My three kids are very active and we spend a lot of time at practices and games and meets together as a family. This is a huge part of our life and it’s so important to document these days that we spend doing the things that they love.
Our main sports are swimming, football and basketball…with a little waterpolo and skiing thrown in. We’ve done the dance thing (when my daughter was very young) and we did a lot of soccer and even some t-ball, but we tend to spend most of our time at the pool, on the football field and at the hoop. A lot of the thoughts and ideas that I’m talking about here can be applied to most any extracurricular activity that your family might be interested in so read on and see what I strive to capture to represent our activities.
One of the tricky things about photographing and documenting most sports is that the images can tend to look pretty similar. How many photos do I really need of the kids at the pool? How much does my oldest change from one football game to the next? What is the difference between one tipoff and the next for my daughter? Why do I keep shooting?
Sometimes I get a shot like this.
All of a sudden that kid looked like a young man…and it shocked me.
For me, I honestly can’t help but to keep shooting. I love to photograph my children doing the things that they love. But when I tire of that same image at the same pool meet after meet I slow myself down and I really look around. What are the details that might change? How can I creatively get an image of her goggles? Of all of the gear that goes along with the sport that they wear the least amount of clothing? When I’m photographing the football field I look to the sidelines, the gear, the overall scene. What about the shoes at the basketball court? The score board? The uniform. Look deeper than just the game. Don’t always look for the smiling faces.
This image below is of my youngest son from 2010 (he was 6) and he was less than pleased with being at the soccer field. That day I didn’t look for the smiles because this told a bigger story.
To check out a swim meet where I tried to focus a little more on the details and a little less on the swimming, take a look at this link for an outdoor swim meet. Below you’ll see a collage of some of our recent sports adventures.
The next time you watch a dance practice or a gymnastics meet, look a little closer. As you drop your kiddo off at the field, take a look around. What story can you tell today? At your next basketball practice, bring out that camera or your phone and look for the details. Look for the moments between the big plays because that is often where the stories are.
This post is part of a 31 day series. Read the first post here about documenting everyday life.
Oct 5, 2014
I do a lot of sports photography, too, mostly track, horse stuff of all kinds, and football. I seem to always have the wrong lens! What is your favorite lens for your various sports?
Honestly I think part of my problem is that I need a really high quality zoom, but I can’t decide which one.
Loving your series!
Hi Cheryl, so glad you like the series, thank you for reading!! 🙂 The lens that I shoot with the most for sports is my 70-200mm 2.8L (I shoot Canon) It’s a great lens that I get a lot of use out of and I love it. I also get a lot of more general storytelling images with my phone (the two square images in this post are both camera phone images as well as about 5 images in the collage).
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