Sports & Action Photography For Beginners: Part 3 | Don McPeak | Skillshare

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Sports & Action Photography For Beginners: Part 3

teacher avatar Don McPeak, 'That Guy' with the camera...

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Promo For This Class


    • 2.

      Managing Light - Types Of Light


    • 3.

      Managing Artificial Light


    • 4.

      Managing Natural Light


    • 5.

      Managing Light Direction


    • 6.

      Welcome To The Midway


    • 7.

      Readiness, Anticipation, & Reaction


    • 8.

      Reviewing My Project - Part 1


    • 9.

      Reviewing My Project - Part 2


    • 10.

      Reviewing My Project - Part 3


    • 11.

      Elements of Composition


    • 12.

      Orientation and Angle to Subject


    • 13.

      Rule of Thirds / Negative Space


    • 14.

      Graduation Ceremony


    • 15.

      Some Final Comments


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About This Class

This three part series is a beginner level tutorial on how to take great sports and action photographs. It is taught by Don McPeak, a semi-retired pro sports photographer with over 10,000 publication credits.

Part Three is a series of lectures about the basics of dynamic composition: about combining your knowledge of using the camera as a tool with the purpose and goals for taking your shots. It begins with a discussion about how to use subjects, space, and positioning and then wraps everything into a comprehensive plan about how to put this learning from the three parts together to make striking images. 

The goal of this third section is to demonstrate to you that anyone can take good sports and action photos, but there is more to it than just "spraying and praying".  

Finally, there is a word of encouragement from your teacher.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Don McPeak

'That Guy' with the camera...


Hello, I'm Don.

We all know 'That Guy'. You know, the one. He's been carrying around a camera since he was about six years old.

I am...'That guy'.

For over fifty years, I have been obsessed with creating dramatic and compelling images. In my case, I was fortunate enough to realize my dream, of becoming a pro sports photographer, and cover professional and major college sporting events on behalf of some of the most popular magazines and web sites on the planet.

My experiences on the sidelines, court side, rink side, etc... have been priceless and I am now trying to help others realize their passion and dreams with my series of classes about sports and action photography.

