RESEARCHING THE SPORT
If you have never photographed a particular sport,
prepare yourself by conducting research. Go to the
library and read upon the sport, and if possible, watch
a game or two (either on television or one played by
local teams). Understanding basic strategies, rules and
plays will help you capture the important moments of
When you plan phorographic coverage of sporting
events, you should keep in mind the two main areas of
action and people.
Physical activity is the key ingredient of a sports
photograph. Your photograph should not be static
sports action must take place. For instance, in football,
the running back might break a tackle, the quarterback
release a long pass and the linebacker make a
sensational, back-breaking tackle. In baseball, the
power forward might take the ball to the rim, the center
slam-dunk his points home and the shooting guard drain
a three-pointer. In softball/baseball, the extra hitter
(designated hitter) could send an 0-2 pitch over the
fence, the base runner tag up at second and go to third
or the shortstop make a sensational diving stop in the
Regardless of the sport, the point is that you must
know and consider the sport you are photographing in
order to key in on the action that sells that sport. You
must anticipate the action and squeeze the shutter a split
second before the receiver catches the football. By
anticipating the play, you can capture the reception,
rather than what happened immediately after the catch.
Shoot plenty of film when you cover sports. Often
a shot you think will be good turns out to be unusable,
while one you think you missed will run on the first page
of the sports section.
Amateur Navy athletes are personalities within their
communities. Your audience enjoys reading about them
and seeing their photographs in your newspaper.
Because the players are personalities, you should
photograph them so they can be recognized in the
The best sports photographs identify key players.
Identifying the players means presenting the athlete
from a profile to full-frontal view, if possible, to show
the number on his uniform. A three-quarter to
full-frontal view is best but is not always available.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR
Each sport has some peculiarities you must consider
when you cover it. In the following text are some tips
that will help you cover the big three sports
softball/baseball, football and basketball.
If you make the proper arrangements with the
base/station sports director, you can take photographs
on the field in foul ground. However, as a courtesy, you
should still ask the home plate umpire for permission.
Photograph left-handed hitters from the third-base
side; conversely, right-handed hitters are best covered
from the first-base side. You should shoot right-handed
pitchers from the third-base side and left-handed
pitchers from the first-base side. In softball, both left-
and right-handed pitchers throw the ball while facing
home plate, so you can shoot on the other side of the
backstop or from directly behind home plate.
Home plate action is best shot from the third-base
side of the field. Exercise caution, though. If you get in
the way, you will probably be unwelcome at future
Get a variety of angles by moving around go up
in the stands, lie on the ground look over a shoulder or
use any other creative angle that will not interfere with
Because you may need to photograph key plays on
the opposite side of the field from where you are
standing, be sure to use lenses with a long focal length
If you are covering your station or base football
team, stay on that teams side of the field and follow the
action from that location. (In an assignment where you
are covering both teams equally, you may move to the
other sideline at the appropriate time.) Move up and
down the field with the action and photograph the
players as they run, pass, kick tackle and score.
Football photography focuses on the offensive and
defensive lines and the star players making or breaking