Demystifying the world of sports photography

About

Big Lens Fast Shutter (BLFS) is a podcast which hopes to entertain budding professional sports photographers as well as parents who want to photograph their kids playing their favourite sports.

Each month, Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen will interview, discuss, moan, groan, and attempt to demystify the hidden world of sports photography.

You can subscribe to our podcast from iTunes here: Big Lens Fast Shutter Podcast

You can follow us at:

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*Please Read Below*

Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by clicking on the “Donate” button and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.
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*Please Read Below*

Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by clicking on the “Donate” button and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.
Donate Button with Credit Cards

34 responses

  1. Dave Whittaker

    Hi Guys,

    Great podcast from two genuine guys which is pretty hard to find in the Sports Photography world.

    Quick question though, during night matches do you always set your own White Balance or do you use an auto setting?

    Looking forward to your next cast.

    PS I’m an audio producer if you’d like some idents doing let me know i’m happy to help.

    Regards

    D

    March 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    • biglenssyd

      Quick question though, during night matches do you always set your own White Balance or do you use an auto setting?

      Dave, I also leave mine on Auto. I use Lightroom to post process and it’s really simple to adjust the WB on one image and then sync it across all of them.
      However, I do find that if its a late afternoon match the WB will change from when the sun is still out and when it transitions to artificial. Just watch out for that. If you use Lightroom then just pick another image, adjust the WB and then sync the images from that point onwards. I’m sure Aperture will have a similar function.
      Syd

      March 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

      • Dave Whittaker

        Thanks Guys!

        March 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  2. Thanks Dave really appreciate that we’re making a difference out there in the wild wild world of sports photography. :)

    As for your WB questions the answer is: it depends. I set it on auto most of the time, but if there is a massive difference between two areas on the pitch, I set it manually so that I get decent results on both areas.

    I also know some who have bought the WB lens cap thing on ebay and they use it before the match to set it. I have been meaning to try it, but haven’t had the chance to try it thus far. Maybe a future GAS of the month?

    As for the idents, I’ve just wikipediaed it. Which means I dont’ know much about it. Email me (ryu at ryusha dot com) and please tell me a bit more about it.

    Ryu

    March 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

  3. Hi Guys,

    loved the first podcast good work.
    Im 20 and im currently shooting my local pro soccer team.
    Have ye any tips on getting to a higher level of short?
    And also have you any tips on getting my photo’s published?

    Jamie.

    March 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

    • biglenssyd

      Jamie – lots of tips – have you got your gallery or sample shots somewhere we can take a look at?
      In terms of publishing – have you shown your pictures to the local newspaper? I’m sure they will want some images of the local pro soccer team.

      March 16, 2011 at 1:14 am

  4. ”higher level of short?”
    typo sorry SPORT.

    March 14, 2011 at 2:29 am

  5. Jamie,

    Alright, I’ll try to answer them as you’ve asked us very broad questions.

    1. I’m assuming what you meant was that you want to shoot champions league matches and World Cups? If that’s the case, you have to try to get an AIPS license so that you can start applying for accreditation to champions league and europa league matches. And also Euro qualifiers and friendlies. The more of these you goto the more “points” you will accumulate with UEFA and that’s a good thing.

    As for other sports, it’s generally true that the more important matches you goto the better chance you will get into even more important matches. It also doesn’t hurt to apply for accreditations to all the big matches as the only downside is that you get rejected. You might get lucky and get in. Remember to write in your application which publication you are working for and that you have a legitimate press card.

    2. Getting published in a newspaper? A. Has to be good B. Has to be cheap. Remember if you are shooting a big event, you are competing with the likes of Getty and AP, the evil empires of sports photography. They are generally cheaper and better so the only other avenue you can go is to shoot something obscure that these agencies will not be there. The down side of that is that it’s too obscure and no publication will pick it up. It’s a bit of a catch 25. Have you tried web zines and sports websites? They are generally low on funds and cannot afford to get images from the big agencies.

    Since newspaper is about to become extinct anyway, I would lean towards web based publications and news sites. You might not get any money from it (but do ask for a bit, nothing in life is free), but you will get your foot in the right door.

    Hope this helped.

    Ryu

    March 14, 2011 at 9:33 am

  6. Yeah my flickr is http://www.flickr.com/jamiesull. The local papers have staff photographers who cover game. Crap photos published by staff photographers.