When I'm not taking photos, I'm writing screenplays and working my plans to produce... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Promo For This Class: What if I told you that for about the price of a nice lunch, the generous tip thrown in, I could teach you how to take photos like these, you know, in spite of what the name says. This is not about just sports. It's a course about how to take pictures of people engaged in dynamic activities. I'm Don McPeek and I am a summer retired sports photographer with over 10,000 photo credits in popular sports magazines and major sports websites, and I accomplished all that without so much as a single minute of formal training. That's right. I was just a dad with a camera on the sidelines of my son's football games, and I basically learned by doing and watching and observing some of the best pro sports photographers in the business. So not only do I have the knowledge to be able to teach you, I have been where you are. I have been who you are. I know very well what it is that you need to learn from this and future courses. The vast majority of tutorial videos about sports and action photography will teach you about settings and gear, but this course takes you well beyond that. I'm gonna give you the insights in how to take photos like these. And you can take photos like these, and I'm gonna teach you how. But before we learn how you have to learn what and why, I know that's new thinking, but that's what separates this course from so many others. You know, it's not enough to know how to turn on the wipers of the defroster. At some point, somebody's got to teach you how to drive, and I'm here to teach you how to drive. The course is designed in three major sections. The first section is around technical mastery. It's understanding the camera as a tool. Second section is more of the artistic composition, peace and understanding what it is. You want a photograph and why we're going to train your brain, how to think like a pro so you can get better shots. The third section combines the technical mastery from the first section with the understanding about what it is you want and why, from the second section and combine those into understanding how to get the shots that you're after. So, while I can't promise you that you'll have cover shots on Sports Illustrated. I can promise to make you a better photographer, so I'd love to have you in my class. Grab your gear and let's go shoot. 2. Managing Light - Types Of Light: Well, now we're into the third section of the course where we will take all of the theory and all of the principles that we talked about in the first was at 13 lectures and now will start to combine those to give you a solid foundation of how to actually shoot these nice photos that I promised I would teach you how to take. So in this lecture, we're going to concentrate on managing light. In the earlier lectures, we talked about the different characteristics of light and how to manage it within the camera. And in this lecture, we're going to look at pictures that air not so much great action shots, but there very illustrative of the different types of light that you will encounter and how to manage that light both in terms of the settings within your camera, as well as how to position yourself to take more advantage of the different aspects of the light in a very broad sense, that really only are two types of light. But there's natural light and there's artificial light and natural light is obviously light that comes from natural sources that could obviously be the sun or the moon stars or even some mawr exotic type sources like lightning or fire or ah, an erupting volcano. You know you can get creative with some of the different types of natural lighting sources . On the other end of that spectrum is artificial light, and that could be anything from stadium lights that are already in place to flashes or strobes that you bring to the venue and you provide your own light. And then there's everything in between. There's different types of artificial light fluorescent sodium, vapor metal. Hey, lied, etcetera. Now that light, whether it's natural or artificial, will manifest in two basic ways. It's either direct or it's indirect, and the light can manifest in any combination and any different proportion of these four different things so you can have sunlight that's direct, and that's your only source of light. Or you could have a combination of natural and artificial light, and you can have different proportions of direct or indirect light. There are many times in the early evening at a high school football game when the sun is setting, and we still have some direct sunlight coming onto the field. We have indirect light that's bouncing off of light cloud cover overhead, and we have stay in lights that Iran so and those proportions will change by the minute as the sun is setting. So it's It could be a fairly dynamic situation, but I bring this to your attention so that you're very much aware of the obviously Light plays a huge role in photography if you wouldn't be able to do it without it, but also to be aware of your surroundings and where the light is coming from and what type of light it is because it's gonna it's gonna affect how you shoot things and what settings you might have in your camera and also where you might set up to take a certain picture. 3. Managing Artificial Light: and I'm gonna show you a series of photos that will demonstrate that and make some commentary around what adjustments I might make not only to the camera but also my positioning relative to where the light source is coming from, what type of light it is and the type of shot I want to get. If you don't have one already, I would highly recommend that you get a light meter and learn how to use it. Your camera has a built in light meter, and many of them work pretty well, but they're very easily fooled. And that's one of the big reasons that it's recommended, or I recommend that you shoot in manual over time. As you shoot in different conditions, you'll almost be ableto dial in your settings without looking at a light meter. But in the beginning, try to get a rough idea from using the light meter at various parts of the venue about where you need to set your camera in different locations. So as we're looking at these pictures, I want you to notice what the subtle differences are in the way that they're lit and see if you can tell what the light sources. I don't have many that are in direct sunlight. That's fairly obvious. But there are others that have combinations of natural and artificial light diffused, direct, and we're gonna talk about each one. And I try to give you a little more insight into some tips about how to get proper exposure and how toe line up with the direction of the light to get the best exposure and eliminate as many shadows as possible. So we're going to start out looking at two performers. They're both operating in a little bit different types of light. This first performer is standing pretty much in direct artificial light in the middle of a stadium. So in a nice NFL stadium, you have the added benefit of having the light be fairly uniform. So in the higher end venues, you're really not going to struggle as much trying to eliminate shadows as you do, Let's say on a high school field or ah gymnasium or something of that nature. So in this case, you didn't really have to worry too much about shadows or even the different types of lighting. As you can see from the pictures I got fairly low. Take her photo and the lighting was uniform enough so that it didn't leave any shadows. You can see your eyes fairly well, and I didn't really have to worry about changing my settings when I changed to a different vantage point. 