Youth Sports - How would you handle this?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by francis_higgins, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. I have a working interview w/ a local youth sports studio this weekend. The interview, as they described it to me, is as follows:

    "You will get about 10-15 minutes and 400 frames to get as many printable shots of as many players in the time frame. Your images will be reviewed early next week and then we will make official offers. There are 6 positions to fill."
    I will be shooting youth soccer, outdoors in Northern California sometime between 9am - noon.
    I shoot Canon (5D and a Rebel XS). I plan to rent a lens.
    My questions are:
    What camera and lens would you use for this?
    What camera settings would you start with (yes, I know it all depends on the shooting conditions)?
    What would your overall strategy and method of shooting be?
    Thanks you very much for any input!!
  2. I'd use the 5D and a 70-200 f2.8. A longer lens, like a 300, might be too limiting if you can only use one body to 'qualify' for this position. Plus, you would need a monopod with a 300mm. 400 shots is a lot to get in 10-15 min! You can do it, but that's what I would shoot, almost, in a one hour youth game.
    Stettings: continuous AF, auto WB, f2.8 - 3.5, ISO 400, central area metering, aperture priority. these should give plenty fast shutter speeds.
    Shoot with sun to your back or side. Most youth players can't head the ball, except the older players perhaps, so that eliminates trying to catch those moments. They sub players quite often so you should be able to get all players on the field. I generally just follow the ball and action and shoot those kids. Some kids don't get the ball much so you have to watch for and capture them anyways. Watch for 'emotion' shots after a goal. Don't forget the goalies. Get about 1/4 from each end of field to shoot them. Often one team is better and takes more shots on goal than the other. Figure out which goalie is working hardest while taking general field action for a few minutes then get some shots of the busy goalie. Then move to other end a hope the other goalie gets some action! Look for good shots of kids on sidelines waiting to be subbed. Sometimes the light hits them just right, ...or something else will present a worthwhile shot.
    Good luck. Have you shot soccer before? If not, try to get to a practice before the game and do some practicing yourself! The timing of the action in every sport is somewhat different. As well as between age groups. I recently shot a boys varsity (HS) game then went to watch and maybe shoot, a girls club team (probably young HS age) and they were so much slower than the HS varsity boys I didn't take my cameras out.
    You can see some of my sports galleries at . These are all printable, although not yet fully edited or high res files.
  3. Steve - thx for the great tips. I was leaning toward the 70-200 2.8 for some of the reasons you mentioned (may be too limiting given I only have 15 minutes).
    Though the 300 is often said to be the best soccer lens, I am concerned that this may be a midget league small field so I do not want to get stuck in a tight shooting situation w/ the 300. They have a post production team that does cropping and balancing on the fly at the event. It is pretty clear that they are looking for maximum # of sellable shots, so a figure a shot with the 200 w a bit of room to crop is more favorable than a shot from the 300 that is too tight to frame. The upside of the 300 is I would get shots that stand out (based on the assumption that more ppl shoot w the 70-200 vs the 300). So…. 70-200 is looking like the right choice overall.
    I like your idea of anticipating who the strong team is. In a fifteen minute window, anticipation will be important. My strategy is to shoot faces. Faces on the ball are preferable. If there is no action, I will shoot the off the ball stuff. Focus is clearly on volume.
    No, I have little experience w/ sports shooting. I am primarily a fashion and beauty photographer, so I am pretty green w/ the live action stuff.
    Thx again for your guidance. Very much appreciated.
  4. Francis -
    One other thing - set the camera on Machine Gun Mode and continuous AF.
    You won't have a lot of time to compose and focus - since you've basically got to shoot 1 shot every 2 seconds to get to 400. (26 shots per minute approx.)
    Personally - I'd use a Nikon D300 with 70-200 - the D300 is more of a sports body than the 5D - and has a higher frame rate.
    Also - if it is cloudy - I'd go ISO 800 to ensure that I get a shutter speed that will stop the action.
    I assume that they (the company you're interviewing with keeps all of the images? and you don't get compensated for the "interview" if you're not selected... hmmm...sounds like a cheap way for them to get coverage of an event without paying for it....
  5. Francis,
    While I’ll admit that I tend to get excited from time to time and shoot waaay too many frames, even I never shoot 400 frames in 10 minutes. That’s one shot every second and a half — for ten minutes straight! Even “spray ’n’ pray” doesn’t begin to describe it.
    So, either they don’t know or don’t care about photography and are only interested in cracking the whip over their photographic minions, or they believe in the power of idiotic micromanagement.
    I personally wouldn’t do the shoot at all, or at least would set my own pace and go for quality over quantity — and, therefore, pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t make the cut.
    Frankly, I think this is one of those games you can only win by not playing.
  6. Ben -
    The more I thought about your comment the more I agree...
    400 "keepers" in 15 minutes is going to be tough for anyone - I doubt that even the best SI shooters could do that for a kids soccer game.
  7. Yes - this does look like a scam to get a bunch of ppl to shoot for free. Thx for all the info.
  8. I have shot photos at maybe 200 Soccer games over the last 4 years or so with player ages ranging from under 9 to adult.
    There is no way I could or would shoot 400 meaningful shots in 15 minutes of any Soccer game I have ever seen either live or on TV. As others have mentioned this seems like a total scam to me.
    Who does the PP? Who keeps the copyright? If you do the pp then I would make a large and obvious watermark on each and every image submitted.
  9. I shoot MLS games around the country. With a 5d, you will be hard pressed to take 400 shots in that time frame. I typically shoot about 500 shots per 45 minute half, between two Canon 1d bodies (8-10 frames per second). good luck there,
    Tip, Soccer is as much about the emotion as it is about the action. capture the emotion and your keeper percentage will go up. additionally, in soccer you need to anticipate the action, it is one of the more difficult sports to shoot as the play does not stop and reset like most sports.
    As to the business model being presented. questionable...
  10. I can't add anything to the equipment discussion. I do have one comment. This outfit sounds like kid'nappers (short for kid snappers). The key is "to get as many printable shots of as many players in the time frame ". You not only have to try to get 400 shots, you need to try to get a tightly cropped image of each kid. This is especially difficult with younger age groups where then tend to play in a swarm. Have you ever played a video game where the object is to shoot every thing is sight? That would be good practice for this assignment.

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