Baseball Photo Tip #2: Adjust your ISO setting. Some SLRs allow for an ISO of up to 3600, but that is completely unnecessary and detrimental for sharp, outdoor photos. The lower number that you select the less sensitive the sensor is to light. And, you’ll achieve much clearer, less grainy photos. So start low, like 200. Then take a few test shots with your preferred shutter speed and look at your viewer to see if the color and brightness matches what you see with your naked eye. The color of the grass is often a great indicator. Grass can look gold or yellow if your ISO is too high and too sensitive. I typically set my ISO at 400 and crawl up to 800 if the field is shaded.
Homeruns, dust-flying slides, tags, fast-ball pitches and seed spitting are just a few of the fun photo opportunities that youth baseball delivers. An added bonus is the fantastic lighting from Spring’s cloudy skies or Summer’s evening sun. That said, capturing that great shot or those amazing moves can be a challenge. And, sometimes the light is too intense, casting unfortunate shadows and turning green fields to gold. Fortunately, by adjusting a few settings on a digital SLR camera￼, you can increase your chances of getting those memory-making baseball photos.
Baseball Photo Tip #1: Adjust your shutter speed. For outdoor photography, the “sky” is the limit. Low light is rarely an issue so don’t be timid. Dial up the shutter speed. 1/1000 will freeze the ball and the action. I’ve often shot even as fast as 1/6000. If you prefer some blur on the ball to accentuate the action, then try 1/250.
After much deliberation and research I finally gave myself the gift of a new lens. I’ve been wanting a telephoto that could deliver the sharpness I want in low-light situations. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 is that lens. I’ve played with its image stabilizing (IS) cousin and had great results…even in a dark music concert. However, I decided to opt out of the IS feature. It adds a pound in weight and about $500 to the cost.
So far I’m really happy with my new toy. My low-light pics are impressive. The true test will be at the next Jazz Band concert and at basketball games. But I’m really excited to try it just about anywhere. The clarity combined with background blur is perfect (as you can see in the quick portrait I snapped about 5 minutes after I got it out of the box). Fun!
I’m starting to fall in love with my fixed 50mm lens. I used to feel limited by it. Always casting it aside thinking I needed that ability to zoom in and out. But now I’m appreciating the unique photos I can get by moving myself around and completely filling the frame with my subject. It takes such a clear picture in any light with the f/1.8 being so forgiving. I find I’m using this lens more and more. That makes me even more excited to upgrade my telephoto lens to the f/2.8.
This photo was taken on the front porch of a cottage in Bella Beach. My boys were just relaxing and jamming with their mandolins and guitars. After I took it, I laughed and told Ben that this could be his first album cover.
You know photography has become a passionate hobby when you start fretting over the backgrounds, the angles and overall composition of your photos. Composition is often what makes the difference between a decent photo and an eye-catching-wow photo. Luckily, good composition is something that comes naturally to a lot of us if we just take a moment to really size up a photo and think before we click.
Visit my eHow article, How to Take Great Photos – Composition, for a collection of steps for setting up your next shot.