Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shooting a soccer game at night: Capturing the action

Friday evening was the last soccer game for the seniors at Prospect High School, and it just so happened that I needed to shoot an image of a soccer game for one of the videos we are doing for Target. I went to capture some photos.

This was one of the first images that I grabbed, while the last of the sunlight was still hanging around. Having that little bit of evening light definitely helps to freeze the action. This was taken at ISO 320 at f2.8 and still gave me 1/800 sec. I shot all of the soccer images with the Canon 5D Mark II and the Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 lens. I was also using the brand new Lexar 128GB Professional 1000x card. I could have shot more than 20,000 shots on this card. Too much fun!

Once it got dark, I was forced to change my ISO to 3200 and shoot wide open at f2.8 to get somewhere between 1/200 and 1/500 sec.

This is a shot of our good friend, Jamie, after she scored a beautiful goal by heading the ball into the net.

The celebration commences...

The expressions on these girls really tells the story. You can see the exuberance in the white team and the despair in the dark team.

(Photographer tip: I find that, especially when one team is wearing white jerseys, the camera is often fooled by the overhead lights, and over compensates for the field lights. In order to keep the images from being over-exposed, I shot in aperture priority and used the exposure compensation to bring the images down by 2/3 stop. I knew that I could always brighten the images in Photoshop, but that I could not fix the images if they were blown out.)

I like this image because of all three girls surrounding the ball in almost perfect symmetry.

This was my favorite image from the evening. I love the fact that this was captured at the peak of action with her red hair high above her head.

For those of you trying to take pictures of your friends and family at a soccer game, I recommend the following:

* Shutter speed of at least 1/500 sec (much easier during the day than at night)
* Focus mode: Servo (when the camera changes the focus dynamically)
* ISO: high enough to get you the recommended shutter speed
* Shoot in either shutter priority or aperture priority (depending on your conditions and which you prefer)
* Get as close to the field as possible
* Have fun


northbetsportsbook said...

Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job.

Kirstin said...

thank you for posting this. Both of my girls play soccer and night games were never an issue until they started high school..yikes...I just rented a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for some games this weekend so I have been looking around for tips for shooting at night. Can't wait to try yours out. Thank you.

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