Youth Sports Photography - What I've learned
I recently started photographing youth soccer - and more specifically my grandson's soccer team. In doing so, and I've only had three matches under my belt so far, I've learned a lot more about photography. Yeah, sports is sports right? Some of the basics of photographing sports is the same - high shutter speed, etc still apply, but I had to adapt to the players and the pace of the game. This is something new for me.
First of all, these youngsters have limited attention span. Makes you smile sometimes. They try really hard to kick the soccer ball and stay focused, unfortunately they sometimes drive the ball to the wrong goal! They're still learning for sure. But if you capture the unique learning process in your photos, it is priceless.
Next thing I learned was the human emotion side of things. Kids soccer games are a gold mine for facial expressions! These kids don't hold back what they are thinking. Tired, hot, bored, excited, dedicated, undedicated, ready to go home.... and that is all in the course of 15 minutes. It all shows on their faces. Focus on the expressions! You'll get more great photos just from this area alone.
Another thing the games are quick. You can get a bunch of really good shots in a short time span. The coaches are really good about cycling in every kid that is on the bench. Everyone gets playing time, and encouragement! I think the practice session and matches that follow are a total of 60 minutes.
Finally, the atmosphere at these matches are really good from both the coaches and parents / spectators. Nothing negative so I find myself renewed with positive thoughts of the human race after coming from events. Amazing the patience of the coaches too! Wow.
So if you get an opportunity, and yes it is an opportunity, to photograph one of these youth events - go for it. You won't be disappointed and will come out a better person for just being there.
Have a great week!
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