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 laying on the ground shooting with my Nikon 14-24mm lens at 14mm. The guy landed on me once and 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 super close to create 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 photos 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 pose.

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

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 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 nice 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 chose to use manual so I would get a very consistent output. When you just move to low angle with more sky the camera meter will want to change the flash output and the camera exposure. I wanted to control it so it was consistent.

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