4. Managing Natural Light: now this next performer is a different story. This was a different venue. That was earlier in the day. She was on a stage that was somewhat lit from above. There was a little bit of stage lighting, but there was also she was facing the western sky. There were a series of buildings in the way blocking the sun, but there was some fairly nice indirect sunlight that was kind of bouncing off the sky. So her face was kind of lit from a couple different angles and that both helped and hindered my efforts to try to get a good shot of her. So in this particular picture, you can see that the eyes are kind of there's some shadows on the eyes were not really getting a good look, and so her face was not quite pointed directly at the available diffused light. So I was forced to have to trick change my location to change my vantage point, and I moved around in front of the stage. Luckily, I could do that. The crowd was sparse and often there were some areas for me toe to move around freely so you can tell the difference between this picture in the last one when her she's looking up a little bit more, she tilted her face more toward the sky, and now her eyes and the rest of the faces is very nicely illuminated now. Ah wanted to get a shot from underneath or near the stage so you can see the way that the light is positioned in the background. You could tell from this picture here it's it's kind of awkward is kind of a bright spot in the right hand side, and it just doesn't. It's just visually awkward. So in order to accommodate for that, I just had to move out a little bit from the stage and then shoot back. And then I got the benefit of that nice diffused light coming out of the sky a little bit. You can tell from the back on the top there was a little bit of stage lighting. It was kind of creating smile lights. But the best part about this was that there was a nice black covering over the stage. What kind of created that nice dark backdrop that created the contrast almost like a portrait when she was standing up there singing. And then this last shot. I kind of moved back out into the audience, and then I got elevated a little bit. She was kind of standing out or the stages on a hillside, so I was able to shoot almost at high level with her and then the background. I was able to create this separation in the background for using the techniques that we talked about in prior lectures, so I was able to kind of make that a little bit fuzzy in the background. So we've got that nice separation. Even though it's cluttered, it's it's not, it's not too distracting. And then we can see how the defused sunlight coming off of the sky. It's essentially reflected off the sky. It was created at nice soft box effect. So again, when I moved from her side to shooting from the front, I only had to make slight adjustments in my eyes. So to accommodate for that. But there were differences from when I shot her from the side when the light was not direct , two positioning myself directly in front of her 5. Managing Light Direction: so these last two shots, Unfortunately, they would have been very nice shots, but because of the angle of the light was hitting her as she was looking down at me and making ah kind of a silly face. The picture really became unusable at that point because of the shadows that were created by the direction of the light hitting her, you know, her eye sockets and her and her hair. So Aziz Muchas that would have been fun. The lighting. It wasn't cooperate. So these pictures air here basically to illustrate that there's a strategy. And there's a technique to understanding the direction the light is coming from and what you want to do with that light. And that even includes instances where there's heavy backlighting, which can be which can create a dramatic effect, as we saw in the last lecture. But if you're if you're whether it's an athlete or a performer, you may have to be patient. You may have to position yourself in the proper place to use the amount in the direction of light in order to create the shot that you want. So is your planning your shots? It's fun to get those kind of weird angles and interesting looks from, you know, the stage of the game. But also just be ever mindful from what direction the light is coming and how you can use that to your advantage. Sometimes you want to create a nice, harsh shadow on the face, and sometimes you would be better off. You want to have that that direct lighting so that you have a nice uniform exposure on your subject. So again, this is just, ah, kind of a beginner's level overview of just kind of what to look for. And hopefully you will discover in your journeys that ah, properly exposed photograph will make up for a lot of sins. So it's a big part of creating really good quality photography, so that's an area that you'll want to practice. You'll definitely want to get a light meter. And don't be embarrassed. I use one all the time. I don't care what people think about me. I'm going to get properly exposed pictures, and it will make a huge difference in the way that your photos look. So in the next lecture, we're going to revisit some of these pictures, and we're gonna talk about the proper exposure settings and how you can kind of better identify what they look like even without a light meter. Just so you get some rough idea where to start and what to look for when you're out there. So I hope that helps. And we will continue down this path and we'll see you in the next lecture. 