HELP! Shooting Football with 50mm Lens!?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by john_jacobs|7, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Tomorrow I will be shooting Eagles Training Camp....but I have a problem...
    I only have a 50mm lens! I have a Nikon D90 and the pictures being published don't have to be very high res. So I think I'll be able to crop them. Does anyoooone have any tips on how I can pull this off?
  2. Can you describe where you'll be allowed to stand, relative to the action? Are all of the shots you need things that take place on the field?

    If you have to crop a lot, make sure that you're shooting at the lowst ISO comfortably can, and that you're using a high enough shutter speed to keep things crisp looking. It's a balancing act.
  3. Since it's training camp and they will be outdoors - you should be able to do as Matt suggests and shoot low ISO (200) and higher shutter speed (1/500 +)
    Get as close as you're allowed - Not sure how Reid is - but some can be pretty anal about who is taking what photos of what during practices.
  4. I will be leaving promptly at 6 am tomorrow to get the best possible spot. Does anyone know if the ISO settings on Nikons that are below 200 (the "lo 0.3-lo 1.0") beneficial to creating less noise? Or am I better off just shooting at 200?
  5. I don't know what the rules for photography are at their training camps, but I am astonished that they don't carefully control photography, giving only a handful of approved pro photographers permission and good access.
    Can you describe what you expect w.r.t photography, what you have been told about taking photos there, how far away you will be, if you will be photographing action on the field and/or meeting the players afterwards, and if you really have legal permission to publish the images that you take, etc.
    Of course, I could be wrong, but my suspicion about control of photography is supported because of the fact that when I did a Google Image search on {eagles football "training camp" photos}, I only see high quality images that look like they were taken on pro gear and/or published by news organizations. Although I didn't spend a lot of time on this, I didn't see a single photo that looked like it was taken by an amateur.
    Tom M
    PS - By any chance are you this 10 y.o. with the same name as your screen name on ?
  6. Tom- your response is quite insulting....and it's kind of funny you feel that challenged by amateurs that you feel they shouldn't be allowed to photograph sporting events. To clear things up, I'm not that 10 year old and I find it kind of strange you felt the need to research my name, but whatever. I'm 15 and my uncle works for Bicycling magazine, and he's offered me this opportunity. I aspire to be a fashion photographer, but I'm trying to build my portfolio up with whatever I can. If my pictures are good enough they'll be published on fitbie of MSN. They're very strict about credentials at the training camp, but it is open to the public and I'm just going to be shooting from the best spot offered to people without credentials.
    I don't really understand why you feel the need to ask so many questions concerning this event, because as far as I know my "legal permissions" and whether or not I'm an amateur are completely irrelevant. I just want some tips on how to improve my *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* photography.
  7. To the OP - with that language, it is time for you to find some other site to post on. The questions that you were being
    asked were actually good questions and legal permissions do matter. However regardless we have a level of respect
    here that we don't need to curse here. This is not your school, we are not your friends, and this is the not the street.
  8. MH: "'s kind of funny you feel that challenged by amateurs that you feel they shouldn't be allowed to photograph sporting events...."
    MH, calm down. I'm not sure how you came up with the idea that I "feel challenged", "amateurs shouldn't be allowed to photograph sporting events", etc., but please read my post again. There is absolutely no sentiment like that in my post. You've become all defensive.
    It's not that "I" feel this way, but that pro teams (not me) often have rules in place for photography, and restrictions against the publication of images taken by photographers whom they haven't authorized. Photography at a privately owned venue like this is an entirely different situation from shooting on the street or in a public venue vs private property like a stadium or training camp grounds. For example, there have been instances described on in just the last few weeks where amateurs with pro-looking camera gear were denied permission to enter some pro sporting events, and there wasn't a thing they could do about it because it was not public property, and the team/venue owners can make any rules they want.
    I Googled your name because I was trying to reconcile how someone who, on the basis of their post, seemed to have unusual access and feels that they actually have legal permission to publish photos that they take, but yet they seem to know very little about photography and are attempting to use equipment that no pro photographer would ever use for shooting football. The only scenario I could come up with was that perhaps you were a reporter stuck in some last minute bind without a photographer.
    MH: "... I don't really understand why you feel the need to ask so many questions concerning this event, ..."
    In case you were an amateur photographer with no idea what they were getting into, my questions and comments were intended to get your attention and alert you to possible serious problems you might face: You might not be allowed to bring your camera in; you might be much further away than you would like; you will almost certainly be operating under serious legal limitations on your photography and the subsequent use of your images.
    MH: "... because as far as I know my "legal permissions" and whether or not I'm an amateur are completely irrelevant..."
    Sorry, but you really need to read up on this. There is a lot of material available on the web (and even in about limitations on the use of photos taken at events like this. To get you started, here are a few articles on the subject:
    I found these in less than 10 seconds using the search strategy: {photography restrictions pro sports. These articles were on the very 1st page of hits. There are many, many other articles about this subject.
    Have fun tomorrow, and the best of luck in building your portfolio.
    Tom M
  9. To cool the debate for a second - simple practical advice - in the good old days, 50 or more years ago, pro photographers worked mainly with standard lenses. With a 50 mm lens, you have no chance of covering the play all over the field - if the game is soccer, stand behind one of the goals with your lens poking through the netting, otherwise stand behind a goal post and try to get some frame-filling shots when the play is close at hand.
  10. Max -
    You're probably already there - but to answer your last question regarding the "Lo" iso settings - in my experience the best noise ratio and sharpness are delivered at the lowest "Base" ISO setting - In your case ISO 200.
