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Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help

  
 
509soccershooter
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Brand new member, recommended by friend.
I am an extremely amateur soccer photography enthusiast looking for some basic info to move my skillset forward

Basically two questions:

1) Is my current gear good enough or should I upgrade?
Currently using the Nikon kit from Costco. D3500 with the AF-P 70-300mm lens. Willing to upgrade gear but went too far down the rabbit hole and not sure if mirrorless is the way to go and what a good entry-level step-up would be?

2) Seeking recommendations on how to expand my knowledge of photography, specifically sports photography. Looked all over online and again so much info not sure where to start and froze... Is there an online course anyone has used they recommend?

Thanks in advance, really appreciate the help. A couple photos of where I am at skill level so far attached












Apr 15, 2024 at 03:35 PM
Panorascal
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Not sure how much it will make a difference with a kit lens* but I always shoot wide open (aperture) to blur the background and isolate the subject. Looks like you're nailing focus with that camera, at least in these samples.
Beyond that, in my experience the players love the reaction/interaction shots more than the action, so don't forget to shoot the celebration/agony even if you miss the goal.

* a 2.8 zoom is recommendation #1regardless of camera type. Especially if you're stuck behind a fence, you can shoot right through it at f2.8. I got many awesome shots with a d7100 and a 70-200 f2.8 zoom.



Apr 15, 2024 at 04:53 PM
crteach
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


My thoughts on lenses are in line with Panorascal - f2.8 can be very useful for sports to blur out the background and focus on the player you want to shoot. A good kit could include 24-70, 70-200, and 100-400 or a prime (ex. 300mm) with extenders to give more reach.

Cropping can be your friend in these examples, esp. #1. Note, though, that there are lots of shadows on those players. Try to shoot with the sun at your back, if possible. If not, then LightRoom or other editing software programs can help.

Just check out the many amazing photographers here on FM and study their work. You can always ask for comments/criticism of your shots. It's helpful if you number your uploads, especially if you have several to share. That way, people can refer to specific photos by number. It's also helpful to include the shooting info (aperture, shutter speed, camera body, lens).

Hope that gives you something to think about.



Apr 16, 2024 at 05:29 PM
Panorascal
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


I shoot with a 70-200 f2.8 on crop sensor (z50) & a 400 f2.8 on full frame (z7II). Though I often toggle the z7 to dx mode for the extra reach. FF I shoot medium RAW & DX I shoot large RAW so all my files are about the same size. 24-70 is always in my bag but I never need it for baseball.



Apr 16, 2024 at 06:52 PM
crteach
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Panorascal wrote:
I shoot with a 70-200 f2.8 on crop sensor (z50) & a 400 f2.8 on full frame (z7II). Though I often toggle the z7 to dx mode for the extra reach. FF I shoot medium RAW & DX I shoot large RAW so all my files are about the same size. 24-70 is always in my bag but I never need it for baseball.


Looks like you are very well set! I've got a 300 f2.8 and am considering a 400 f2.8 but $$$...plus I don't do much football. I have the RF 100-500 but that can't be used well at night or inside without some editing for noise.




Apr 16, 2024 at 09:01 PM
 


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crteach
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Thought I'd just try a quick crop, then raised shadows and added a slight contrast using the subject selection tool. My weakness is post-processing, but it can be done.







Apr 16, 2024 at 09:14 PM
509soccershooter
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Thanks for the info, great starting points. Appreciate it


Apr 16, 2024 at 11:58 PM
schlotz
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help


Welcome to FM. You are in the right place. It's always good to use a program that does not strip the exif data from the jpgs before uploading. This allows others to see how your gear was set when the photo was taken. Next, if posting for comments its advisable to add a number in the description so others can reference which photo they are leaving a comment on. Oh, and you don't need to post 6000x4000 pixel images. Adjust them down to no more than 1200 at the widest. Now on to your questions.

Just an FYI, this can become a very expensive hobby or gig. What you have is fine to begin with and my advise is to shoot a bunch with it to become not only familiar with the gear and how it operates under varying conditions but to begin the process of learning how to keep a focal point on your intended target. Then there is learning the sport you are shooting in order to be able to anticipate upcoming action in order to be ready to effectively capture it. Just like the sport you are shooting, it takes a significant amount of shooting practice to become adept at capturing peak action. FYI this doesn't happen after a few games or even in a year or so. It takes time and dedication if you want to actually become good at it. From a gear perspective at some point you will realize that reach is very important. No question a 70-200 2.8 lens is a staple that most photogs carry and use but realize its reach is limited on a soccer field. I would say if you divide the field into 4 quadrants its good for the quadrant you are in. Otherwise cropping is required but too much and the image quality (IQ) can begin to suffer. Add to that shooting at night which will require very high ISO and any significant amount of cropping can really mess with the IQ. Your 70-300 will be fine for daytime games but you'll discover it will struggle under the lights. The D3500 is a crop sensor body rated for 5 fps. Actually its a good body to force one to become good with the their timing and to sharpen their anticipation skills. Set it to a single focal point and work at keeping it on your intended target. It's not easy and takes a lot of practice. A great help is to find an app that will tell you where the focal point was when the shot was taken.

For soccer you want balls, faces and peak action. Find a position where the action comes towards you, the back goal line just left or right of the intersection with the 18 yard box is a good spot. Sit on your butt, do not stand. This will yield the most opportunities. BTW: be at least 10-12 feet back of the line. You can definitely get acceptable captures from the sidelines but with the left/right player traffic the keepers will be less. Soccer is one of the most difficult sports to shoot because the motion is random and can change direction instantly. Knowing the sport becomes a significant advantage when trying to effectively capture it.

Now to your two photos:

The first one is definitely peak action To be a bit critical it is a little soft. Knowing where the focal point was could help determine what might have happened. My guess, AF had not been fully acquired before the shutter was pushed. This is where timing and anticipation comes in. Getting the focal point on target and AF acquired prior to taken the shot is the key. No question it requires a lot of cropping and the one above from @crteach is a good example.

The second is not peak action and from my perspective not a keeper. The ball is too far away. Never the less, this becomes a perspective of the photographer. Example if its your kid, then yeah keep it but try to get a better one down the road. Best shots like this one are with the ball on the foot or at least with in 1 or 2 feet from of it. Again this one requires a significant amount cropping to fill the frame with just the action/player. Was this taken at 300mm or at something less? Being able to see the exif data can be very useful here. If at less than 300mm, it says you need to remember to swing the lens to 300mm before taking the shot, i.e. a learning opportunity. If it was at 300mm then it says you need to be aware of this with lighting conditions as the amount of cropping required is significant. It would also point to why lens reach on the soccer field is so important, and a cost component to consider.

I strongly concur with the statement to review the work of others. Its a great tool to learn what works and what doesn't.

Good luck and keep shooting. It gets better with practice.



Apr 17, 2024 at 08:17 AM
Panorascal
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Super amateur soccer photography enthusiast seeking help




Looks like you are very well set! I've got a 300 f2.8 and am considering a 400 f2.8 but $$$...plus I don't do much football. I have the RF 100-500 but that can't be used well at night or inside without some editing for noise.



I shot almost exclusively with a (20+ yo) 300 f2.8 before I got the 400.
Keep that bad boy on there and have fun.
One of my favs with my 300:





Apr 17, 2024 at 11:26 AM







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