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  #1  
Old 22nd April 2015
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Football

Firstly, I have no knowledge what so ever about football ( yes I am from Scotland originally)

I have been asked by my son who has made it to cup final to take some images... he has advised the team who will buy images from me, also they will notify the other team of the same.

The match is being held in a lovely stadium, and usually attended by local press photographer and images sold via local rag website.

Would I be in breach of any agreement with local press/ stadium.

How would I gain the most advantageous images?

I would love to see any images captured and which lens used... I am hoping to take my 50-200mm/ 7-14mm/ 75mm/

I really do not know anything about football.... but I would like to get some worthy images and welcome any experiences shared
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Old 22nd April 2015
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Re: Football

I don't know much about football either, despite doing a fair bit of sports photography.

Best bit of advice to start off with comes from Eamonn McCabe - stand with your back to the sun and make sure you can see the players' faces. Of course, that may not be possible if they are coming out of the sun at you. You really need to be beside the pitch to get decent shots.

As for infringing agreements with local press or the stadium - it all depends what sort of agreements are in place. Unless it's high level stuff (i.e. professional) I imagine it wouldn't be a problem, but it would be wise to check first. Apart from anything else you might need some sort of pass to get down by the pitch where Joe Public is not normally allowed, and that is likely to be much easier to arrange in advance than on the day.

As for photos - for the nitty-gritty stuff long lenses are what you need. Do you have an EC-14 converter for the 50-200? Would worth trying if you have. If it unusual for the team to play in a stadium like this it will also be good to get some atmosphere shots of them playing and showing the setting. Quite difficult to do though - if you use a wide enough lens to get a lot of stadium in you will need the players to be close to show up any bigger than ants.

I'm not sure whether the 75mm would be very useful - lovely lens but in this context it's neither fish nor fowl. Have you got anything in the "normal" range between the 7-14 and 50-200? If you have, and want to limit the amount you carry, I would be inclined to take it rather than the 75.

In general for sports action, I shoot aperture priority and wide open. That give minimum depth of field (to blur the background) and fastest shutter speed (to freeze the action). Of course you can always try some slow shutter speeds and hope for artistic blur, but it is very hit-&-miss and you might miss a lot of otherwise good shots. I'd suggest trying to keep the shutter speed up around 1/1000 if you can, specially with a long lens.

Don't use a tripod, you will want to move around. Even a monopod can be a bit of a burden, but if you struggle to hand-hold the long lens you will have to figure something out.

If it's a cup final there will probably be some sort of presentation afterwards, so don't forget to get some shots. If your team wins, these will probably be the most popular ones!

Good luck, for the photography and to your son for the match. I hope this helps a bit, I'm sure there will be plenty of other good suggestions.

John
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  #3  
Old 22nd April 2015
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Re: Football

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
I don't know much about football either, despite doing a fair bit of sports photography.

Best bit of advice to start off with comes from Eamonn McCabe - stand with your back to the sun and make sure you can see the players' faces. Of course, that may not be possible if they are coming out of the sun at you. You really need to be beside the pitch to get decent shots.

As for infringing agreements with local press or the stadium - it all depends what sort of agreements are in place. Unless it's high level stuff (i.e. professional) I imagine it wouldn't be a problem, but it would be wise to check first. Apart from anything else you might need some sort of pass to get down by the pitch where Joe Public is not normally allowed, and that is likely to be much easier to arrange in advance than on the day.

As for photos - for the nitty-gritty stuff long lenses are what you need. Do you have an EC-14 converter for the 50-200? Would worth trying if you have. If it unusual for the team to play in a stadium like this it will also be good to get some atmosphere shots of them playing and showing the setting. Quite difficult to do though - if you use a wide enough lens to get a lot of stadium in you will need the players to be close to show up any bigger than ants.

I'm not sure whether the 75mm would be very useful - lovely lens but in this context it's neither fish nor fowl. Have you got anything in the "normal" range between the 7-14 and 50-200? If you have, and want to limit the amount you carry, I would be inclined to take it rather than the 75.

In general for sports action, I shoot aperture priority and wide open. That give minimum depth of field (to blur the background) and fastest shutter speed (to freeze the action). Of course you can always try some slow shutter speeds and hope for artistic blur, but it is very hit-&-miss and you might miss a lot of otherwise good shots. I'd suggest trying to keep the shutter speed up around 1/1000 if you can, specially with a long lens.