6. Welcome To The Midway: Well, here we are. We're right in the middle of the midway. I'll be honest with you. This was the hardest lecture that I had to prepare for. I can give you a lot of fundamentals. I can explain to you how shutter speeds and apertures work. I can give you tech tips on techniques and where to stand and how to manage lighting. But this is kind of like teaching somebody how to write a popular song or how to sing. There are certain aspects of being a good sports and action photographer that air just innate their abilities, their talents that you have and learning techniques and mastering the technical aspects of photography will take you. So far, some of this is just built in and it can't be taught. And that is the brutal, honest truth. Now, for those of you that have that skill, that innate capability, I'm hoping that whatever little bit I can teach you helps to bring that out. For those of you that may not protect that particular gift, it doesn't mean you can't take good pictures. It just means you have to work all that much harder at it. So we are to the point of our class Now, where it's time for me to follow through on a couple of the promises that I made you at the very beginning. So you're probably asking yourself. Okay, we got the fundamentals done and you gave me all of the training. The brain talk. Now, when are you gonna actually tell me how to take these shots? And I have to chuckle a little bit because going back to my original analogy with Mr Miyagi in The Karate Kid. That's what I've been doing along. And I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised when you do the final homework assignment. How much better your photographs? They're gonna look, and it's It's going to surprise you what you've actually learned throughout this course. So these next two or three lectures in the course, we are going to start to pull together the things that we've already talked about, and we're going to apply these three principles to do that. So these three elements are what create what I call the perfect shot matrix. So it's combination of readiness, anticipation and reaction and will talk briefly about each one of those and then we'll move forward and look at some of the pictures that we've already seen and that will backfill with some comment around the actual settings that I used the position, what I was thinking when I took them, and then we'll examine each one of the pictures relative to some of the issues that we talked about so far in the course. 7. Readiness, Anticipation, & Reaction: so there's a few different facets to readiness. Whatever it is, you're going to go shoot, find out what you can about it. If it's something you already know a lot about, there's really not a lot of research you have to do. But if it's something you don't know anything about, spend little time beforehand and try to figure out what you're shooting, when and what to expect when you get there. What happens? What is the the sport of the event? Or so you have a better idea of where you need to be, where you need to stand, where you need to shoot from. Another aspect of being ready is to understand what gear you need to bring with you. So depending on what you're gonna shoot, may require if you're lucky enough to have a lot of year, may require you to bring different things to have available to properly shoot it. And then the last thing is from from an overall high level. When you get to the venue, be ready. Have your gear in a mission, ready condition so that no matter what happens, you're ready to shoot some of the coolest pictures I've ever taken were were done on the way into the stadium or the venue. So don't just walk toward the venue, thinking that there's nothing there to shoot. Sometimes some truly amazing things happen in the parking lot or outside, where fans air collecting and waiting to get into the venue or even the venue itself. So always be ready. Always be in a state that you're ready to shoot. Anticipation is just like it sounds. This is a skill that a lot of people are not born with. This is probably the one thing that hampers most sports photographers, and as a result, when I'm shooting ah ah, high school football game, I'm usually done shooting the play before other photographers even begin shooting. And it has to do with anticipation. It's not waiting for the Plato unfold. It's knowing what's going to happen and already being not only in position but firing already pre focused or already on the subject, even if it's a running back coming from behind the line. If you know they're coming out, be ready. Expect where that person or where that ball Kerry is gonna come from behind that line and already be ready and focused on that particular point so that when that play unfolds, you're already there. You're not chasing the play. Same thing with, ah, inbound pass in basketball or a block shot. Expect and understand where it's going to happen and already have your camera pointed. They're closely related to anticipation is reaction. So if you're shooting a basketball game and you see the point guard looking toward the basket and he lobs the ball, understand what you have to do next. To react to that, he's probably sending up analogy. You pass to the agile six foot 10 forward who's already 45 inches off the floor, and if that's the case, you need to know what to do. At that point, it's not enough to be able to follow that action. You have to anticipate that he's sending that AL you pass to the basket and be able to react to that by turning. You're focusing your attention on the play before it happens, because you know what's about to happen, and that's all part that's all baked in. That's the formula for being that next level of sports photography, and you don't have to be shooting ncwo, R N b A basketball or NFL football. To enlist this practice, you can do it in the recreational soccer fields on a Saturday morning. It's the same principle. So as we go through these pictures, I'll describe not only the technical aspects of how they were shot, but also in terms of these three things. Readiness, anticipation and reaction. 8. Reviewing My Project - Part 1: in the next lecture we're going to cover probably what is the most advanced concept in this entire course? And that's around the composition in the artistry. What elected right now, though, is go through a handful of examples that I mostly created specifically for this course. And I deliberately shot these pictures for the most part, using gear that you would most likely be using in venues that are similar to ones that you would be shooting in. So I really wanted to avoid anyone walking away from this course thinking, You know, the guy built the whole course around his pro camera equipment in high end venues like NFL stadiums, and how does that really help me? So I wanted to make sure that the content here was appropriate to the types of gear and venues that would apply to the beginner shooter. So toward that end, we're gonna go through some of the photos I've already shown you, which I shot early on in the course as part of my homework assignment. And I'm gonna, on a technical basis review with you all the things that are pertinent to the technical mastery and then in the next lecture. We will cover the advanced