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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 17 Jan 2006 (Tuesday) 04:25
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Soccer (Football) Shooting Strategies

 
rcanzano
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Jan 17, 2006 04:25 |  #1

I've been shooting my daughter's soccer games lately and am wondering if anyone has succesfull shooting stategies. In other words how do you get the shots you get. Where on the field is it best to be? Do you follow the ball and snap at whatever is happening? Do you focus in on a certain player and wait for something interesting.

I recently purchased the 100-400 beast and find it difficult to follow action when zoomed in and as action comes close zooming out and getting shots, especially if the action comes close to my sideline and the widest I can go is 100.

Just looking for some suggestionsto help narrow things down and focus in instead of the "shotgunning" I'm doing now.

What do you do, and how do you do it?


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mnfinnkidd
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Jan 17, 2006 05:01 |  #2

Well if you're using a 100-400 lense you just have to live with that you can only go to 100mm wide. My professionals just have a wider angle lense around their neck waiting if action comes closer to them. Well since most of us don't have the kind of cash to just have two nice d-camera sitting around. It's usually not an option.

Just to give it to you. Sports photography is kind of a crap shoot, so shotgunning is kind of the best approach. Many professionals probably have about 30/40% of there photos in focus and of something good. You have a digital camera. Your film is more or less free. So use it.

As for what to follow, the ball is always a good choice. But also better players can make better shots. So if you know it's likely that the star is going to get the ball and take this amazing shot around the goalie..follow her for a while. Or just follow players of focus(mainly your daughter, i'm assuming for you).

Where to be on the field. I'm a fan being in that area beyond the backline of the side that your team is trying to score on. You can get some amazing facial expressions. But there's some limitations with how far into the field you can go and how close they can come..you could always back up to allow for the telephoto of yours to work. I think the key is to keep moving. Keep trying. You may miss a shot...but you may also get one that you wouldn't have if you hadn't moved around.

That's what i got. Well I don't shoot soccer (yet..) so you know but i do shoot rugby which i figured was pretty equivelant for you....


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earplugsrequired
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Jan 17, 2006 05:11 as a reply to  @ mnfinnkidd's post |  #3

I used to shoot soccer and used to always be in the area on the end of the field, you know behind the goal area. I would try to position myself about halfway between the goal and the corner to give a chance to get shots of both spots.We would change sides when our team changed sides. Almost everyone had a second camera with them for the closer shots.

The best advice is to follow the ball. Knowing the game and the team helps in planning ahead. Many great photos are all in the timing.




  
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gmen
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Jan 17, 2006 06:45 |  #4

I recently posted a few thoughts on shooting football here:

http://www.photography​-on-the.net …p?p=1008779&pos​tcount=175

Hopefully that will be of some interest.

EDIT: I would add that sports photography shouldn't really be a crap shoot :lol: With some planning and the correct settings, you should be able to maximise your 'keepers'. It's unwise to shoot everything that moves in the hope that you'll get a good pic... at the very least, it'll just mean that you'll have to spend a whole lot more time editing as you try to weed out the good shots. There's no harm in shooting at 8fps or 5fps, but your bursts of shooting should be focused bursts rather than random machine-gunning ;) Most importantly, the first frame of your sequence needs to be timed well, otherwise you'll miss the real peak action...

---- Gavin


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nicmo
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Jan 17, 2006 10:56 as a reply to  @ gmen's post |  #5

I like shooting soccer about 5-10 feet off either side of the corners with the action coming at you. I tend to get more of the face and expressions with being in those potions.


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gmen
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Jan 17, 2006 11:02 as a reply to  @ nicmo's post |  #6

nicmo wrote:
I like shooting soccer about 5-10 feet off either side of the corners with the action coming at you. I tend to get more of the face and expressions with being in those potions.

Welcome aboard nicmo! Hope you enjoy yourself at POTN... the sports forum is a busy old place... so looking forward to seeing some of your pics!

In fact, before I veer off rcanzano'a topic, it might be an idea for the football (hmmm... soccer) shooters here to post some pics in this thread to show how the different angles/strategies work for them ;)

The proof of the pudding is in the seeing :lol: I'll add a couple of pics a bit later on.

---- Gavin


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nicmo
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Jan 17, 2006 13:24 as a reply to  @ gmen's post |  #7

Gman, Thanks for the welcome and suggestion! Here are a few pix that demonstrate the shooting angle I was suggesting. Both shots were from the corners from a standing position. Both shots were using an f/2.8 70-200, but the second one I also used a x2 converter.




