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Live Show Recap: Sports

SPORTZ! This show was pretty fun. Justin was snowed out of the office, so he was controlling cameras remotely which is insane. His presence was notably missed in the office, but we prevailed.

You guys really showed up this week, there were a lot of great shots. Next week is storytelling, which I’m looking forward to.

Our Photoshop book is on sale! Get it here with coupon code PS10.

We start off with some photo news:

  • ENHANCE! Google AI let’s you add detail to low-res images, but it’s just guessing.
  • we got in the¬†Olympus E-M1 Mark II¬†and we’ll put out a review of it soon
  • Tamron¬†announced a new¬†70-200 f/2.8¬†as a budget alternative to the Canon and Nikon. Tony mathed it.
  • Sony 100 f/2.8 GM¬†very expensive, but it has awesome bokeh
  • Sony 85mm f/1.8¬†as a cheaper alternative to their G-Master

Time to look at your¬†pictures! I’ll highlight our picks and notable quotes below:

  • beautiful foggy¬†running¬†shot
  • “old person¬†joke
  • poor¬†goalie
  • “mini FedEx truck racing is a popular sport”
  • there’s that¬†motion!
  • surfer
  • horse¬†racing
  • “we got two crotch touchers, two face touchers, a face licker, and a judgy kid. There’s something for everyone in this picture.”
  • extreme¬†kiting?
  • “tiger rappelling, that seems inhumane”
  • motorsports

Over to me for some questions:

  • clean, low ISO or slower shutter speed for sports? You want some movement, you gotta split the difference. Depends on what you’re shooting.
  • 16×9 prints? Only for TV. That’s a weird format.

Time for a¬†portfolio¬†review. Our talented friend¬†Iris Epping! Dogs and sports. You might want to get rid of the sub-menus, most people won’t bother with them. Your work is beautiful! Great pricing page.


Time for chit-chat! Our favorite part of the show where we dissect your YouTube comments:

  • generic rich villains? Thank you.
  • rascal !!!
  • wow, that’s a lot of hate for our Chrome love
  • passion lost.
  • Tony wrote the wrong word and he will never live it down

Turns out we have a lot to say about product reviews.

Back to your photos:

  • “we always like to see the ball in any ball sport”
  • motor¬†bike
  • good¬†motion
  • “you are not the¬†father!”
  • Tony does some ball¬†sorcery¬†on this shot
  • “you always lift the youngest man to catch the ball, and that’s called a¬†wifflepuff…”
  • handsome snow¬†puppers¬†(it’s called heterochromia)
  • sportrait
  • bike¬†tricks
  • great¬†crop
  • Tokyo¬†drift
  • fish with an incidental¬†diver

Over to me for some questions:

  • Matt Granger, come over
  • Tony, what’s your beer? Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA, always.
  • G5 for review? Never, seemingly. Tell Panasonic to lend us gear. Nah, we ordered it, so we’ll have it eventually.
  • why do you hate Sony? Oh dear, are we sponsored by them or do we hate them? Make up your minds.
  • any future plans for the live show? The live show is for you, it doesn’t change much. We have other shows that we are working on,¬†Wanderlust¬†right now. And another book in the works!

Back to photos:

  • jinx!
  • “is this¬†spot color? How dare you.”
  • volleyball
  • biking
  • rooftop¬†tai chi?
  • “who are you, miracle¬†baby?”
  • great motion¬†capture¬†“hey Georgiius, this is gorgeous”
  • “this is¬†soccer¬†alright, the guys are always crying and falling over”
  • macro¬†baseball
  • street pole¬†dancing
  • yes, we call it soccer. No, it doesn’t make sense. Football is now eggball.
  • we talked over¬†this one¬†but I thought it looked great
  • fierce
  • wakeboarding
  • crazy¬†motion
  • skate¬†boarding¬†wide angle
  • cool¬†kid
  • freestyle¬†walking? This makes it look way cooler than it is.

Back to me for some questions:

  • good sports cameras that aren’t Canon or Nikon? Not really. ¬†You need a good DSLR, mirrorless have lag.
  • “I’d like if we¬†zoomed back¬†and he just had a bunch of sea gulls on a string”
  • all time favorite iconic photo? Both from¬†this podcast¬†episode we did on Arnold Newman!

