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Quick Tips for Parents for Better Kids’ Soccer Game Pictures

Better Kids’ Soccer Game Pictures Now!


Photo Credit - Beth Rankins

Soccer has always been a favorite team sport that kids join in grade school. As with any parent, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing your little one participate in their first field match and so – out comes our cameras!

Unfortunately, most kids’ soccer game pictures fail to capture the excitement and action the event presented so many parents decide to just record the whole thing with a video camera.

While that’s a viable solution, there will always be something special and tangible about having a good photo of your child’s first goal or tackle, particularly when printed and framed.

I have nothing against video cameras, but usually not all visitors are willing to sit down and watch your child’s first ever soccer game for minutes, if not hours. Not to mention editing a video takes a lot of skill and hard work! Don’t assume your friends and family (or even yourself) have the patience of watching a shaky video either.

Having a nice photo, with the just the right timing, angle and lighting, will definitely bring up a better conversation, memory, and praise to your little one’s efforts on the field.

Here are some easy-to-follow basic fundamental tips that anyone can do to improve on shooting your kids’ soccer game pictures:

Use a High Shutter Speed

For beginners, shutter speed is the term used in photography to describe the amount of time that a camera’s shutter remains open. It is described as 1/1000, 1/500, and so on. Refer to this article more information about basic exposure control.

This determines how much a camera can capture fast moving objects and “freeze” them into place – the higher the shutter speed, the sharper the photo.

By setting your camera to a high speed setting (you can do this by simply choosing at least 1/250 and above on your camera’s manual setting), it enables you to “freeze” fast-moving objects. This action will definitely produce a clear picture of a soccer ball gloating in midair as the kid strikes it hard to the goal.

Use Higher ISO

Most soccer games are usually in bright sunlight, which means lighting should not be a problem. However, soccer games continue even as the rain falls and sometimes, late in the afternoon when the sun is fading into darkness.

You’ll need more light in order to sustain the higher shutter speed required for motion-stopping photos, but since light is low, you have to bump your ISO setting higher.

Setting an ISO range between 800 to 1600 often is necessary to maintain higher shutter speeds.

Again, please refer to the basic exposure control article if you’re not familiar with the terms and concept.

Use a Long Lens or Zoom In

Most of the time, the spectators (parents) sit quite far from where the action is, and unless you’re fortunate enough to get permission to stay on the field, you need to have a long lens to get close enough to get any details of your kid on the field.

Kids' Soccer Game Pictures

Photo Credit - USAG Humphreys

A long lens, generally between 70mm to 300mm in focal length comes in very handy in this situation. If you have a zoom lens on your camera, use it. These focal lengths are most often used by sports photographers because it allows them to get up-close-and-personal with the subject without being intrusive.

Make sure you bring a monopod or tripod to keep the camera steady as a long lens tends to be harder to hold and therefore, harder to keep an image sharp.

Use a Faster Lens (for Interchangeable Lens Cameras Only)

If you have a DSLR or any interchangeable lens camera, using a faster lens, meaning, a lens with an aperture f/3.5 or larger (preferably over 80mm in focal length, if you can’t get close), allow you to separate the subject from the background better as well as letting you use a faster shutter speed because of the larger lens opening allowing more light in.

Move Around, Look Around

Most photographs look the same, particularly if you’re sitting on one spot throughout the game. So make sure you change your position from time to time. If you can’t move to the field, at least move to the other side of the bleachers, if possible.

Try to get photos of your kid’s teammates, coaches, opponents, the entire field, the crowd, etc. as well. Remember this is a soccer match, so capture the whole atmosphere to tell the whole story.

Anticipate the Action

Know the sport somewhat. It’s hard to predict where your kid will be if you have no idea where a striker is often positioned, for example. When you start understanding the basics of soccer, anticipating and expecting when a cross pass will reach the striker, for example, is critical to better decisive-moment pictures.

Show up during their training sessions and practice shooting while they’re practicing playing!

I hope these tips can get you started to taking more personal and higher quality of your kids’ soccer games pictures. As with any type of photography, it’s critical that you practice often and get to know the subject or scene well. So keep showing up in your kids’ practice session so you can get a feel of how the game goes ahead of time.

As an added bonus, your constant appearance in practices may earn you better shooting locations in real games if you’re in good terms with the coach and school! ;)

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