    Thanks
    Jamie

    March 16, 2011 at 1:43 am

  7. Saw your link from TWIP. I am enjoying shooting Aussie Rules for my son’s team and want to do more when time permits. Currently limited to 450mm equiv zoom but I get by. Use a mono-pod for stability and have a golf umbrella mount off it for the really awful days. Great work. Keep it up.

    May 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    • Martin,

      Sorry for the belated response. Thanks for the support and hopefully those rainy days at the golf course is few and far between. :)

      Ryu

      June 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  8. This guy, Eugene Tan, might be interesting for one of your great interviews – http://www.aquabumps.com.au/

    Cheers

    June 25, 2011 at 2:48 am

  9. Martin,

    Thanks for the info. Trying to decide if this is more water photography than sports photography…

    June 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

  10. BobD

    I saw your link on TWIP too.

    I have a question shooting jpeg. I too shoot jpeg for outdoor sports during the day as you have advised. That works fine. My question is what are your recommended JPEG (Nikon) camera settings for low light, changing light situations.
    1) you shoot indoors?
    2) When you are outdoors from sunset though blue hour? (High school field lights are not as bright as a professionally lit stadium set up for TV.)

    In the past I shot RAW in these two situations to be able to make up for poor exposure/WB, BUT my buffer does fill up quickly, and I loose shots. Please advise.

    August 24, 2011 at 3:27 am

  11. Bob,

    First, I’m surprised that we were on TWIP. Where was the link exactly?

    As for both of your questions, it really depends on how good your camera is when it comes to holding off noise at high ISO. I use the D3 and in most cases I am happy to pump the ISO up to 2000 without me getting queasy in the stomach. As you have mentioned, high school lights are horribly insufficient and you will be forced to use even higher ISO. If your camera is older than mine, meaning it’s more than 4 years old. I would definitely consider buying a new one. The new DSLRs from most brands are now really good with high ISOs. There’s also not much you can do when it comes low buffer because you are forced to shoot in RAW in order to compensate for low light. If you have a relatively new camera and you can comfortably shoot at ISO1600, you might want to slow down the shutter speed to around 1/500. That’s what I used to do when I was using the D2X. Experiment and see how low you can go without getting the photos all blurry.

    I also don’t shoot in RAW during low light / evening and indoor matches. I always shoot jpg. I will only shoot RAW if my client requires me to do so.

    Hope this helped.

    Ryu

    August 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    • BobD

      Hi Ryu,

      Thank you for your reply. I do have a Nikon D3 and a Nikon D2H (as back up).

      I asked the wrong question. For sports what picture control settings do you use and why?

      Bob

      August 25, 2011 at 2:49 am

  12. Bob,

    Picture control setting? Like shutter speed, f stop and such? Or are we talking size and quality of JPGs?

    August 25, 2011 at 8:54 am

  13. BobD

    Hi Ryo,

    I am referring to the D3 “Shooting Menu” , “Set Picture Control” (Standard or Neutral setting, and any changes to the Quick Adjustment Settings like Contrast, Saturation, etc.) and “D-lighting” settings the effect the jpegs the D3 produces.

    For sunny days, I am using Set Picture Control to standard, and using defaults on Quick Settings, no D-Lighting. I also shoot with Auto ISO set ON to 1/320 (for low light) min.

    My question was spawned for low light settings (gym) and falling light (like outdoors nearing sunset) where I have shot RAW to pull out highlights and shadow and set WB., but I do miss shots with buffer filling.

    What would be helpful is to share your camera settings across the board for the different lighting situations. As an example, a Nikon version of the settings shown here: http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/2371

    Bob

    August 26, 2011 at 3:48 am

    • Bob,

      I try to turn everything “off”. I set the picture control to standard as I will always use PS to edit the photo before posting or publishing it. No D-Lighting. No auto ISO. Really, don’t shoot RAW unless you are shooting for magazines. My setting for all my pictures, sports or non-sports is the same. Sorry to be boring, but if you want the best out of your JPG, you want it to not do too much so that you can fix it on post.

      Ryu

      August 26, 2011 at 6:54 am

  14. BobD

    Ryo,

    I know you are a pro shooter, so you have the benefit of TV lighting where ever you shoot. Most of your listeners I can imagineare on the mere mortal side. Typical is what I experience shooting USA High School football on a Friday Night.

    I shot from 6 PM to 9 PM in SF Bay Area this past Friday … light falling fast. As you can see from the link below, I shot from “golden hour” through “blue hour” (flat photos) into the night. For this shoot I did turn on Auto ISO, and for the last hour I shot manual (f2.8, 1/400, ISO at 6400.) Since I shot JPEG, I did change manual WB presets to get best results. Your advice for grabbing fast action in these poor lighting situation is most welcome!

