Although I am not really specialized in taking images in fast, action loaded situations - you know, wether food nor buildings run a lot around - I got assigned to shot some soccer-games. The team from FC Seuzach 3 wanted to have some images from there games and by the end of the season a photo-book for their trainer because he was leaving the team. I like new challenges so I accepted and had a blast - read further when interested.
My assignment was for five to six games, which is almost three quarters of the season. So it started quite early with the first game in March. Still cold outside, with no real experience in this field I took my first few hundred shots of a soccer game. The turned out (surprisingly?) well for a first try although I cut of a lot of feets.
I reviewed all the images and realized some points I could improve in, per example adjust the focus-point to not cut off the feet. But the next game held some new challenges for me: it was a night-game. To capture the action I had to shoot with high-ISO which isn't really fortunate for the image-quality. I went up until ISO8000 to get a decent shutter-speed and introduced a lot of noise therefore, of whom I could render out a large amount in post-processing. But I decided to use this images only in small for the book.
The next few games where all in daylight and so I was able to use my learned lessons from the past games to improve to shot some action-shots. With time I also begann to move up and down the field to elevate new view-angles. Besides all that it was fun to interact more with the team. The thought I will be from the press at the first game, and started to recognize my after the third game.
One game was completely different to all others as the team scored eleven goals and won by 1 to 11. Thats rather unusual in this league and was a lot of fun to capture. I had the chance to capture a lot of different player scoring a goal and collected a few images of the whole team cheering after the goals. To celebrate this victory we made - as the trainer wasn't present it was easy - a group-photo in front of the scoreboard. The opponents where funny enough to change the result to 12-11 after the match had finished, so I had to make that right again in Photoshop.
Gaining more confidence I started to play around with shutter-speed to capture some images with a bit more motion in it. That brought the images a level up in my opinion. Also I started to have two cameras with me, one with a long lens and one with a wide-angle-lens for the scenes closer to me.
The final game was against the team from the town we life (and I played for a "few" years back), FC Wiesendangen. It was a night-game again and to made it even harder it was during a thunderstorm in heavy rain. High-ISO was clear from the start, but then I still just got around 1/50sec shutter-speed. It was the most difficult game of all.
Standing in the rain for 90 minutes made me even stand out for the home-team Wiesendangen which mentioned my in their Facebook-Post from the game...even when not in the nicest way ;)
After all that I had 420 images plus a few which where given to me from the team to put into a photo-book. It took my a while to come up with an idea how to arrange them. I didn't wanted them to look like a year-book and opted for a single page for every player, a few full-page-images, a few theme-specific images and pages with a lot of images on it. I think it turned out pretty nice. And by the feedback I got from the team (and the trainer) they liked it too which makes my happy, of course.
A huge thank you to all the guys from FC Seuzach 3 for this amazing opportunity! It was so much fun and I really became a fan of you all :)
Some conclusions I took from this experience:
- Be early enough before the game, this gives you time to adapt to the location, the light and leaves you with enough time to adjust all the camera settings. The player warming up give you the chance to try a few things out before the game starts.
- Take two cameras with two different lenses with you. It helps to get different images and your prepared for every situation. My main Camera was the Canon 5D Mark 3 with the Canon EF 100-400mm on it. The second camera was my Canon 5DsR with the Canon EF 24-105mm on it. Those two gave me the freedom to shoot almost every situation.
- For night-games make sure to have a camera with high-Iso-capability on one hand and a telephoto-lens with a decent aperture. Zoomed out to 400mm - which I was most of the time - my aperture started at f/6.3 which is way to closed for the dark. It was okay, but if you shoot those kind of images regularly make sure to have a lens with a good starting-aperture (f/4 or larger).
- Have fun!
Feel free to check out the images I took usually by visiting my website matthiasbader.ch or my online-shop. If you like I would appreciate a follow on this social-media-channels: