Sports Action That “POP!”

Action shot of soccer player in Oxnard, California. [Nikon D4, Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 50, ƒ/11, 1/200 – (2) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]

I had a lot of fun this weekend shooting some soccer shots. This is one of my favorite images from the day.

I am lying on the ground shooting with my 14-24mm Nikon lens at 14mm. The guy landed on me once; it might have been with this photo. As Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” I was trying to get close to creating more impact with the photos.

[Nikon D4, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 50, ƒ/8, 1/200 – (2) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]

The first photo I took was this typical team photo. I picked a location where I had the sun directly behind them and then used two Godox V860IIN and triggered them with the Godox X1NT.

This kept them from squinting.

[Nikon D4, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 50, ƒ/8, 1/200 – (2) Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT]

Then I moved the players around for different poses.

Then I just got lower to make them look more like heroes.

Then I tried another pose.

When you are shooting for the art director they need choices.

I also shot some verticals as well as some action during the scrimmage.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

So everything I shot, I tried to get both verticals and horizontal shots for options.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 640, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

The problem with actual action shots during a game is the light isn’t quite as lovely as when you set something up to get that “poster” shot.

While I could have shot the photos with the two strobes on TTL, I used the manual to get consistent output. When you move to a low angle with more sky, the camera meter will want to change the flash output and the camera exposure. I tried to control it, so it was consistent.

I recommend not always shooting with TTL for your flash. It will get you in the ballpark quickly, but the beat consistency as things move isn’t as good as shooting in manual mode.