The secret is out. I want to be a photographer when I grow up. I am a soccer mom with a camera.
And I'm finding there are at least three main ingredients to great soccer shots.
First you need the technical know-how to shoot action. You need to know your way around your camera. You need a fast shutter speed. And you need to learn to use your auto focus to track a moving subject.
That one, my friends, is going to be the death of me. But since I spend about half my life at the soccer fields, I have a lot of time to practice. And I'm just going to practice, practice, practice, until I get it right.
All that said, this is not a post about technical skills.
Second, you need the right equipment. At the very least, you need a DSLR camera and a zoom lens.
But this is not a post about camera gear.
The last ingredient is often overlooked. To get great youth soccer pics, you need to come out of the box (soccer pun intended) and take interesting shots. That's what this post is all about.
Standing in the same place on the sidelines for the entire game and shooting the action from the side will result in boring soccer photos. Trust me. I know. My computer is full of boring soccer photos.
To get interesting soccer photos, you have to get moving.
Walk around and shoot from different angles. Sit down ( or even lie down, if you dare) for better results.
And while you're on the move, try to get the following 12 shots. They'll infuse your regular soccer photos with variety and fresh perspective. They'll help you tell the story.
1. Tell the story from the beginning by shooting the arrival at the fields.
2. Shoot the warm up drills.
3. Get the money shots during the warm up drills. Money shots are those frame-able action shots that make the player look like a superstar. The kind parents would pay real money for. Now while the kids do all these amazing moves in the real game, they are easy to miss, and often, other players run in front of your camera right as you press the shutter. The next three photos were shot during warm-ups.
4. Don't forget the pre-game rituals. They help tell the story.
5. Get a shot from behind the net. How cool is that!
6. Get the ball in as many photos as possible. In soccer, the action is always where the ball is! Extra points for the ball in the air.
6. Shoot the action from behind as they run away from you. This easy shot shows off the numbers on the backs of their jerseys.
7. Shoot water breaks.
8. Shoot the pep talks.
9. Shoot the celebration when they score.
10. Shake things up by shooting a portrait of a non-playing sibling with the action in the background. Siblings spend a lot of time at the fields. They are part of the story. (This is my adopted son, Wenxin. You can read his story here and find out more about older child adoption here.)
11. Shoot their feet. Soccer cleats are colorful and fun. Don't forget to zoom in for some close-ups of the ball at their feet.
12. Shoot the post game handshakes and high fives.
Soccer moms with cameras, what other "must have" shots should I add to this list?