Don't use a tripod, you will want to move around. Even a monopod can be a bit of a burden, but if you struggle to hand-hold the long lens you will have to figure something out.

If it's a cup final there will probably be some sort of presentation afterwards, so don't forget to get some shots. If your team wins, these will probably be the most popular ones!

Good luck, for the photography and to your son for the match. I hope this helps a bit, I'm sure there will be plenty of other good suggestions.

John
John

Great advice....

I was going to bring monopod... and at least the 50-200mm is fairly easy to hold with the em1.

Unfortunately I sold my teleconvertor couple years ago.... and the only other lenses are 45mm and 14-54mm.

I was thinking about the sharpness of the 75mm/45mm and then cropping any usable images if necessary.. I can also run the 75mm from another body

I have sent an email to the club and await a reply..... and I only ask about the press being in attendance as I don't want to tread on toes...

The 7-14mm gives great effects depending on how close to the action I can get.. otherwise its probably not going to get a lot of use.

Thank you for pointing out about the winners rostrum, as I had not considered this.

Thank you and best wishes

Alan
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Old 22nd April 2015
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Re: Football

I think the 14-54 would probably be more use than the 45 or 75, lovely as they both are. You are unlikely to need f/1.8 - and if you do, you want it on the long lens! - and you have both focal lengths covered by the 50-200 (OK, not quite 45 but near enough). The 7-14 might be useful for some dramatic perspective stuff. With 2 bodies I would start with the 14-54 on one and the 50-200 on the other, and swap the 7-14 for the 14-54 if I felt the need for some special-purpose stuff. No harm in tucking the 45 into a pocket in case you want to do some available light stuff though.

A couple more thoughts:

1. Where to stand - I think folk wisdom says on the side very near one end. Since you are biased, the end your son's team are attacking will be better. You will be in a good position for goalmouth scrambles and if someone attacks down the wing you should get a good view of them coming towards you. I wouldn't bother trying to follow the action around - it moves faster than you do and it's so-and-so's law that something exciting will happen at the spot you have just left.

2. Does the stadium have an upstairs? If it does, see if you can get up and do a scenery shot from the front row looking down on the pitch. Maybe leave the pitch at half-time and hoof up to the end your guys will be attacking in the second half. You should be able to get a panoramic shot which includes all the players and shows the stadium - and they will like that, win or lose, even if they are ant-sized.

3. Are there any games before the final where you could practice? Obviously not in this cup since they are in the final, but there might be league, other cup or even Sunday pub team kickabouts. It would give you a much better feel for the action, what kind of focal lengths and shutter speeds you need and so on. You may well feel a bit overwhelmed first time out - so better to feel that on a less important game than the cup final!

John
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  #5  
Old 23rd April 2015
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Re: Football

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Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
I think the 14-54 would probably be more use than the 45 or 75, lovely as they both are. You are unlikely to need f/1.8 - and if you do, you want it on the long lens! - and you have both focal lengths covered by the 50-200 (OK, not quite 45 but near enough). The 7-14 might be useful for some dramatic perspective stuff. With 2 bodies I would start with the 14-54 on one and the 50-200 on the other, and swap the 7-14 for the 14-54 if I felt the need for some special-purpose stuff. No harm in tucking the 45 into a pocket in case you want to do some available light stuff though.

A couple more thoughts:

1. Where to stand - I think folk wisdom says on the side very near one end. Since you are biased, the end your son's team are attacking will be better. You will be in a good position for goalmouth scrambles and if someone attacks down the wing you should get a good view of them coming towards you. I wouldn't bother trying to follow the action around - it moves faster than you do and it's so-and-so's law that something exciting will happen at the spot you have just left.

2. Does the stadium have an upstairs? If it does, see if you can get up and do a scenery shot from the front row looking down on the pitch. Maybe leave the pitch at half-time and hoof up to the end your guys will be attacking in the second half. You should be able to get a panoramic shot which includes all the players and shows the stadium - and they will like that, win or lose, even if they are ant-sized.