    Menlo Atherton High School Football Scrimmage, August 26 2011

    Bob

    August 30, 2011 at 6:36 am

  15. Bob,

    I’m kind of sort of not really getting what you are after here. I’ve seen the shots and they seem to be fine with me. The only advice I can give you under very bad (low low low light condition) is to A) lower the shutter speed, like around 1/250 or B) keep the shutter speed a bit higher, 1/400 and aim for moments when the players are not moving too fast.

    For B) go for shots when the QB is sacked not when he is getting sacked. Get the WR who just got the TD rather than him catching the ball in full stride. This is something I found out when I was shooting ballet where lighting is worse than any football match I’ve ever shot.

    Ryu

    August 31, 2011 at 8:19 am

  16. Bob Dahlberg

    Ryo,

    Thank you. I know what you are saying about ballet, my daughter loves to dance. What you have given me is helpful advice, and much appreciated.

    Bob

    August 31, 2011 at 10:49 pm

  17. Hi Ryu,,

    I am sport photographer I’ve been doing this more than 14 months, and I’ve been shooting local Football games (soccer)
    I want to achieve and get to the high level of sport photographing. So what would you advice me to get there?

    all the games that i shoot I shoot them in RAW is that good or I should start shooting JPEG?

    Do you think I should buy A D3S now or i should wait a bit?

    you can check my photos on Facebook Page

    August 23, 2012 at 6:18 am

    • Franl,

      Thanks for your questions.
      I advice that you go through our entire site from the beginning and listen to all our podcasts. :)

      Honestly, that will really be the best way to do it. There is a wealth of information in all the stuff we put into this site and you will learn a lot from it.

      Ryu

      August 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

  18. Hey guys, I really enjoyed the TWIP interview and would like to check out the podcast, but I only see iTunes as a subscription option. Is there no rss? I’m an Android user so…

    January 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    • Chris,

      Thanks for joining the BLFS. As for the podcast problem, we are trying to find a workaround for it. You still have the mp3 link to it, so for the time being you will have to manage with that one. If you have a very elegant solution to our problems, we are all ears. :)

      February 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

  19. Great Podcast on TWIP. I am starting to listen, I am excited about learning more and pushing myself. One quick question, Are their any sports photography workshops? I see a lot of workshops for landscape photographers. Is there anything or is anyone leading a group of photographers on the slopes or meeting at a Indy car race? Look forward to the response. Thank you.

    February 2, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    • Jim,

      Unfortunately, I have no idea who is running a workshops on slopes or racing, but Peter Read Miller is running a general sports photography workshop once every year in Colorado. We ourselves are planning to do one in the near future, but we are still gauging interest from the BLFSers.

      Ryu

      February 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  20. I’m in the same boat as Chris… heard the TWiP interview, want to listen but I’m on android s no iTunes for this boy. Are you listed anywhere else I can subscribe?

    February 4, 2013 at 12:23 am

    • rnourse,

      Unfortunately, we are not listed elsewhere. We are using podcast maker on os x lion at the moment and honestly it’s doing our head in. If you have any solutions to our problem, please let us know.

      Meanwhile you’ll have the mp3 to download. :)

      February 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  21. vb

    Hey Guys,
    Great Blog aud just a suggestion and
    I know it’s not very populare but RSS would be very nice.

    Cheers
    vb

    February 10, 2013 at 7:58 pm

  22. Rob Nourse

    Toksuede,
    I’m not a podcaster but two things seem obvious

    1) It can’t be an insurmountable problem since others seem to have overcome it. Perhaps TWiP, Podcast Alley or another peer can offer some useful suggestions?
    2) Speaking of TWiP, seems a shame to garner potential new listeners but fail to close over simple distribution. That should be the easy part!

    Anyways I hope you get it sorted.. I’d love to put you guys on my playlist.

    February 11, 2013 at 7:33 am

  23. Wish I found about you guys sooner. Great podcasts and very useful info. I can’t seem to find see the link for the critical beatdown. I’m still on your old podcasts so not sure if you guys have stopped the CB?

    All the best

    Toyin

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/7788682@N06/

    September 5, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    • Toyin,

      Thanks for the comment. We still do Critical Beatdown.
      And thanks for the continued support.

      Ryu

      September 9, 2014 at 10:57 am

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