photo at your hometown baseball game might not be as easy as you thought. Maybe you aren’t capturing the emotion of the sport or maybe you aren’t closing in on the action, either way here are some tips and tricks to capture the moment.
-Get as close to the action as you can
No matter if you are in a big stadium or at the corner sandlot try to fill the frame with your subject rather than the surroundings. Get close! Yes, this might seem difficult, but you may not have to physically be close. You can always try using a longer lens on your camera to fill the frame. For most of the time a 200mm lens (or an 80-200mm zoom) will probably be just fine. However, unless you have professional gear, the maximum aperture of your 200mm lens is probably around f/4.5. This is not very fast so you may not be able to shoot as a fast-enough shutter speed to stop the action. Also try to shoot in the sun instead of the shade because then your lens should work just fine without having to have a professional one. Beside the lens you use always try to be where your view will be unobstructed. We all know when a big play happens that would make for a great shot people will stand up and cheer. Instead of your camera focusing in on the play the camera will focus on the person head in front of you. Don’t forget even if you can’t get great shots during the game sometimes you can get just as good of photos from before the game and there will be less people around.
Photograph Courtesy of Michigan State Athletic Communications
-Show the ball in your photos
An action photo is much more effective when you can see the ball. If you can see the ball in the image of an outfielder trying to capture a fly ball you get the feel of the fielder’s concentration in the image. You don’t always have to see the ball in the imagine feeling emotions. If you take a photo of the teammates in the dugout while a big play happens you will be sure to see excitement on everyone’s face. Other shots the work well without showing the ball is a runner sliding into a base.
Photograph by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
-Use a fast ISO setting on your camera
What is the best ISO for taking baseball photos? ISO 800 is good, 1600 is better, and 3200 is even better. You want to use the fastest possible shutter speed to stop the action
-Anticipate where the action will be
You won’t always be able to capture the perfect shot each time and that is just fine. However, trying to anticipate where the action will be will help. You should aim your camera at the point where you think the action will be next. For example, if the subject is the batter, try to get as close as you can to the batter’s box, so you have a good angle to capture that mighty swing. You could also try getting close to first base to shot after the batter connects with the ball. Another thing to think about is the exposure. Your will have to make changes to your settings depending on if the action is in the sun or the shade. When shooting in the sun it will allow for the fastest possible shutter-speed to be used to freeze the action.
Photograph by Marc Estrada
One thing to always remember is to enjoy the moment while shooting photography! Your image is a frozen moment in time that will live on because you captured it.