One Unbelievably Simple Tip for Better Sports Photography

sports photography

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With baseball season fully underway and football just around the corner, sports photography is about to hit its busiest time of year. And whether you’re just shooting your own kids’ Little League games, or you’d like to make your living catching the sideline action, Matthew “The Body” Kemmetmueller, a high-volume senior and high school sports photographer, has one often-overlooked, but oh-so important tip.

First, though, you need to know where to be — which means actually knowing the sport.

“If you’re going to shoot sports, you need to understand the sport,” Matthew explains. “You need to know where the action is going to take place. You have to be a step ahead of it.”

“If you don’t know the game, you can get in trouble from the refs,” he cautions. Which seems obvious — though photographers still sometimes end up in the wrong place, which can impede gameplay, or even get injured.

But for those of us who are shooting from the safety of the stands, or even those who are covering the game for multiple organizations and purposes, there’s one (surprisingly easy) trick that he says many casual photographers overlook.

“You always want to shoot from the opposing team’s side,” he says. Yes, you want to dare to go into enemy territory, because you want to ensure that the fans of the team you’re cheering on are visible.

“You want those colors — your team colors — in the background.”

When you’re shooting, be sure to take photos from both sides of the stadium — that way, you’ll be sure to have images of not only both teams, but both groups of fans. This trick may seem extremely basic, but it clearly isnt; in 2013, Sports Illustrated ended up in quite a bit of hot water over a Photoshopped cover, wherein University of Washington Huskies fans’ gear was changed to make it look as though the photo had been shot from their side of the field, with rival University of Oregon fans in the background.

Want more real-talk from Matt about senior photography, portraiture, and how to make your clients love you? Check out his CreativeLive class

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Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.