Sunday, October 05, 2008
Soccer Team Photos
For the past couple of soccer seasons, I've had the honor of taking my stepson's soccer team photos. We take group pictures of the whole team and individual pictures of each player in uniform, and give a CD-ROM containing all the pictures to each kid's parents.
It's a lot of work, but it is fun. It's not often that a photographer gets the opportunity to have so many models to work with. The models are often uncooperative, but it's still a great opportunity to practice portrait-taking techniques. And taking pictures of kids is really easy: you don't have to worry about wrinkles, blemishes, yellow teeth, bald spots, or any of the other things that grown-ups hate in their pictures.
Here are some things I've learned through making mistakes:
- Try to get the pictures early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, so that the light is somewhat controllable. A cloudy day is best, but it is not feasible to try to schedule all the players to get together in accordance with a weather forecast.
- Take shots in the shade. All the parents will want a picture of the kids standing on the field in front of a soccer goal, but unless it's a cloudy day, sunlight is too harsh.
- Have a soccer ball for the players to hold. (For other sports, have appropriate props.)
- Have an assistant who can direct the kids, pose them, smooth their hair, etc. (My wife does this very well.)
- Frame the pictures such that you can crop to 8x10 and 5x7.
- When photographing kids, it is a good idea to let them shoot a few giving them permission to make funny faces and gestures. This makes it a lot easier to get them to behave when you want to take the "real pictures."
- Let the kids be themselves. The pictures are better if they show a little of each kids personality.
- Parents are usually pretty cooperative, but make sure the kids look at you, not at their parents, while you are shooting.
- Take a lot of pictures. This gives the parents a lot to choose from, so each one can choose the picture where their kid looks the best.
- Don't charge for taking pictures. Then you don't have to worry too much about complaints. We just ask the parents to each chip in a dollar to pay for the CD's.
- Remember that the goal is to have fun.