Photo Tip Series – Photographing Amateur Soccer Games

Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Have you ever wondered how to capture great photos from an amateur soccer game then continue read this article. As a photojournalist, I cover many professional soccer games such as Orlando City Soccer Club and the Orlando Pride. These games are fast pace and one need to be knowledgeable on certain techniques. I wrote this article to pass on the soccer photo tricks and techniques to photographer lovers everywhere.

Don’t be intimidated; one is not able to capture the very best photos at the beginning. Down the road, over time one will pick up a certain style and be able to capture the soccer plays. When starting out please don’t photograph from the stands. As a fan sitting in the stands is very limited to covering the main action.

09-07-2017 Orl Pride vs Sea Reign DSC_2702_MODPhotos courtesy by icflorida.com

Before going to an amateur soccer game, there is some equipment to buy or already have. Some photo equipment is priced reasonably. The best image an amateur photographer will take be in the day light hours. This is because of the limitation of the inexpensive lenses. It can still be done with the lenses that you already have. If you have a 70-300mm f4-5.6 lens will work. Plus, use a monopod to sit your camera on. This will help your wrist by not holding the camera throughout the entire soccer game. A monopod is standard equipment for most photojournalists. I highly recommend having one.

09-07-2017 Orl Pride vs Sea Reign DSC_3115_MOD

When I photograph professional soccer games, I use a Nikon 80-200 2.8 lens. Then I stop down my f Stop or aperture at f4. The shutter speed will vary depending on the light. At nighttime I crank my ISO up to 5k. Note I never crank my highest ISO setting possible on the camera. One will end up with very grainy and blurry images. Next, I select the select auto focus. I shoot in the manual mode, but you can shoot in auto mode too if you want.

Daytime verses nighttime. For amateur photographers it will be easier to photograph during the daytime because one doesn’t need a high ISO setting and one will be able to photograph faster to stop the action. Nighttime tends to be more of a challenge. This will depend on the field’s lighting. Remember this is not a professional soccer game with great lighting. The key for nighttime soccer photography is to capturing the plays up close. The farther the distance the less light one will capture. Plus, one will have to use a low shutter speed. Typically, one should not photograph below 1/640 of second. Any slower will show blur of the ball and players. There are exceptions to the rule.

Plan to arrive early to an amateur soccer game before the game starts. Then you will want to pre-position yourself near the field. There are no restrictions on the sidelines for photographing amateur soccer games. It is recommended to bring a folding chair. The best advantage would be sitting on the ground. Just watch out for the in-coming ball towards you. It is not suggested to sit in the bleaches. This will give the photograph a different angle. Also, I don’t recommend photographing behind the soccer goal net. It is hard to photograph through the netting. Plus, at professional soccer games, they don’t allow photographers to shoot directly behind the net. During the game follow the soccer ball and capture the action when it is close to you. You may find that young kids tend to bunch together for the ball, which looks like a football game. You’ll want to capture the action with two players with the ball and continue the action till the end. This will be a series of continuous photos.

08-26-2017 Orl City vs Vancouver Game DSC_9278_MOD

The easier plays to photograph are corner kicks, penalty kicks, and very tight close plays towards you. Just be patient and the action will come to you. I tend not to photograph when the play is on the other side of the field or pitch. One would need a very long telephoto lenses to capture those plays. In no time one will be shooting like a pro.

It will take some time and practice to get used to photographing soccer. The best part of the soccer game is having fun. Then after the game is the fun part by color correction your photos. Depending on how many photos you took at the game will depend on picking out the highlights of the game. Each soccer game is different.

When you’re finish color correcting your photos please share your soccer game photos on your social media accounts. Sports fans love great amateur photos that capture the action of the game. If you like this article, then like it on our Otownfun WordPress account. Also, join to be one of our followers at otownfun on WordPress. For more great events, places, and articles, please visit us out at www.otownfun.com

Note: All written content and images are copy righted by either by the person and or company who wrote and photograph published for this article. No duplication and or republishing of this article without the consent of Otownfun. Any questions please contact Otownfunnow@gmail.com . ©2017 Otownfun.com

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