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The Barbarian Oct 15, 2005 1:01 AM

[email protected] Oct 15, 2005 8:27 PM

Thats a nice shot, but if I were you I would have shot that one a little wider.

Also, try blurring the background a little by opening the shutter wider.

Shoot F2.8 or F3.4 if you can.

-- Terry

The Barbarian Oct 15, 2005 9:27 PM

Wide is what you get when Mommy takes pictures of Junior's soccer team in U-6.

Open a Sports Illustrated (not the swimsuit issue) and see what professionals do. Tight is what has impact.

Or check out the greatest World Cup pics:

Do you mean "open the aperature wider"?

[email protected] Oct 15, 2005 9:54 PM

I shoot a lot of my sports photos at F2.8 or F3.4 to ensure that the background is slightly out of focus.

That way, the focus of the viewer is on the action and not distracted by the background.

Occassionally I keep the background in focus if I want to show the reaction of spectators.

I looked at the website suggested and noticed the tight crops.

Most sports photographers that I know (including myself) are instructed to shoot wide.

The layout personel determine the final crop based on how the photos and article will be laid up in the page.

So the photographer rarely chooses the final crop, the newspaper or magazine does.

I would suspect that the crops are tight because the photo as printed in the paper or magazine is going to be quite small, so a wide shot would be indescernable within a 2 inch wide column.

Also, those examples were cropped tight but still showed good balance.

Sometimes there is a tendency for photographers to overcrop their own shots in order to "improve" the shot (I sometimes fall into this camp) whereas some shots just can't be improved much by cropping.

Do you shoot wide and then crop your shots? Or do you usually try to get the correct framing "in camera"?

Do you try to control your backgrounds by selecting the appropriate aperture?

-- Terry

The Barbarian Oct 15, 2005 10:56 PM

You can always trim away material later, but you can't add it.

That being said, you also trim away quality.

Compose losely so you have good margins, and then crop.

Did you check out the greatest soccer pics? All are tight compositions.

tmilner Oct 17, 2005 3:11 PM

I'm not an expert photographer, but I am a professional illustrator/designer. In my opinion, the "correct" crop is highly subjective, and will depend on a lot of factors. That being said, if I'm doing a layout, I would rather have a little extra margin to work with. In my limited experience photographing sports action, I realize that it takes some skill to compose moving objects, so I tend to back off a little to give myself some room for error. Too often I've accidently cropped off the subject's head or feet when trying to zoom in too close. Of course, you get better detail if you zoom in with the camera, so I guess it's a trade off, unless you have lots of megapixels to work with.

[email protected] Oct 17, 2005 3:48 PM

Good point Tmilner,

I often shoot wide for safety.

Sometimes there's a shot I have to get "the winner crossing the finish line" so I shoot pretty wide to get it all in.

Even at that, there are sometimes race officials that get in the way, etc. etc. etc. so sometimes it's a battle to get the crucial photo.

I leave an extra 25 percent border around the shot, knowing I will crop it down a little later, then the paper will crop the shot yet again depending on their column width and aesthetic considerations.

-- Terry

vIZnquest Oct 21, 2005 11:30 PM

I myself prefer "tight" crops from the camera. Shooting wide and cropping later to me in just being lazy in getting that shot. I find it sporting to get that shot composed and shot "tight" and nailing it so to speak.

I don't shoot for publishing sake so that is where I stand with that. My personal tastes are like the "Barbarian" for the most part.

Blurring the background is a matter of personal taste as well. I don't find the focused background distracting at all. Makes it more interesting to look at the picture even more. I do see the "center of interest" here in this shot and it looks very good to me.

I see that thislookslike "Premier Level" teams or perhaps 1st Division in Tournament play.

[email protected] Oct 21, 2005 11:43 PM


Well, there are times to have the background in focus, and sometimes better to blur.

It's all about control, andif I have the control to use blurring or a sharp background when I want it, then I'm a better photographer for it.

I don't know about "nailing it" in frame. That's probably easy to do when the subject is static.

But in sports photography, things are developing and moving very quickly. It's more important to "catch the moment" than catch the perfect frame.

It may be cheating a little, but shooting wide and cropping later will result in more shots "in the can".

I can't depend on luck when my editor is expecting the winner across the finish line, without cut off heads, feet or whatever.

I guess I'm not that much of a purist: I sometimes review my shots right after I take them, select the bestframing later, correct photos for printing using software.

-- Terry

vIZnquest Oct 22, 2005 9:09 AM


I agree with what you offer when it comes to meeting the needs of your paper that you shoot for. It would be just terrible to get a shot that would be missed due to going too tight on a shot with the camera.

For me it is fun to try and nail it on the fly. I stress fun to try. If I truly want keepers though I would definitely use the suggestions you have made. The tight crops in soccer action has much more impact and I do believe that most of them are shot wide and cropped tight for viewing.



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