Photographed a NCAA football game over the weekend and wanted to do a review/ self critique of the photos. Overall Im happy with the photos but Im disappointed with myself at the same time because I know I can do better. Not to make excuses but Im still getting used to the D500 and 200-400 f4 for sports and on top of that I haven't photographed football in well over a year.
There are a few key things that I look for in a good sports photo that can either make or break a photo. Ill be going over these points in more detail in a future video. The key points are:
1) Backgrounds. You want a clean/ non distracting background. Now this isn't always possible depending on where you're shooting but you want to walk around and find a spot that will give you the best background. Nobody wants a photograph that has a porta-potty in the background when you could have walked to the other sideline and got a clean shot of trees.
2) Horizons. This is my biggest pet peeve in photography in general. Sports are played on flat fields so your photographs should reflect that. Players shouldn't be running up or down hill because the photograph is slanted. This is easy corrected in any post processing software.
3) Action. You want to get good action shots (obviously) but theres more than just action on the field. There's also action off the field with coaches, players, and fans. Action shots should be able to tell a story and stand on their own. You want photographs where when someone looks at it they aren't confused as to whats happening in the image without reading a caption.
4) Faces. Faces show emotions and expressions. Both are key in storytelling (which is what you are as a photographer). If you can't see the face you can't tell the whole story. Now again this isn't always possible so this isn't a deal breaker. However you should try your best to capture the emotions and expressions of everyone (players, coaches, fans). A shot of someone looking bored will make the viewer bored.
Check out the video above to see some of the photos I took.