concepts of some of the artistry and the composition, so hopefully this will all get tied together next two or three lectures. Okay, so let's start out with this one. This is actually one of my favorites from the homework assignment that I did, and again just to review, I used the Nikon D 3200 the four year old used camera that you could buy for a couple 100 bucks on on eBay. On with the rented Tamron lens, which is, I recall, was a 1 50 to 600 millimeter and, combined with the crop factor in the camera, yielded a 960 millimeter effective reach. So I shot this photo from outside the outfield fence, if you will. So in a lot of high school level girlssoftball, there's, ah, artificial fences. They put on baseball fields that serve is the outfield fence. So again I got permission to be there, so that's let's make that clear. But so I had the opportunity to shoot this from different angles. So this was one of the angles that I chose, and as you can see in the background, you know, if you're in a municipal park, the backgrounds are not always going to be ideal. So you have tow. You have to sometimes just take Take that for what it is but specific to this shot. The reason I lined this up where I did was I wanted to catch all three of the subjects in the photo and and get their eyes looking at the ball coming in. That was something I had planned. That was that was part of what I was after. And the again the composition of this was to try to find an angle where they were kind of grouped together. It obviously required a left handed batter in this case, but that that was my purpose. That's what I wanted. So in order to do this, I had to obviously have a pretty decent zoom or telephoto lens. So again, the you know, the crop factor really helped out a lot when you're shooting from. In this case, it was 220 feet away with that 960 millimeter zoom. That was pretty pretty helpful. So the aperture on this was again somewhat dictated by the equipment I was using the lens head up is ongoing from memory off 4 to 6.3 a range as you zoomed in sweat 150 millimeters , you were F four and then the aperture would change automatically as you zoomed all the way out. And at the 600 millimeter it went out to 6.3. So again, the differences between the pro gear and the consumer of the pro summer gears that that you don't have all you don't always have control over that type of thing. So I would probably have gone with a lower ah setting Ah, lower F stop to blur the background out a little bit more. But again, I didn't have any choice here. So ideally with pro gear, you'd be shooting it maybe like an F four. And the fencing in the the woodwork in the background would be much more blurred. Theis so was at 1600 and I used a 1000 shutter speed. This is kind of a of a cloudy day. I will tell you that I do What's, I guess, sometimes referred to as shooting to the left. And what that means is, if you're looking at a hist a gram again. An advanced term. If you're looking at the the, um, exposure, I tend to shoot a little under exposed. And then I correct a little bit in Photoshopped. I don't heavily edit my pictures, but I do want to mitigate the hot spots or the highlights. So in this case, it was kind of a light colored helmet, and we had a diffuse sun, so I had to, uh, had to open up the exposure a little bit to get the faces. I like to mitigate that a little bit in photo shop, so my pictures come out a little bit dark and then I I boost him a little bit with exposure and for a shop. When you kind of mimic my settings, you'll probably note that your pictures are coming out a little bit darker. That's a personal choice. You could do whatever you want as far as that goes. So to put a bow on this, I you can see using the 1000 shutter speed. I was able to freeze the ball and also going back to the what and why discussion? So I was after faces. I was after highs I wanted a collective shot of all three of them watching the ball come in . And so that was the what and why. And then I had to figure out how I was going to shoot that what angle I needed to be at and , you know, Askew, conceive. There are cross purposes. Sometimes in order to get that shot the way I wanted to shoot it, I was. I was unable to avoid having those kind of visual clutter in the background, and so that's that's the way it goes sometimes. But the point is, is that being aware that those two posts air back there and that in a different scenario, you could either move and avoid having them in the shot? Or if, if you had the ability to use a different aperture to sort of blur them out that you now know how to do that 9. Reviewing My Project - Part 2: Okay, let's take a look at another one in in the interest of full disclosure of this particular picture I took with a Nikon D for S and my 800 millimeter Sigma. So it's This was a pro gear shot. Some of the other ones, I'll show you. I'll go back to the D 3200 and the the Tamron Lens on this particular one. So I just wanted to be upfront about that. So this was 800 millimeters. I eso was 400 embitter 5.6 at 1000 shutter speed and you'll see that the background is nice and clean and blurred. So in this particular shot, there was a nice outfield wall at this particular baseball venue, and I noticed in watching this young man pitched that when he just before he delivered the ball, he would kind of look out over the top of his shoulders and arms. I want to get a picture of of just his eyes peering over his arm is raised arm just before he pitched. So, you know, this was a timing issue, so it was obviously a lot a lot easier to do with the with the reactive pro gear than 3200 . So that was one of the reasons I switched over. So I I fully admit I cheated on this one, but just for instruction purposes, you could see how a selected the clean background actually started out shooting this on my knees. But I couldn't get the correct elevation to see his eye. So actually had to stand up and make sure that I was elevated enough to get this shot of his eyes there. So again, it's it's manual. Everything I shot was manual so I could select the exposure that I wanted to not rely on the on the meter for this. So, uh, was, um the vantage point was right behind the dugout, So I'm actually shooting through. In this case, it was kind of a nylon mesh, but it's so close to the lens that you actually can't see it. But there is a barrier there. So, um, I actually had the kind of ask permission for the of the people in the front row to stand in front of them for a short time to get this pictures. So it was kind of ah, had to get in and get out. Not linger too long there. But sometimes that's what you have to do when you want to get the shots. You know you have to have to be again intrusive. You be polite about it. But most people are accommodating for a short period of time. So again, back to the ah, the 3200 and the