Shooting locations in baseball/softball

Discussion in 'Sports' started by j_delmar, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. I am slowly expanding my sports photography freelancing and have
    recently been hired to shoot a softball tournament, this and next
    weekend. I shot today and stood mostly by first and third base. This
    got very boring (especially at first) and I tried shooting through
    the fence behind home but that proved pretty difficult. I could try
    to shoot through the entrances of the dugouts but I'm afraid I'll get
    in the way of the team and coaches. Any suggestions?
  2. Those are pretty much the standard spots, I think. Another one I like is on the first base
    side, along the line from third to home, when there's a runner in scoring position, for the
    head-on shot of the runner driving home.
  3. Basicly it's first and third, and that's where you'll get most of your shots
    anyway. Shoot the pitcher and infilelders during warmups from behind home
    plate. If the team is cool with it you can shoot an inning or so from the dugout
    door. Just shoot from the fielding team's dugout, they won't be going in and
    out during the inning. Depending on the field and your glass you can
    sometimes shoot from behind the outfield wall. but you miss a lot in that
    position so only do it for the second or third game with that team.
  4. Thanks for your answers. I did some shooting by the dugouts but unfortunately one girl batted quite foul and it nailed me right in the thigh. I am going to be black and blue for weeks. I also had one coach sit down in front of the dugout door and say to me, "Could you give me some room, I'm working here." Like I'm not? Whatever. I did get a few really great shots though.
  5. I think you've pretty much heard the answers as far as positions. You caught a nice moment there, the only thing I would have done differently is perhaps be down the line a little more so you get a full face rather than profile of the runner hitting first before the ball.
  6. Oh forgot to mention you might want to try some wide overalls. I know it's not really what the sports editors are looking for but late afternoon dramatic sun sometimes hits in the right places.
  7. Well, I'm shooting for a company that sells to the participants on-site, so mostly I end up doing character shots instead of action shots. Softball is so hard to predict - I watched so many great shots go by because my camera was pointed to where I *thought* the action would be!
  8. I've shot from behind the outfield fences and had some interesting results. Success pretty much depends on a) age of players (which affects the size of the field) and b) size of your glass. I don't have an example with me to post, but you can see an example at

    Regards ... Pat
  9. I have shot many baseball games and this is what I have learned. First off, introduce yourself to the respective coaches. Identify yourself as the official photographer for the event and tell them you will be shooting the game from the dugout area, and ask them if they are okay with that. This is probably not the first time they have had photos taken during one of their games, so this is not unusual for them. Watch where the coaches are during the game. Are they inside the dugout? Are they at the entrance to the dugout? or are they in a chair in front of the dugout? Depending on where they are located will determine where you will be able to set up.

    Now depending on whom you are shooting for will determine how you shoot the game. If you are shooting for the local newspaper, they are probably only looking for 1 shot. That shot needs to close enough to the action to easily identify the players. It also needs to catch a play where both sides are seen, i.e. a pick off throw, a stolen base, a play at the plate, a close play. They will want all of those things, ideally in 1 shot.

    Now if you are shooting to hopefully sell the photos to parents, then you have an entirely different agenda. You need to get pics of these kids, all the kids, because not everybody gets to play in the game. So you need to be on the field when they are warming up and get shots of the kids playing catch and throwing.

    You need to pay attention when they are batting whether they are batting right or left handed. The most important thing in all this is to get their face in the shot. So, you shoot right handed batters from the 1st base side, as well as left handed pitchers. And you shoot left handed batters and right handed pitchers from third base side. I will also get a sequence of shots directly behind home plate for each pitcher. I put the camera on manual focus, get right up to the screen, open the aperture up as much as possible, and zoom in to get a good shot of the pitchers face and catch the ball after it leaves his hand.

    I sometimes will get between the dugout and the on deck batter's circle to get as close as I can. You have to pay attention because of foul balls, but I haven't been hit yet.

    I am moving from first base side to third base side several times during a game. Nobody rarely says anything. As long as you are not blocking the view of a coach or player in the dugout, you should be okay. Just watch the coaches and give them their space.

    And last, you will need to have at least up to 300mm zoom. I use a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 if I am shooting during the day and I have plenty of light. If it is a night game, then I break out my 120-300mm f/2.8
    I have used a 70-200mm f/2.8 but the zoom is not strong enough. Even a play at 2nd base seems too far away.
  10. One more thought: choose your location for the lighting and the clean backgrounds. Sometimes even a few feet difference in location can make a big change in background scenery.
    Also, re the play at first shots, third base is a good spot if you want to get the fielder's face instead of the runner's (see following shot, I know it undermines my point about backgrounds but other locations at this particular field are even worse).
  11. Thanks for all the great answers. I was shooting with an f2.8 70-200 and it definitely wasn't enough zoom. The other photographer had a 100-400 which I could've switched except it didn't have a monopod (ow). I might try shooting with that one next weekend. I'm excited to go back and try again. I rather like this shot, even though it's not composed great.
  12. Don't forget that there's always room for some creativity. There are plenty of photo opportunities between plays. Mom and Dad really like the photos that they either couldn't take with their gear, or wouldn't think to take.
  13. I also make it a point to avoid photos that might be embarrassing to one of the kids. Obvious mistakes or tears don't evoke the positive feelings you want (this isn't hard hitting PJ we're talking about). Besides, from strictly a sales perspective, who wants to buy a photo of Junior striking out?
  14. I too am slowly expanding my sports photography. As a matter of fact this is what has given me the photography "bug". I have gotten a lot of feedback from the parents in regards to sequence batting photos. I am not trying to disagree with Patrick by any means, (As a matter of fact I do agree with what he is saying, especially if you plan to sell any of them.) but there has been a lot of technical corrections made simply from these pictures. The other angle that has been fun has been from center field offsetting the pitcher weather they are left or right handed. You can capture the pitcher, catcher, batter, ump (with their call)as well as the ball in mid flight. Just another option.

    I am not by any means a good sports photographer. I am still VERY MUCH a beginner, but this has been so much fun for the summer that I plan on learning as much as I can for next year... I would post an example if I knew how.
  15. Well, out of a few thousand shots, I probably got about 15 real keepers, and maybe three portfolio worthy. Here are a few faves:
  16. Also this one:
  17. Here's my two favorites...
  18. My other
  19. Whoops, wrong one... By the way, nice action shots...
  20. I often shoot from the fence along the foul line - positioning myself along short left or right field. This can give some different perspectives of fielders, base runners and batters. It can also capture the crowd - resulting in a picture with Mom and Dad applauding as their kid makes the big play. In this picture I think the reactions of the crowd are more fun than the players.
  21. I'm late to the discussion, sorry. I took hundreds of shots (digital, slide, film) this summer from every angle I could find, including the obvious choices of sitting as close as possible to 1st or 3rd, and hanging over the dugout until the umpire asked me to move. If your camera can take a burst of multiple shots, that's worth trying, pointed at either the hitter or pitcher.
  22. I knew I had this one at the time. Both were shot with a cheap plastic canon zoom, resting against a fence.
  23. My suggestion is to keep moving around. This shot was hand held from center field, about 200 feet.

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