3. Are there any games before the final where you could practice? Obviously not in this cup since they are in the final, but there might be league, other cup or even Sunday pub team kickabouts. It would give you a much better feel for the action, what kind of focal lengths and shutter speeds you need and so on. You may well feel a bit overwhelmed first time out - so better to feel that on a less important game than the cup final!

John
Again John...

Excellent advice, I don't normally go into something without having a good idea, but I fully understand the anxiety of being overwhelmed. I feel a lot more prepared at the moment thanks to your advice.

I have two bodies both micro four thirds and only one adapter...so I may be swapping between all of my four thirds lenses... So I might just order another adapter now.

Pardon the pun... I may have to just "wing it" on the day to see what I get in relation to where I will be standing, but I want the images to be as sharp and professional as possible.

I would like to be situated near the goalmouth, and thanks for the tip on not following the action !! I think I am supposed to try and get a good shot of everyone in the team, maybe both teams.

Do I have to stay in one position on the pitch?

Again thanks John....
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Old 23rd April 2015
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Re: Football

FWIW, in addition to Johns good advice about positioning in the stadium I think I would also suggest you consider shooting in burst mode, particularly if it's fast moving goalmouth action you're trying to capture.
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Old 24th April 2015
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Re: Football

Over the years I've taken photos of my daughter playing football; its a lot harder than it looks. I would second all of what John has said. I had to ramp the ISO up to keep a high shutter speed but I also shot wide open to try and blur the background. Realistically a long telephoto will compress the image and keep the background blurred which makes the players stand out. But you will want the players at a fair distance. Standing on the sidelines I found that they would literally come within feet of you which meant a wide angle zoom worked well...until the play moved off and then they became ants! I used the 12-60mm and the 50-200mm but I got a lot of mediocre images amongst a few reasonable ones. Usually being winter the light was poor and it was hard to keep a high enough shutter speed; I got a lot of blurred shots through movement. Hopefully at this time of year it shouldn't be a problem though.

I try and take my camera to Watford even though you are not allowed to photograph the game, although they are not bothered about phones or compact cameras. I have been spoken to a number of times....I assume they constantly scan the crowd for trouble, see the telephoto lens and send over the steward! The only times I get away with it are the games between Watford and Reading when my brother's company sponsor a box and I am not quite so visible. Then I used the 50-200, a fast shutter speed and continuous shooting. Generally I've been near the goal, side on and quite high up...not ideal but I've managed some good shots.

We've also had a sports photographer come and talk to our camera club a few times. It won't help you much but they set up one camera behind the goal mouth and fire it remotely. They then tend to sit at the side of the pitch with their 500mm lenses shooting wide open. I'll often watch them (jealously!) and some do use a mono pod.

I'm not sure if any of this will be of help but I would definitely recommend going down to some Sunday league games and practising. They might be quite happy for you to photograph their game especially if they get some images out of it.

The only other thing that it might be worth considering is to hire the EC14 converter from Ian; its not too expensive and it would give you that longer reach plus allow you to isolate players from the background. I hope it goes well!
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  #8  
Old 25th April 2015
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Re: Football

When is the game, Alan? I have a 4/3-m4/3 adapter that I won't need over the next couple of weeks - it is the Panasonic DMW-MA1E, not the Oly MMF-3, so it works fine but doesn't have weathersealing. If we have time you are welcome to borrow it, I could pop it in the post on Monday.

As Anne said, you could think about hiring an EC-14 from Ian (you're not borrowing mine, it's still rugby season, sorry ). If you do that, you could ask Ian if he has an MMF-3 to hire as well.

Of course, all this is pretty academic if the game is this afternoon!

Another point - you say that you want to get pics of all the players. I suspect that is a tall order, even if you just try it for your son's team. I try to spread the shots around at rugby, and even though I know the guys and the way the team plays I usually end up with a pretty lopsided collection. What seems to happen is that somebody has a very good game one week and is always in the thick of the action so I get loads of good shots of him, and the next week he is quiet and hardly features at all. I reckon that trying to do that with a bunch of strangers whose patterns of play you don't know will take too much concentration and you are likely to miss too many good shots as a result.

Having said that, it would be good to spend chunks of time concentrating on the attackers, then the defenders, and make sure you get some of the goalie. If you are at the end your own team is attacking, the goalie is 100 yards away - but if you go to the other end to get photos of him they will score. You can't win!