Tamron lens. So again, here was just a little bit different Vantage point. I was shooting a little bit lower. The top of the fence actually kind of came into view. So it was kind of again cross purposes. I needed to get low to see his eyes under the brand. But as I got lower the outfield fence, the top of the fence in perspective, too, the player actually started to lower eso. You know, I there was a little bit of a trade off there again. Ah, it was on the lens. I was at 500 millimeters. So do the math on. That's probably around 7 50 or so. Actual reach 800 s 6.3 aperture Ah, 1000 shutter speed. And this is what I was really after. So e, watch this and a little bit different than the first picture. So the first picture kind of looked over the top of his arm as he was pitching. This guy did something really neat. He actually looked between his glove and his arm as he was about to deliver the pitch. So I wanted to make sure I got a shot of that. So which was extremely difficult with the 3200 because of the shutter lag that I had described before. But ah, and again I was, ah, standing in front of people, so I had to. I couldn't linger there a long time, so I had to make it count. So I got it in for a few pitches and like to say that this was all skill. But I would have to confess. This is probably much luck as anything else. But when I was when I got the results, I was very happy to see that I did get that. Little looked as a little his peeking through this gap between his glove and his arm to look at the batter before delivered the pitch. So one thing you'll notice about this picture that is true of most people wearing uniforms that air, light colored, especially white, is that in order to sometimes in order to get the proper exposure on the face or other parts of the picture, you do have to sacrifice the exposure on the white. It's an unfortunate, ah aspect of people wearing white uniforms, but it's, ah, it's a reality. So and when you're looking at pictures of people playing in white uniforms, that's one of the things you might notice, especially on a cloudy day when they're wearing a hat or helmet is that you have to essentially blowout the uniform in order to get a good exposure on the face. 10. Reviewing My Project - Part 3: Okay, I included this because I Well, I like the picture. It's one of my favorites, and it's obviously been edited from its original form. It's a, you know, black and white. But one of the reasons I selected this was because of the whole notion of the, you know, the readiness, the anticipation and the reaction. So this is a perfect example of that. I could not see the ball in the sand trap. The only way I knew what was gonna happen was watching the Gulf for and the trajectory of her swing. So the readiness was positioning myself across the green from her to be able to be in the right angle to see that the sand flying in the ball coming out off there. And I wanted to make sure that the ball was in front of her when it came up out of the sand . So you I had to be ready in terms of positioning myself. The anticipation was when I saw her start to bring the club down to bear on the ball. I had no way of knowing other than the swing where she was in the swing and I had pretty much anticipate or or gas when she would make contact and when the ball would start flying out of the sand trap. So and essentially I had to react to what was about to happen and make sure that I was already pre focused and already ready for the inevitability of that's club coming down on top of the ball so that when it came up out of the sand trap, I was already shooting. I wasn't waiting till I saw the ball. I was anticipating the ball being hit and reacting to that inevitability by already firing as the ball came out of the sand trap. Lastly, here is a shot I took quite a while back, but it's Ah, 550 millimeter. Think I was actually using my 308 100 zoom I eso is 500 meters 4.5 and the shutter 1600. This is significant because of where I had to stand to take this shot. So sometimes when you're a sports photographer, in the spirit of being intrusive, you kind of have to act like you belong there. So I wasn't breaking any rules, but at the same time, I walked out onto the track before the race started and well beyond the finish line, of course, but that was the only way to get this shot. So I had to line up down the down the track from the hurdles and get the shot of the hurdle is coming straight at me over the top of the hurdles. So that's a shot that you can't get from anywhere else. So sometimes in order to get the shot year after, you have to press the limits a little bit. Although, like I said, there wasn't anything inherently wrong with what I did. It was a situation where, rather than just asking permission, I just went ahead and did it. And most of the time you won't get thrown out of the venue for something like that. You'll just get a you get a stern warning or somebody will shake their finger at you. But it's it's well worth kind of pushing the boundaries sometimes to to get these types of shots, and in this case it did. It paid off tremendously, so I hope this helps. This is kind of like taking piano lessons. The piano teacher can teach you what the keys do, what the notes mean. But until the student practices and develops their own style of playing that the teacher can only do so much. So I hope this has been instructional. Tried to pull together some of the concepts we learned early, Ron. And as I said before, in the next lecture, as kind of ah, capstone to this, we're gonna talk about the artistic element, the artistic nature or possibilities of being a sports photographer and how you can roll if you have that artistic bent, how you can roll that into your photography, so I'll see you in the next lecture. 11. Elements of Composition: this lecture is about composition. And, believe it or not, you really can compose sports photographs. Well, to an extent you can, Anyways. For instance, in this photograph, the action kind of unfolds the way it's going to unfold, and you really don't have any choice about where the players are, even what angles you can shoot. It just kind of happens in front of you. On the other end of the spectrum are events in things that happen around the game that you can take a little bit of license. You can be creative at a little artistry into the mix, and that's what this lectures about. To the extent that you are able, you have some control over the way that these photos are composed, and we're just going to spend a little bit of time exploring the different ways that you can make these photos a little more interesting. And admittedly, they are typically going to be the less ah frenetic of you will photos, the ones that are probably a little less action oriented. But even those photos that are right in the thick of the action, you can