Sports photography is certainly not something I specialize in, though I do love bringing my camera to sporting events like football, basketball, and baseball. When it comes to my children, they have a few hobbies that loosely fall into the category of sports: dance and gymnastics.
Both dance and gymnastics often have certain photographic challenges: low light, fast movement, and inability to move to ideal locations to shoot the photograph.
My daughter Jenna recently performed at her studio’s recreation holiday show. It was fairly dark and there were not many spots for me to go capture images. So I did the best I could. Here are some of the images along with tips.
- Shoot at a high ISO – shoot at the highest acceptable ISO for your camera. I was at ISO 3200-6400 on my Canon 5D MKII for these shots.
- Use a fast focusing lens – I used my 50 1.2.
- Shoot at a fairly wide open aperture. I shot most pictures at f 2.2-2.8 so I let more light in.
- Use a fast shutter speed – gymnasts move fast. I varied speed, but primarily was at 1/500.
- Use a flash to help stop action and light the subject. I used my 580ex (ceilings were too high so I aimed the flash directly at her versus bouncing)
- Consider black and white if the color are harsh from the lighting and spotlights.
- Consider staying with color when it sets the mood.
- Embrace grain and noise. You cannot get noise-free image at this high an ISO, so use the noise to convey a feel to the images.
- Try and capture feeling and emotion with the light.
- Be flexible. Sometimes you may not get he angle you want or there may be a barrier (such as a person) blocking you. Do the best you can.
- Be creative. Look for environment to enhance the image (for example the mirror showing a reflection).
- Take a silhouette shot.
And the certificate and ribbon to make it all worth it…
Ellie was very proud of her sister. Since her gymnastics tumbling class was not part of this performance, she decided to perform for us at home.