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rcanzano
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Jan 17, 2006 13:30 |  #8

Thanks for all the info so far, I really appreciate it. gmen, great article.

Well, it seems I'm doing what you suggest. I've been pretty much hanging around the backline of the opposing teams goal. My daughter's team, at least so far this year, have been doing well and the ball is rarely on their side of the field. I realize it'll take more practice to get better, but I appreciate the comments. It helps to confirm what I was doing is right. I just need to boost my keeper rate. In two games I took something like 300 shots and only had about 20 that I liked.

Here's a few. . . . .


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rcanzano
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Jan 17, 2006 13:31 |  #9

2 more


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rcanzano
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Jan 17, 2006 13:32 |  #10

and the last


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gmen
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Jan 17, 2006 14:44 |  #11

Some great shots there guys!

OK... So as promised here's a random selection of pics from slightly different angles:

From the sidelines, about 20 yards down from the half-way line at 420mm (300mm + 1.4x)...

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Again from the sidelines at 420mm, right on the half-way line. This might also be one good example of why it's not always a good idea to zoom out...

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Something in the goal area, taken from behind the goal-line just outside the 18-yard box with the 70-200mm...

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Again from behind the goal-line at 600mm (300mm +2x), a celebration at the far end of the pitch...

IMAGE NOT FOUND
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From the same game and the same position at 420mm...

IMAGE NOT FOUND
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From adjacent to the corner flag at 420mm, diagonally across the pitch...

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Another reason I often like to shoot from the sidelines, the manager shot..

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Also, bear in mind that when players celebrate a goal they often run away from the visiting fans behind the goal ;)...

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Like I said, just a random selection of pics. I think I favour the sideline view as it opens up the opportunites, particularly if you have access to 300mm+ glass. It's just a matter of style I suppose... but I've also been sat behind the goal for a full 45 minutes and not managed a half-decent pic because all the action has been at the other end :lol:

Did I mention that the sideline view makes for great shots of the goalie as well (at 300mm)?...


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In all honesty, football provides stacks of great images from the sidelines, from the corners or from behind the goals... Just remember to keep both eyes open ;)

---- Gavin

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rcanzano
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Jan 17, 2006 15:46 |  #12

Wow. Once again great stuff there. I realize too that there is no good background at the field they play at. It's either cars, or a big tin shed, or another field or just more ugly grass and dirt. Their games are always just before sunset, so I can only shoot from one side of the field.

You have some great backgrounds on your shots.


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gmen
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Jan 17, 2006 15:52 as a reply to  @ rcanzano's post |  #13

rcanzano wrote:
You have some great backgrounds on your shots.

You can try to pick your spot to provide the best possible backgrounds... however, that's not always possible as the play isn't necessarily going to happen where you want it to!

The only way of minimising the background distraction is to try to minimise your DoF - i.e. make sure you're filling the frame and shoot wide open. If the subject is a bit too far away, even at a long focal length, the background can be intrusive... and as soon as you start to stop your lens down, you're asking for trouble :lol:

From the pics you've posted you're well on the way there. One suggestion would also be to shoot from a lower angle, sitting or kneeling... that can help increase the impact of the images as the players loom that little bit larger.

---- Gavin


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Lisa ­ F
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Jan 18, 2006 18:16 |  #14

Gavin,

you have to be by far the best soccer photog out there. The images you get are just STUNNING!!! i aspire to shoot like that. just got my 70-200mm, my little guy is playing U9 competitive travel and when he moves up in age, field size grow, so hopefully will my lens!!(and expertice!)

Our soccer coach is a 21 yr old from Manchester. Stevie Schard. Love him and he is Super with the kids!

Could look at your pics all day! If I am ever in your neck of the woods I am going to call you to go out with you on a shoot one day kay??

Lisa


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MTalley
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Jan 18, 2006 19:11 |  #15

Can't agree with gmen more about timing your first shot well if you are going to try to capture several images in rapid succession. Trying to use the (aguably) 2.5 fps of my 300D has taught me to just try to time single shots well. Though I keep the camera in burst mode, I usually just take single images about 98% of the time.

I also agree that staying down low works best for the younger children. I've been known to lay on the ground to get some interesting effects with the U6 crowd, especially. Here's an example.

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Also, instead of potentially fighting camera settings, use Av mode and set the aperture to the maximum aperture (smallest number) of your lens and leave it there. Adjust ISO, if needed, to keep shutter speeds between about 1/500th and the maximum shutter speed your camera supports (on mine - 1/4000th).

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