still apply a little bit of composition to make them more interesting to create a little bit of depth around telling the story. So we're gonna go over a few examples of different types of sports and event related images where I have injected a little bit of composition and I'll tell you what I did and why. I thought it was appropriate to do so. To start out with. Let's cover just a few of the elements of composition, or at least the way I see it. So just by the fact that you decide whether you're gonna shoot portrait or landscape is the first step in composing the shot. So next is your your angles. And that could be with respect to the elevation, whether you're standing or kneeling with respect to the available light, hitting your subject or the your subject itself. Whether it's ah, typically a person, you know whether they're facing you, whether their faces looking straight at you are off into the crowd. So there's there's the angles that you could some somewhat manage. There's your subject position in the frame, so you have some latitude about where you position the subject or the you know, the athlete or the performer and then related to that. Directly related to that is the amount of negative space that you leave in your image and what, if anything, you feel that negative space with So there are some things that you can do that relate to the composition and that ad toothy degree of artistry that you can inject in your sports photography. 12. Orientation and Angle to Subject: So let's just roll through a few of these pictures. I'll just make some commentary around some of the concepts that we just covered, and you can get a kind of a feel for how the composition was done, what the thought process was going into it and how, even with some pretty good action happening, you could still compose a photo to make it a lot more interesting. Okay, so we'll start off with the basics. In case you didn't know the difference between portrait and landscape, this vertically oriented frame is better known as a portrait, and the horizontal is known as Thelancet cape. And as you could see, there's a little bit of difference about the way the picture is oriented relative to the subject, even though in the second example in the horizontal in the landscape thesis object is still standing vertical. But the there's the added dimension of the hair kind of flying around that makes this photo really work better in a horizontal versus a landscape. And again, that's the simplest element in starting to compose your photograph. Okay, in this next photo, we've got a couple different concepts going on here. We we have the horizontal orientation and we have the angle, so the angle to the subject is very favorable. You could see that the face in the eyes and the bodies opened up to the camera as well as the light source. So we've got a a nice confluence of both the light source and the subject orientation at the right place. And then at the same time, we've got composition. So I did this purposely. I waited for the referee to walk in front of. In this case, Rob Verona's The Titans kicker and went at the appropriate time. Took the shot so that I created this composition. We have the rule of thirds, so we have the referee. That's out of focus. He's a He's an element to the shop, but he's not the main subject, but he's He's the subject of the kickers attention, so it's a part of the story. It's an element that's essential to the photograph, and from an artistic standpoint, the rule of thirds is set is essentially where we're we're creating Ah demarcations within the photograph that divided into thirds for both from the vertical and orient, are in a horizontal orientation, so in this case, we've got the referee sort of occupying that third of the space on the left hand side, and the kicker is the The Titans player is occupying the third of the space on the right hand side. It's It's an artistic concept that I incorporated a specifically into this shot. Okay, this is the Sticks. Shot is it's essentially the same thing. So I was able to capture the quarterback in this case, the gold's quarterback, and he's looking at the receiver. He's she's deciding whether or not he's going to throw to the receiver. So he's the that he blurred out, sort of figure on the left hand side of the frame again. In this sort of rule of thirds concept, the quarterback is looking at that person that subject, and it's telling the story about he's thinking where whether or not he wants to throw the ball. But you're right in the midst of the action, and those those two and the left hand side on the right hand side are sort of visually linked to complete the story of this particular photograph. And again, the orientation of the subject is is perfect. The faces looking right at the camera can see the eyes, the face, the expression and the light source is also favorable. So we're not having any any shadows cast over that and you probably can't tell. Perhaps maybe the untrained eye can't tell. But I was actually kneeling when I took this shot. So from the aspect of my elevation, I was down low to ensure that I could get that up under the helmet. Look. 13. Rule of Thirds / Negative Space: Now here's a shot of the Ah, the then Titans coach on the sideline, and I again on purpose took this shot this particular way. I composed it so that I was leaving a lot of negative space on the left hand side of the picture. So part of the reason was to be artsy, and part of the reason was based on my experience providing editorial and commercial content that the left side of the picture it was there for inserts or text or titles, things of that nature. So sometimes publications like to have that negative space. It's a good, clean, blurred background. So it actually this was done this way on purpose. Once again, the angles are somewhat favorable in terms of the faces and the expressions, and I use the rule of thirds here again with the coach on the left, who's yelling instructions and the coach on the right, who is just kind of looking up at the scoreboard. But again, there's this was deliberate composition to present the subjects in this photograph in exactly this manner. Now I use the rule of thirds composition and a little bit different way in this photograph and that I used the player, the quarterback in the center. I have centered the quarterback, even though from a left to right perspective, there's. There's kind of a rule of thirds going on with the three helmets, the three players, but it's also vertically oriented. You see the way his arms air raised. If you take thirds across the photograph, you've got the players lined up in the bottom third. You've got kind of a somewhat negative space in the middle of in the top third, you've got his face and the arms out wide. So again, this was deliberately composed this way and and also noticed the blurred backgrounds going back to the using the proper aperture to achieve that. So is we're looking at these photos Be thinking about the different things that we've covered in prior lectures and how I use that for this composition. And lastly, this is kind of a fun picture. I can't really take all the credit for composing this, but I was at a Vanderbilt University football game and Wynonna was singing the national anthem and she had come off the field, and I just happen to say, Hey, you know, great job did a good job and she kind of walk over to me and she raised up her hand and she just kind of smiled and laughed a little bit and said, Well, I cheated a little bit. She had written the word on her hands, so it's kind of a fun photograph. But anyways, I wanted to compose her, even in the very brief moment, with the people of the flag bearers coming off the field to kind of round out that picture . 