Editor’s Note: Rob’s latest KelbyOne course, Everyday Sports Photography with Your iPhone, gets you close to the action with your camera phone. This guest post from 2014 covers a lot of photography basics that, in combination with the lessons in his class, will have you well on your way to some amazing images!
Hello everyone, my name is Rob Foldy and I am a sports photographer. I am extremely humbled that Brad and Scott would ask me write this post for you all and I am excited to share with you some of the things I have learned thus far in my career and how I have been able to put them into practice. I like how Scott tends to break things down in his writings into “bite size pieces,” so I’m going to attempt to do the same. Most of the things I’m about to share apply to sports photography, but I think most of these tips and tricks can be used in almost all types of photography.
I tend to be long winded and go on lots of tangents, so I’m attempting to really reign myself in and only focus on one topic for this post: making a different photo than the other photographers.
This is important for all styles of photography, but especially true in sports where often times there are many photographers trying to take pictures of the same things. What will make your photos stand out? What will make a client want yours instead of theirs? What will make yours the best?
I’ve read lots of books and articles, watched lots of videos, and talked to lots of photographers whose work I admire in an attempt to try and make my photos better. Here are a few tips that have really stuck with me, and things I try to remember every time I go out:
Get Your Camera In A Different Place
It’s the first tip, in the first chapter, in the first book I read, Joe McNally’s The Moment It Clicks, when I decided to get serious about my photography. Like Joe said, chances are, the picture you’re thinking about has already been made, so how do you make it different? One way is to get your camera somewhere else. This may mean getting a perspective from above, lying on the ground, through a tree, with a remote camera, a longer lens, shorter lens, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, at most sporting events there are at least 5 photographers (if not 200) standing in the same place trying to make a picture. How do you make a different picture? It’s often simple: go somewhere else.
Getting Down: The Low-Angle
This one is from Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography. It’s so basic, yet so few people do it: LAY DOWN. You may get dirty, so what? Go home, throw your clothes in the laundry and take a shower! You probably already smell from working the event anyway. Now, this isn’t something you usually want for portraits, but getting a lower angle makes your subjects appear bigger and gives them a “larger than life” quality. Additionally, it cleans up your backgrounds and makes your photos look more dynamic than the photographer standing or kneeling next to you. (Side note: a higher perspective will also get very clean backgrounds, and nice light can make for interesting shadows. But, be careful that your photos still look professional from those angles, as it’s very easy to have them start looking like fan photos taken from the bleachers). (more…)