How to shoot a sports portrait in minutes
Shot for http://ift.tt/M24X8m
Two types of speed were the most important factors in making this picture.
The film speed (the ISO, in case you haven’t shot much film) and the speed in which I could physically pound the shutter button to get this job done.
It was their last training session before their grand final, so Coach told me not to muck around.
Which was fine by me, the light was dropping so fast that I didn’t want to muck around either.
When I’m under pressure I always like to nail down things down one at a time.
1) Work out what’s going on. Combine the instructions on the job sheet with what the talent is telling you. (You wouldn’t believe how often the two differ.)
2) Make a compromise and make friends. There is ALWAYS a point where what YOU want to do and what THEY want to do meet to produce a kick-ass picture. Burning people for the sake of your vision might get you a nice picture … but pretty soon your reputation will precede you and nobody is gonna want you let you take their picture.
3) Tell them you’ll call them when you’re ready. Sort your picture, get it practiced, and know that it’s going to work BEFORE you get the talent in. I wanted to use my 70-200mm lens to compress that background and tasty sunset, so I knew I wanted a shutter speed about 1/200th, so I wouldn’t get a blurry result from camera shake.
An aperture of f4 is my usual starting point as it it is a bit forgiving on a Canon 1D Mark IV’s eccentric autofocus, so, with those values locked in Manual, I just walked the ISO up until the ambient light looked good.
4) Dial those settings into your back-up/other camera. (I did so to my other Mark IV with the wide lens on it.)
All that done, you’re ready, and you haven’t wasted anyone’s time.
I asked Coach to please send over talent, and grabbed a bystander to hold my flash just out of frame on camera-right. I think the flash was actually on E-TTL high-speed sync for once — and it popped the right amount of light on the players.
I ripped through plenty of frames in landscape and portrait orientations, and varied the shutter speed on a couple to quite slow and quite fast to either brighten or darken the background ambient light so the sub-editors would have a few options.
I then ran in close and ripped through a bunch of frames on my wide-angle lens, just in case, but, this was my favourite of the bunch.
I dunno if I helped them win the grand final, but by being calm and fast, I doubt I hurt their chances.