14. Graduation Ceremony: Well, you may not have realized it, but while we were going through this lecture, I was conducting a graduation ceremony of sorts. The content of this lecture is anything but beginners level. So consider this ah, threshold for you to have taken a step from the very beginner level to being ready to enter into we, uh, more intermediate status. So congratulations. I hope the content of this class has been helpful, and it's certainly been my privilege to teach you in. The next lecture will be kind of a wrap up, and I will give you your your final test, your final assignment. Which, of course, I will never see. But I'm gonna leave it up to you to grade your own final test. And hopefully you've been able to take some of the concepts from this course and from whatever other resource is she that you have available to you and that you are seeing some improvement in your sports and event photography. So, as we take a look at these last two photos, I am going to leave the commentary at the door, let you fill in the blanks and take a look at the way that the two subjects are positioned in the photograph and draw your own conclusions about what I have in mind when I took them . So I hope you've enjoyed this transition lecture to your next phase of development and I will see you in the next and final lecture. 15. Some Final Comments: Okay, admit it. The intro to my lectures is pretty cool, right? I was amazed at how inexpensive was to get the logo made in the the actual template for the intro. So it was kind of happy with the way that came out. So congratulations is in order. You've finished the course in I sincerely hope that there was something of value here for you. As I said in the last lecture, this is Ah, graduation ceremony of sorts. You've taken the step from beginner to intermediate level, even with just the information that you've been given here. But this is a lot like learning how to play an instrument. You know, I can give you the instruction you condone. I understand the basic principles. But you you have to practice. You have to implement the concepts and actually go out and shoot. And as you do if you follow the instructions and your mindful of the things we've talked about, you will get better. You can't help but get better. So be excited. Be enthusiastic. Look forward to the future. You have a good foundation for many years of good photo taking head of you. So before you cross that stage and get your diploma. There's really four things I want to say to you to wrap this up. One is that the concepts that the ideas, the notion is the principles that we've talked about here. In this course, they apply to all kinds of photography. Even if you're doing commercial work or portrait, it's or you're just taking snapshots at a party, it doesn't matter. The concepts are all the same, so that the the steps that you take to improve your sports photographer, you will also apply to other types of photography. That's the first thing. The second thing is, we had done an initial homework assignment way back in Lecture one where I had you either pluck out your 10 best pictures from an event that you shot or you went out and shot. Ah, brand new event. It's time to pull those out before you do go, go shoot another similar type event and incorporate the things that we talked about, you know, review the the different concepts and be mindful of those as you're going through your the event and when you're taking your photographs. And don't worry so much about how many you take concentrate on trying to get a larger number of really good photos. So it is about quality and not so much about quantity. Unless, of course, you're working pro. When you're you're on assignment, then it's a different deal. But as you're starting out, you really your focus now should be on taking better quality pictures, and the number of those pictures will come gradually as you get better at this. The third thing I want to say to you is, no matter what your motivations, even if your aspirations are somewhat modest, don't give up on your dream, okay? If if you're taking this lecture and it is your dream someday to work for Sports Illustrated or to be a working pro sports photographer or concert photographer, don't give up on that dream. Don't let anybody tell you you can't do it. Okay, this is coming from personal experience. I was in my mid forties when I decided that I was going to be a pro sports photographer and I had no training. I have no equipment, and all I had was, you know, a decent amount of talent and a will to succeed. And in my mind. There was nothing that was going to stop me, So don't lose sight of that. I had detractors. I had people who told me it couldn't be done. At my age, You don't know what you're doing. You have no experience. I didn't listen to any of that negative talk. I just put my head down and I moved on. And yes, in the beginning, some of my pictures were horrible. But I practiced and I got better. And you can, too. Which brings me to my fourth point here, which might be the most important. There's no limit to how good you can get. So if you believe in yourself and if you apply the principles and concepts here and then move on to I don't know if I'm gonna do an intermediate and advanced course or or someone else offers it. But don't ever stop learning. You know, I'm still learning. I have a great hunger to continue to get better and to keep learning, even even at my ripe old age. They're still things that I still want to do. So you know, with that in mind, just dream. Dream big. There's all kinds of possibilities. And and again, if you're not 20 years old, if you're in your forties or fifties, they're still Runway. So that's it. That's a wrap. That's the That's the pep talk. And again, I want to thank you sincerely for taking my course. And if I do decide to do an intermediate in an advanced level course, I hope you'll join me. So thank you and good luck to you.