Tony and Chelsea were here for¬†this shot. Who would have guessed that the tattooed beefcake didn’t win?!

A few more questions as we speed through the end:

  • if you wanted to show your undying love for Sony, where would you get the Alpha logo tattooed on you? Neck, lower back.

More photos:

  • I blush when they show mine
  • “are they fighting with corn dogs?”
  • golden hour¬†surf
  • “all those big football players look like little babies” “the brain is so dumb”
  • back¬†light
  • full contact¬†basketball
  • spartan

“…I don’t need all that.¬†You’re just proving that you can be electrocuted at any point in time and be fine.”

Back to me for your last question:

  • set up a remote camera behind a goal, how to keep it from getting stolen? “You could use a Sony, no one will want to steal that piece of crap.” Why would you need to be that far from your camera? You should be fine.¬†

And that’s our show. Join us¬†next week¬†for storytelling!


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Beginner Photography: Sports

Hey y’all! This week’s topic was sports, which, ugh. Not my interest, not my topic. I did watch the Super Bowl though, but I was told photographing the screen wouldn’t count.

Being that it’s winter, I didn’t have a ton of options for shooting sports outdoors, which is what I wanted to do. Indoor sports are incredibly difficult to shoot with it’s weird lighting conditions (read some tips on it here,) and I would have felt strange just showing up to some random event. As it turned out, I was even weirder. I decided to go shoot at Kelly Drive, which is a trail along the Wissahickon River in Philly where people go to run and bike year round. There’s a section of it called Boathouse Row where the colleges keep their boats for crew, so I attempted to shoot a few boats on the water as well. Turns out people who are exercising don’t like being photographed. I was as stealthy as I could be, using my little Olympus with the back screen flipped out, but they always noticed me. No one said anything though.

I have very little experience shooting action, so this was a bit rough. I used the focus trap technique Tony demonstrates here:

I shot in shutter priority at 1/160th for runners, and a bit higher for bicyclists. I wanted to show a bit of motion, but freeze most of the subject. Here’s what I came up with:

They spotted me.

f/5, 1/160th, ISO 250


I wish they were facing me, but I couldn’t capture them once they passed.

f/6.3, 1/160th, ISO 200


I had a really hard time with the crop for this one. I shot wider than this, but the women got lost. Not sure if I did well by cropping into the bicyclist.

f/4.5, 1/160th, ISO 200


Three in a row.

f/5.6, 1/160th, ISO 200


¬†I obviously did some editing to these shots, as they’re all in black and white. The weather was grey and most workout gear is bright, plus all the background made the shots very busy. Going black and white eliminates some of that and draws focus to the subjects. I did a bit of dodging and burning in Lightroom and sloppily cloned out a car or two in Photoshop (follow those links to see tutorials on each.)

So these aren’t the most compelling images. I would have liked to shoot some contact sports, but hopefully I can try that once it’s warm out again. Let me know how I did and what I could have done to improve!¬†

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How to Shoot Action on a Budget

A Little League pitcher delivers during a game

A Little League pitcher delivers during a gameThe thing that got me into sports photography is high school band. Before you chew too much on that non-sequitur, let me explain. See, I’m a marching band instructor with a small high school in Maryland. I wanted to make images of the kids performing and rehearsing for our various media outlets, and I wanted them to be dynamic and eye-catching, and I wanted them to look like the professional photos of sports and action that I saw in the magazines. I amassed all the camera gear I had (an iPhone) and literally all of my photographic knowledge (you point it at the thing you want to take a picture of and press the button, right?) and set out to make the perfect action shot.

I failed miserably. 

I know- it’s shocking that the patented combination of no equipment and no knowledge didn’t yield professional-quality results. But I knew I could fix the lack of knowledge. Photography became my obsession, and I would read and watch every how-to, every tutorial, and every workshop I could get my hands on (including many of the ones on this site, thanks Chelsea and Tony!) I became very interested in shooting sports and action, but as I read about those fields I became more and more dismayed. Often I would hear how the type of photography I was most interested in was also the one that demanded the most from camera gear, and thus quickly became one of the most expensive.

Stubborn as I am, I thought that I could still approach the quality of pro action and sports shots without the crazy investment in gear. I spent about eight months doing just that. Here’s what I learned. Continue reading How to Shoot Action on a Budget