Soccer is a very active type of sport and this is the reason why it’s not easy to take photos during the match. Thus, if you don’t know much about soccer photography, it will be difficult for you to get dynamic and sharp pictures from the first try.
If you want to learn more and boost skills in this type of photography, check the following guide.
Sports-related images are very challenging to take and getting a decent soccer photo is even harder. Here, I will share some useful tips using which you will be able to take eye-catching pictures of a youth competition.
First of all, you have to know a lot about soccer, down to details. This will help you understand the main points of the match that you are going to shoot.
Thus, you will have more chances to take nice soccer action shots. Watch several soccer matches before a photoshoot and you will understand how it works.
Photographers tend to press one eye to the viewfinder and close another one, but you should avoid doing this if you specialize in soccer photography. In this situation, you need to keep both your eyes open not to miss an important moment.
Don’t stay at the same place. Move to other spots from time to time in order to catch interesting moments. However, don’t try to move from place to place every 5 minutes because you will get tired quickly.
All you have to do is to shoot from different angles, height, and sides of the field. As a result, you will end up with diverse and impressive pictures.
In soccer photography, a correct shooting position is a key factor. On a soccer field, you need to stay either in the corners of the field and the sideline in the center. From these spots, you can capture the best moments of the match in full glory.
In order to get nice shots, of course, you should invest in a DSLR camera because a point and shoot camera or a smartphone aren’t really suitable for this task.
Your expenses may reach up to $500 or more (it depends on your demands), but they are results are worth money spent.
Remember to bring several spare memory cards and batteries. A soccer match lasts 90 minutes or a bit longer and you have just one break when you can change your gear to keep on photographing.
If you typically use 15-55 mm lenses or similar ones, you will have to put them aside as they will not be effective enough to shoot a soccer match. Try using a longer lens because the length of the lens is important and contributes to the quality of photos.
If you use a long lens, you can capture players in more detail. For better results consider working with telephoto lenses from 200 mm to 400 mm.
Lenses longer than these may be a bit too tight on the field if you aren’t going to take pictures of the players on the other side of the field.
Teleconverter can also help you take good soccer game pictures. This equipment enables you to increase the focal length of the lens and as a result, see movements of the players closer. However, don’t forget that teleconverters increase aberration and can compromise the fastest apertures and focus speeds you use.
Also, consider taking a monopod with you to reduce camera shake and get full freedom of movement. Such a device is also of great help if you use heavy lenses during the photoshoot.
In this case, the lens gets attached to the monopod not a camera. Many professional sports photographers use this technique while taking soccer game pictures.
However, be careful and ask for permission to use a monopod in advance not to have any problems, because sometimes photographers are not allowed to use monopods at the stadiums.
A small camping chair is another essential thing that you should bring with you to the stadium. It is difficult to stand for more than 90 minutes so this stool will be really helpful. Also, if you sit, you will be closer to the ground so there will be less field in the shot.
Soccer is a very active game with plenty of movements. In order to take pictures of moving players and avoid blur, you need to use a fast shutter speed.
Don’t forget that the faster the player is, the higher the shutter speed should be. Start with the minimum value of 1/800 second and adapt it according to the speed of the player.
To get catchy soccer action shots, you have to work in manual mode. It will minimize camera shake and “freeze” movements in your pictures.
However, if you decide to shoot at a slower shutter speed, you can get amazing photos too. For this, you can start from 1/30.
The aperture regulates the amount of light hitting the sensor of the camera and the depth of field in every photo. If you want to take a soccer action shot of one layer, it’s better to use f/2.8 as it separates the player from the rest of the team and surrounding stadium.
If you are photographing a few players and want them all to look sharp in one shot, use a smaller aperture (a larger number of f).
F/4 is perfect because you will get a slight increase in the depth of field and shutter speed will not be damaged.
ISO adjusts the brightness of exposure. To get quality soccer pictures, use ISO from 100 to 800. Based on what shutter speed and aperture you have, you can set ISO 400 if you are shooting at daytime and ISO 800 for poor light conditions. Be careful not to overdo it as the ISO value adds digital noise to pictures if it’s too high.
Burst mode is a special mode in your camera where a few pictures are shot in a fast sequence. This mode is considered to be a mode for sports photoshoots because using it, photographers can capture all the movements of players without missing important parts of the match.
In this mode, you have more chances to get dynamic photos. Therefore, you don’t have to rely solely on your reflexes to capture an interesting moment.
The right autofocus is very important for getting nice soccer game pictures. You take photos of moving players and you want them to be sharp. That’s why the best way to do it is to use AI-Servo in Canon or AF-C in Nikon since it tracks movements.
Having chosen the settings, half-press the shutter and point the camera at a moving player. Then build the composition of your future photo and fully press the shutter drive to shoot.
If you have your shutter speed at 1/1000 second, you will manage to avoid blur and take a wonderful soccer action shot when a player performs a “bicycle kick” and kicks a ball over his head.
Consider taking pictures of soccer fans, who always have bright clothing and banners. To get stunning pictures, shoot the fans and capture their emotions instead of players during a very exciting moment of the match.
The best place to take good soccer pictures is the center of the field and if you want to take great soccer action shots, pay close attention to the ball and follow it.
Use continuous focus mode to track a moving player. In order to get multiple shots, work in continuous shooting mode and hold the shutter button as long as you need.
Focusing on one particular player is one of the best soccer photography ideas. You can take a photo of him during the match or while he’s overwhelmed with emotions after something exciting or important happened on the field.
For such pictures, a 300 mm lens is a perfect match. Besides, if you want to take a photo at the training site, you may use a tripod or monopod and have more stability for shooting.
The photo of the whole team with their coach is an obligatory part of each match. Place them in two rows – a standing one and the one on their knees so that everyone is visible. Use a 35mm lens and check that you can see everyone’s face.
Another good variant of soccer photography ideas is taking photos from behind the goalkeeper. There won’t be constant movement here, however, you can wait until the ball approaches the goal and then take a nice picture.
Set the lens focus mode to AF (Autofocus) and choose continuous focusing mode in order to automatically refocus the lens on the movements of the player.
It’s very important to take photos of the team’s celebration. You can capture a goal, a finished half or a match won. These moments show and evoke genuine emotions.
Another way to capture sincere emotions of the players is to shoot them during arguments, when they get injured or violate the rules. These moments will provide really expressive shots.
Another nice idea for soccer photography is to shoot the players’ fight for ball possession which is an integral part of every match. That’s why you are likely to get a qualitative and interesting photo.
Shooting soccer players and their emotions after a lost match can bring you wonderful results. Not worse than pictures of players, who won. Both these types of photos will be very genuine and show true feelings, which will make a photo special.
One more idea for getting nice soccer action shots is to shot players while they are fighting for the ball possession in the air with their heads. Usually, such moments result in unique and impressive pictures with epic facial expressions and a powerful game of these two players.
Soccer can be played in different places such as stadiums, closed rooms, sports grounds, open fields, streets, etc. and this makes this type of sports special. When doing soccer photography, don’t forget to capture the location where the match is held. Take some pictures of details such as net, ball, equipment, terrain, etc. Such pictures will show the atmosphere of the match and highlight your style.
Try these presets and overlays to improve your soccer photos in several clicks.
Using this preset, you can add a muted film effect to your photo. It will look soft with pastel greens and medium grain.
The main feature of these presets is that they desaturate retouched pictures and make them more contrasted. The light areas of your photos become warmer and while dark parts acquire blue tones. With these presets, your photos will look fantastic.
This overlay will come in handy if you want to make your picture more intense and dramatic. It adds metal scratches and scuffs effect to the background and keeps the person in your picture intact.
Use this overlay for promotional images with a plain background and full emphasize on a model. You will get qualitative, bright and saturated photos.
These presets will help you perform fast white balance correction. They affect saturation and turn too bright and saturated tones into soft and gentle ones.