Moms are so busy that it’s hard to have time to plan every little detail of shooting a soccer game that their child is playing in. After you rush home from work or have had a busy stay at home mom day, it’s hard to remember everything when jetting off to soccer games. Here are 5 great tips for taking soccer pictures that will really help the busy Mom on the go.
#1 Be Prepared!
The night before the game make sure to check that your battery is charged. You don’t want to take your camera out and be ready to shoot only to find that you forgot to charge the battery last time you used it and it’s now almost dead or is dead. Also, check your SD card. Is it full? Is it close to full? It’s a good idea to upload those pictures to your computer and start with one that has a lot of memory. Again, you don’t want to get to the game and find out you only have room for a few pictures because you forgot to format your memory card. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare memory card in your purse or car just to be on the safe side. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere and forgotten to make sure my memory card had enough room on it and had to either run and buy one or stop shooting when I really didn’t want to. Don’t let this happen to you!
#2 Which Lens Do I Bring?
You will want to bring your longest lens or the one with the highest zoom to get all that action. You should have a lens starting at least at 200mm for shots that are further down the field. You want to be able to get some detail in the faces without having to be right by them. I have a 70-300mm lens (check out these: Canon, Nikon) and it does a great job of getting close up shots from the sidelines and it didn’t break my budget. If most of your games will be in the day, you don't need a “fast” lens (one that is f/2.8 throughout), so look for one with the zoom range and an aperture of f/4 or 5.6 is just fine. If the games are at night, you will need the faster lens, but it will be a lot more expensive.
#3 Think Candid!
Some of the best shots are those that are unplanned. Don’t focus only on getting the great action shots. Before the game, try to get some shots of the kids stretching on the field or practicing. A few shots of kids talking to each other or the coach having a huddle. The personal photos are always my favorite. Also, take time to scan the audience. Look for other parents who are cheering, the chest bump at mid-field, the grandma sitting on the sidelines, the younger sibling imitating the players, maybe even a pet is watching his “owner” out there running around.
#4 Be Mobile
Standing in one spot is not going to get all the shots you want to get. Think about the field where your child will be playing. Can you get close to the goal without interrupting the game? Can you move around the sidelines easily? Where do you want to get the majority of your shots? Thinking about this in advance will save you some time and stress once you get there. Think about getting down low for some cool shots of the ball and their feet too, not every picture has to be of a face. Be creative! Of course you do want some of those shots that show off your kids skills on the field. Which leads me to tip number 5.
#5 On the Field
Auto doesn’t quite cut it when shooting sports. You may get some good shots but chances are you will also catch a lot of blur in parts of your photos. The action in a soccer game is fast and the kids are back and forth all over the field so it’s important to have your camera ready to catch the action. A fast shutter speed is definitely needed to capture those quick kicks and head butts. A good place to start on your camera is a shutter speed of 1/250 and to keep checking and adjusting. Refer to the triangle of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. It’s going to depend a lot on the weather and where the sun is. Burst mode is also a feature on almost all DSLR’s that will take several pictures in a row during those times of intense footwork. When things are happening really fast, it’s a good idea to use this feature to capture what otherwise may be missed.
I hope you enjoyed the tips and if you have any others to share, please feel free to comment below. Most importantly, don't be so focused on photography that you forget to enjoy the game 🙂