Photographing a sports event is not an easy job. Other than requiring some good gear, you need to be quick and methodical in order to get the perfect shot every time. You also need to have a clear understanding of the basics of photography and your camera so that you can be ready to take the photo at the right time.
Sports photographers have to be vigilant and perfectly focused during a game. It’s important that you don’t let the loud crowds, blazing fast action, and a million distractions get to you if you are covering something like baseball or football. However, I find it even harder to cover the kinds of sports that require a lot of patience and quiet, on the part of both the players and the spectators. One such kind of sport, the one that I am enthusiastic about, is golf.
Let’s take a look at some of my most important tips if you ever want to shoot a golfing event like a pro.
First, Respect the Game
Golf is a sport that requires the players to focus. Before each hit, they need to have a clear mind if they want to make the hole. You can then understand why it’s important for a photographer to stay out of the players’ way as much as possible. It doesn’t help a player to have a camera flash lighting up his face while he’s swinging his club.
In order to keep maintain my presence at the course to a minimum, I tend to stay at an arm’s length from the ropes. I also try my best to stay out of the players’ line of sight. It’s better to change the angle of your shot a little than to be a distraction to the golfer.
Another important thing to remember is to stay in your position until everyone in the group has taken their shot. Just because the player you are currently focusing on has taken the shot doesn’t mean that every player is done with theirs. It’s better to be patient than become the reason for someone mishitting.
Next, Understand How to Take a Photo
Now that we have the ethical side of golf photography out of the way, let’s see how you can improve your photos:
- Angles are the Key:
One of the most important things to keep in mind while shooting a golf game is the angle of your shot. Make sure that everything that contributes to the particular image you’re taking is in the frame. If you are trying to capture a player’s hit, it could help to ensure that both the player and the flag are in your frame.
- Try to get some Height:
A golf course, other than being a battlefield amongst players, is a work of art. The flowing lines, the flags propped up in the holes, the ever so beautiful greens, it’s all what makes golf such a relaxing sport for so many. Because of this very reason, to create this sense of presence in the minds of the viewers, I try to get to the highest point possible to take my photos. If you can’t get to a height, I would suggest investing in a drone to take some aerial photos.
- Invest in Gear
Golf photography, much like any other type of sport photography, requires good camera gear if you want to get to a pro level. Most important, at least to me, is to have a fast wide angle lens. Something like a 16-35mm will be a good choice as it gives you the choice between an ultra-wide angle and a decent ‘normal’ field of view. Also try getting a full-frame camera for generally better photos. None of this means that you can’t take photos with more modest equipment though. I started with an APS-C body and a kit lens, and then gradually upgraded. So even if you don’t have the best camera and lenses, go out there and start shooting anyway.
- Learn how to Process Photos
In order to be a successful gold photographer, you need to know how to use tools like Lightroom and Photoshop for post processing your photos. No matter how good you are with your camera, a lot of the times you have to add something more to your photos in order for them to be published. Give yourself some time to learn the art of post processing. Shoot in RAW so that you can get the best image possible out of your file. Post processing is an art in itself, and it’s always better to start practicing right away so you’re ready to send out some amazing photos when the time comes.
So there you have it. These are some of my most important tips for anyone trying to get started with gold photography. Incorporate these into your skill, and you’ll be able to take professional-grade photos in no time!