As for where to stand - the first thing to check is where you are allowed. Assuming you can go anywhere, I'm not sure that next to the goal would be good. You would be close (possibly too close) to plenty of action, but it might be difficult to get clear shots without the goalposts or other bodies getting in the way. I suggest picking a spot and watching for a bit, seeing what happens where and maybe trying somewhere different after a little while. What not to do is chase the ball up and down the pitch all the time, as it moves faster than you do.

It might even be worth getting the odd shot of the match officials doing their stuff. I think they feel a bit like drummers do in bands - they are always there but the only time anyone pays them any attention is when they want to swear at them!

And finally, just to stress it again, practice if you get the chance.

John
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Old 26th April 2015
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Re: Football

You don't say what age the players are?

I found you really have to get signed permission from both the Home and Away team in order to safely photograph any under 14 team to avoid " irate parent syndrome". if you want to provide or sell on images.

I have had to give up School Sports Days because of this.

A symptom of this age we live in sad to say.
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  #10  
Old 26th April 2015
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Re: Football

A sad reflection, as you say. Definitely worth checking.

At our rugby club, the parents sign a release form when they sign their little darlings up which says that events may be photographed and used for publicity purposes. Likewise when other clubs come to play matches or tournaments. I still feel a bit wary when photographing and make sure I am wearing a club shirt and have my membership card, and know who our Child Protection Officer is so I can refer any complaint to them.

Having said that, I have never yet had any trouble. Rather the opposite in fact - there might be a game going on with what looks like hundreds or under-9s buzzing around like wasps and a proud mum asks if I can photograph her sproglet - difficult when the little *****ers all look the same to me!

John

Last edited by Bikie John; 26th April 2015 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 27th April 2015
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Re: Football

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne View Post
Over the years I've taken photos of my daughter playing football; its a lot harder than it looks. I would second all of what John has said. I had to ramp the ISO up to keep a high shutter speed but I also shot wide open to try and blur the background. Realistically a long telephoto will compress the image and keep the background blurred which makes the players stand out. But you will want the players at a fair distance. Standing on the sidelines I found that they would literally come within feet of you which meant a wide angle zoom worked well...until the play moved off and then they became ants! I used the 12-60mm and the 50-200mm but I got a lot of mediocre images amongst a few reasonable ones. Usually being winter the light was poor and it was hard to keep a high enough shutter speed; I got a lot of blurred shots through movement. Hopefully at this time of year it shouldn't be a problem though.

I try and take my camera to Watford even though you are not allowed to photograph the game, although they are not bothered about phones or compact cameras. I have been spoken to a number of times....I assume they constantly scan the crowd for trouble, see the telephoto lens and send over the steward! The only times I get away with it are the games between Watford and Reading when my brother's company sponsor a box and I am not quite so visible. Then I used the 50-200, a fast shutter speed and continuous shooting. Generally I've been near the goal, side on and quite high up...not ideal but I've managed some good shots.

We've also had a sports photographer come and talk to our camera club a few times. It won't help you much but they set up one camera behind the goal mouth and fire it remotely. They then tend to sit at the side of the pitch with their 500mm lenses shooting wide open. I'll often watch them (jealously!) and some do use a mono pod.

I'm not sure if any of this will be of help but I would definitely recommend going down to some Sunday league games and practising. They might be quite happy for you to photograph their game especially if they get some images out of it.

The only other thing that it might be worth considering is to hire the EC14 converter from Ian; its not too expensive and it would give you that longer reach plus allow you to isolate players from the background. I hope it goes well!

Anne..

Thank you also for your in depth response, the match was yesterday and I got the same results and experiences you described.

I took all my lenses... I tried 4 of those..

45mm .. ok
75mm... Excellent for mid range close ups.
14-54mm Excellent for wider angle
50-200mm Excellent for distance ( but harder to follow game play)

I stuck with the 75mm & 14-54mm lenses and kept both around my neck and could alternate quickly between... and at one point had both pointing at the same time.

It is hard.........I shot 800 + images and crop will give me some good usable images, however I fear the sports papers will not be purchasing any.

Thank you kindly for advice and sharing your experiences, I might stick with fashion.

Best wishes

Alan
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Old 27th April 2015
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Re: Football

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imageryone View Post
You don't say what age the players are?

