Get out there and photograph some sports

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This time of year is big for sports. Soccer, lacrosse, track and field, baseball; you name it, it’s going on outside right now. 

I'm fortunate because this is my offseason from wedding photography and I get a chance to watch my kids play. If your children are small like mine, there’s something fresh and new to look forward to each year. And the best way I know of to be supportive of my children’s activities is to do what I already love to do. Take pictures. 

It’s a familiar scene: I show up at Discovery Field for my son’s soccer game, or at El Pomar for my daughter’s lacrosse game, with my folding chair in one hand and my long lens in the other.
 
Have you ever photographed children’s sports? If you have, then you know it’s not that easy to take great action pictures. 

Here are some quick tips I’ve found helpful in taking pictures at sporting events: 

Come with the right equipment, if you can. I enjoy photographing with a long lens. It gives that "Sports Illustrated" look to the pictures. When you see a great baseball picture, notice how the background falls out of focus. That is the effect of a long lens: isolating the subject of your picture and eliminating distracting elements in the background. 

Now, new DSLR cameras usually have a longish lens on them, but I really suggest a lens that offers you at least 200 mm or better. If you don't have one,  you can rent one or, of course, there are plenty of local retailers to help you find one that works for you and your camera.

Long lens too expensive, you say? 

If you don’t want to go the long lens route, here’s a second tip for better sports pictures: Get closer. You don’t have to sit in the stands to take pictures at your kids’ games. Walk around the field a little bit, just don’t be a distraction. At a baseball game, for instance, I like to stand near third base and shoot the batter as well as any runner on second. At a soccer game, I like to be in one corner of the field. The ball typically ends up closest to me there. 

What if you sit with the coach and the players and make candid portraits as they come on and off the field? You certainly don’t need a long lens for that. The point is you have options when it comes to getting closer shots without a long lens. 

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

My son, Harper, has such a spirit when he plays soccer. He’s seven years old and coming into a time when skills are getting better but the game is still a joy. His intensity is contagious. I want to be just like him.

In the first image, I’ve made a compelling action shot as he passes the ball to his teammates. Below, I caught him goofing around on the sidelines after a goal. 

SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton

When the games begin keep these tips with you, get out there and and capture some great moments.

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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