Fall is a magical time of year that almost seems custom-made for photography. The sun isn’t as harsh, the colors of fall nearly burst from the seams and everywhere you look a picture is begging to be taken. More so, it’s a time when you start to think about photographing your child’s sporting events.

You don’t have to have a professional rig with a telephoto lens to take great photos of your child and their team. Just keep a few tips in mind and you will be shooting like a pro.

Watch the sun

Photography is all about capturing the right amount of light, so it’s important to be aware of the sun’s position and where it is in relation to the action. While fall tends to be more overcast, you will still have to contend with the harsh rays of the sun at times. This is especially true at midday, when the sun is at its highest and most direct point in the sky. Of course, the magic hour is always the one after the sun rises and before it sets, but since you can’t schedule the games around your photography schedule you will have to learn how to adjust.

Always try to keep your back to the sun when shooting your pics. Trying to photograph your little (or big) athletes against the sun as a backdrop will result in either completely blown out, over exposed photos or merely dark silhouettes against a bright backdrop. Neither one is great for sports photography. By putting your back to the sun you will have a much easier time getting the right exposure levels for everything in the picture.

Shoot in the right mode

Almost every camera has a dial or selector of some kind that indicates the mode you are shooting in. These aren’t just fun selections, they are very helpful tools for getting better shots. For instance you may find a flower icon, which means macro mode. Macro shots are those beautiful close up shots you usually see with certain animals and flowers that seem to catch every detail. You don’t want to use this mode for anything else though, because it is for a certain situation.

Instead look for your sports mode, which is usually an icon of a person running. This mode allows for quick shots with a higher shutter speed (how fast the camera catches the picture). This is incredibly useful for motion shots and following the action.

Follow the action

Now that you are aware of your light conditions and shooting in the right mode, the last thing is pretty simple. Move around. If you take every photo from the stands in the same position, every photo will come out the same. You need to get up and move around if you can. Get as close as you can to capture the moments you can’t see from the bleachers.

Also, don’t keep your camera still unless you want your player to be a blur. A trick of sports photographers is to “lead” or follow with your camera. Anticipate the action and if you are shooting a moving object, then you need to be moving too. Pivot the camera to keep your viewfinder on the player or ball while you take the shot. This will keep them in focus while putting everything else in a blur. It’s a great effect you’ve seen plenty of times, and now you know how to do it!

Wrapping up

Now that you know some of the basics to shooting fall sports, you are on your way to creating stunning keepsakes of a time that goes by too fast. Plus, the higher quality the shots you take, the more stunning they can look after editing.

Photo editing (also known as retouching or post-production) is where great photos are taken to a whole other level. And, by using a professional photo editor you can turn your photographs into something truly worthy of framing.

What do you think?

Which tip do you think will help you the most? Do you have other tips for casual photographers of kids sports? Share in the comments below!