  11. You can get great photos of a football game with a 50mm lens.... provided that you're the referee. :)
  12. Tom - excellent response to a petulant retort.
  13. One of the classic photos in NFL history was shot with a 50 mm lens.
  14. Tom - excellent response to a petulant retort.
    So excellent in fact that a newbie is now convinced that
    a) welcomes young photographers wanting to learn
    b) is only for grumpy old men.
    I wonder which?
  15. David, unfortunately your intentionally simplified 'a-OR-b' dichotomy didn't list any of the other interpretations that might also go through the mind of the OP and other readers. For example, I would hope that the the OP: now convinced that
    c) has caring, but straight-talking participants who, for example, don't want to see a kid and his family receive an unexpected letter from a lawyer saying, at best, "cease and desist", or worse, "please remit $1000, our usual fee for unauthorized use of images of our players, then cease and desist, otherwise we'll be seeing you in court".
    That being said, of course, the probability of the above scenario is small. However things like this happen, at least here in the States.
    If I was this boy's father, I can tell you that I would much rather my teenaged son hear how the real world operates by receiving some correct (but perhaps slightly blunt) advice on the internet, compared to him stumbling through life with the attitude he displayed and which was recognized by other participants (ie, instantly defensive, know-it-all about matters he obviously knows nothing about (ie, legalities), and inappropriate language for this venue). I would bet good money that if we could ask the OP's father his opinion of this, he would agree and likely have even had problems himself with his son's attitude.
    Tom M
  16. Tom, in essence you are right, but a far more economical way of saying the same thing would be: "By the way, if you haven't already, check that you have the organizer's permission and that no one there will object to being photographed." And to avoid telling the guy that he sounds 10 years old.
  17. 'tis a shame you could not get to a store on Sunday. A lens -- for example -- like the AF-S 55-200mm DX VR Nikkor would be a much better choice to shoot football from the stands. It may be a loss of time in trying to crop images taken with a 50mm lens....
    As for the OP's vocabulary, he should spend more time with a dictionary. He shows a limited array of words to express his thoughts.
  18. Dear David (Bebbington),
    I admit it, I am a grumpy old man!. I was fine with the OP's response until he decided to insert an unneccessary adjective to describe his style of photography.
    In terms of advice (which I realise is now too late) about how to photograph the event with a 50 mm lens I would concentrate on trying to capture the atmosphere and photograph people attending the camp (friends and fans of the players), especially those with team shirts or quirky clothes. These photos would be of interest to those attending - many people like to see their pictures in magazines, etc whether in print or on-line - and it would also help to build up a portfolio for the future in fashion.
  19. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    On the advice about taking the football photos it’s a bit late.
    On advice about the language and the retort and all that other stuff:
    Research is actually a very useful tool.
    Research is only what you are doing, when you ask these questions.
    Research is NOT limited to just asking questions and waiting for answers: but can also be about seeking information about the question and about the person asking the question to best ADVISE and to give the best ADVICE.
    And OFTEN the BEST advice might be beyond the scope of the question, which was asked in the first place – which if we think about it is quite logical because if we ask a question we usually are asking it about something about which we have limited knowledge – so it stands to reason that we might NOT have considered ALL the PERTINENT questions we should ask.
    Also research by the recipient of information into the background of the provider of information is a really good idea.
    I suggest you research the history of the advice givers here.
    As I have researched your history of questions – and responses to answers: I’ve formed an opinion.
    That opinion leads me to believe that there is one (one only) knee-jerk response you have made.
    We all do that from time to time.
    In that one knee-jerk response you used an inappropriate word, which might be appropriate to you, but here, in this forum, it is not.
    The questions to you are now:
    1. How did the shoot go?
    2. Did you find out anything useful from your broader research?
  20. Max, I think the initial responses were based on the fact that somebody with one body and a 50 who doesn't know what settings to use on his camera simply does not normally get to the sidelines or other good shooting positions at a professional sporting event. I'm sure you didn't intend it that way, but it came across as one of those "I'm shooting a wedding for $100 this weekend, what settings should I use on my camera" posts that really ticks off people who do this for a living. But once you say that your uncle is a professional and taking you under his wing, that makes all the difference in the world. I've had friends "assist" me at the Miss America Pageant and know of others who have had their teenage son "assist" at things like the presidential inauguration here in Washington. With that kind of connection, you can get your foot in the door and have the opportunity to shoot good pictures. It's all about access and connections, so use what you can. As for shooting pro football with a 50, if you are on the sidelines, it's just a matter of waiting for the action to come to you. You can't shoot somebody who's way down the field, but when they are about the run out of bounds and trample the sideline photographers, that's when everybody's dropping their 400s and 600s to their sides and reaching for their 24-70s. Your 50 is the right lens in the right place at that point. As for ISO, it's daytime, so 400 is all you need. I think it was Walter Ioos -- but I may be confusing him with one of the other well known Sports Illustrated guys -- who told the story in a Pop Photo interview years ago about going I think to Yankess Stadium (maybe the Brooklyn Dodgers) and making his first published shot from up in the stands with a standard lens. He was up there because he didn't have credentials, just a ticket. And I think the photo showed something like bases loaded and runners making their moves on a game-winnig play while the profesionals' shots through long lenses only showed one runner. Not sure of the details, but the point is that you can make a good photo regardless of your equipment, so dont' be discouraged.
  21. Thanks for the tips everyone, here is the article if anyone is interested in seeing the outcome.
  22. Thanks for sharing this with us. Always great to see an image you have taken published.
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Ditto, it is always good. Thanks for posting the link.

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