I found you really have to get signed permission from both the Home and Away team in order to safely photograph any under 14 team to avoid " irate parent syndrome". if you want to provide or sell on images.

I have had to give up School Sports Days because of this.

A symptom of this age we live in sad to say.
I am all too aware of this.......... sad really I have younger children and I am terrified of pointing my camera around when other kids are around.

Fortunately the match was for over 18's and no such restrictions.
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Old 27th April 2015
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Re: Football

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
When is the game, Alan? I have a 4/3-m4/3 adapter that I won't need over the next couple of weeks - it is the Panasonic DMW-MA1E, not the Oly MMF-3, so it works fine but doesn't have weathersealing. If we have time you are welcome to borrow it, I could pop it in the post on Monday.

As Anne said, you could think about hiring an EC-14 from Ian (you're not borrowing mine, it's still rugby season, sorry ). If you do that, you could ask Ian if he has an MMF-3 to hire as well.

Of course, all this is pretty academic if the game is this afternoon!

Another point - you say that you want to get pics of all the players. I suspect that is a tall order, even if you just try it for your son's team. I try to spread the shots around at rugby, and even though I know the guys and the way the team plays I usually end up with a pretty lopsided collection. What seems to happen is that somebody has a very good game one week and is always in the thick of the action so I get loads of good shots of him, and the next week he is quiet and hardly features at all. I reckon that trying to do that with a bunch of strangers whose patterns of play you don't know will take too much concentration and you are likely to miss too many good shots as a result.

Having said that, it would be good to spend chunks of time concentrating on the attackers, then the defenders, and make sure you get some of the goalie. If you are at the end your own team is attacking, the goalie is 100 yards away - but if you go to the other end to get photos of him they will score. You can't win!

As for where to stand - the first thing to check is where you are allowed. Assuming you can go anywhere, I'm not sure that next to the goal would be good. You would be close (possibly too close) to plenty of action, but it might be difficult to get clear shots without the goalposts or other bodies getting in the way. I suggest picking a spot and watching for a bit, seeing what happens where and maybe trying somewhere different after a little while. What not to do is chase the ball up and down the pitch all the time, as it moves faster than you do.

It might even be worth getting the odd shot of the match officials doing their stuff. I think they feel a bit like drummers do in bands - they are always there but the only time anyone pays them any attention is when they want to swear at them!

And finally, just to stress it again, practice if you get the chance.

John
John,

Thank you once again... the match was On Sunday/ yesterday and I used your advice, although I ended up favouring my 75mm which was stuck on one of the bodies with no converter.

On the other body.. I tried the 50-200mm and got some usable images... but it was hard to follow the gameplay.. and zooming in and out was hard as the ball keeps moving.

I decided to stick with the 14-54mm and then got better coverage of where the ball was... and also tried to get individual shots with the 75mm ( great cropping on the 75mm)

The 75mm is one of my favourite lenses now...

The stadium was a beautiful stadium,( maidstone) although they had closed two sections off and I was restricted to two sides of the pitch, with all the gameplay being focussed at the wrong end.

I was very lucky to get "press photographer" high vis jacket... I am lucky that the local rag did not show up. I was provided access onto the pitch

The one issue I had was carrying too much with me.. I even brought a foldable chair and flask ( did not need) so it restricted me a little..

I will post some of the images.... when I have been through 850+

Clearly I knew nothing about football... as when I asked the man next to me if a penalty had been awarded he said " no it's a free kick" and then he walked off.. ( he probably does not know anything about fashion photography)

Thank you very very much John for your kind offers.... I shall reciprocate with the offer of use on my lenses.

Best wishes


Alan
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Old 27th April 2015
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Re: Football

Glad you had a good day. You will have fun wading through all those images! I should have added an extra piece of advice - carry spare batteries and make sure they are fully charged

Interesting that you found the 75 more useful than the 50-200. I look forward to seeing a few samples.

John
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Re: Football

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Glad you had a good day. You will have fun wading through all those images! I should have added an extra piece of advice - carry spare batteries and make sure they are fully charged

Interesting that you found the 75 more useful than the 50-200. I look forward to seeing a few samples.

John
Best advice...

The OMD EM1 eats batteries quite literally.. I'm glad the game only has two halves!!
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