I have learned a lot in the past year working at The Daily Tar Heel, so I thought I would share some tips that my editors gave me, as well as some things I’ve picked up along the way!
Always shoot on manual. Before I started at The Daily Tar Heel, I had never used manual on a camera. I had always shot on auto, maybe changing a few of the settings around. But I soon learned that when shooting manual, all you need to know are three settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I found an article here that explains it pretty well.
Ditch the camera strap. When the photographer I was shadowing at my first women’s basketball game told me to take off the camera strap, I thought he was insane. I was pretty sure I was going to drop my camera on my face, or even worse, on the court. But, after the game was over, I realized that he was right. Shooting sports is fast-paced and you have to be ready to crouch into uncomfortable positions to get a good angle on command. If the camera strap is on, you’ll end up getting caught up in it, losing mobility, and may even end up with half a camera strap blocking your shot. Ditch it.
Wear comfortable shoes with a wide range of mobility. While the men’s tennis team may be wildly attractive, and you may want to look your best in hopes of getting their mother’s phone number to send her pictures you take of her conveniently-single son, it is way more important to wear clothes and shoes that can move around with you. To get the best shots, you’ll sometimes have to contort your body in the most unnatural positions, or lunge to the left to get the net out of your shot. If you sit in one place the whole game, don’t expect to have interesting shots. Move around to capture many different angles, lighting, and perspectives.
Sports require a high shutter speed. To anyone who is working for a school newspaper like me, your school newspaper most likely has equipment you can borrow. Because I had my own camera, I often preferred to use that. However, shooting sports requires really high shutter speeds – otherwise you end up with blurs instead of bodies! So, rather than attempting to use your own lenses (which are probably great for normal shooting), switch your normal lens out for your photo desk’s huge lens with a high shutter speed. It’ll pay off in your photos.