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Tips on taking better photos at gymnastics meets

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mbphoto

Member
Jan 27, 2009
123
myrtle beach
Hi all ,
I have been on CB for about 6 months I think. My DD is 11yr. old level 8. Although I own a photography studio, I am not a photographer. I find it a real challenge to take good pictures of my DD during meets. With the no flash rule and very challenging lighting conditions. I started a blog for my photography studio in which I put tips for beginner photographers. There is a topic "Photographing your kids at a sporting event" that you may find helpful. I was hoping all you guys would join my blog and maybe help you take better pictures.

Myrtle Beach Photography. com

or if you are Facebook members, you can search Myrtle Beach Photography.

Thanks in advance for your support.
 
T

TeamDad

Guest
Thanks, I just printed your blog page for my wife. We have a meet in a few hours so these tips are very timely and we're going to give it a go. We rarely get good pictures at meets.

Thanks for the info
 
G

gymgramma

Guest
thank you for your helpful article! I just got a digital camera from my grandkids for my birthday and can't wait to start using it.
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Only tip I can offer is get to the meet EARLY to prospect the best shooting positions. Now, I'm no photo-a-grapher by any stretch, but I like to look like one by bringing a tripod with me to at least 'reserve' the camara position.

During states, we had a friend of ours take all the pictures for our team. She's a pro sports photographer (St. Louis Rams, and Cardinals), so her shots were pretty amazing.

Her suitcase of camaras, a helper, and her prominently displayed press credentials helped gain her access to shots that would otherwise be forbidden to spectators.
 

MartinaE

Member
Mar 14, 2007
346
Germany
I just read the section on photographing gym meets on your blog.
I have been taking gymnastics photos for around 10 years now and collected experiences over the years.
I definitely agree with you on needing a good camera (I have the Canon EOS 20D - now that would be the 40D/50D compared) as well as a good lens - at least at 2.8. I have the 70-200 lens which is great. Both of this is enough to get decent shots, though if you are able to buy a better camera than that or more lenses of course that`s even better...

However, from what I have learnt from practise ISO 3200 is far too high even in dark halls. At least this way your photos`colors would not come out very nicely and it is not easy to get this corrected on the computer. It is much easier to correct photos that come out a little dark at first.
Also from what I know it is not good to also put the shutter speed higher when you already do this with the ISO. Actually you can go down with the shutter speed to 1/560 or even less. You are still able to get sharp action shots this way!!

Some examples from me:



These were taken at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/640

And this one of Mattie was shot at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/460 (if I remember right now)



Just to add the light conditions for the first two photos was very good while the conditions for the last photo were not very good at all.....
 
Last edited:

mbphoto

Member
Jan 27, 2009
123
myrtle beach
I just read the section on photographing gym meets on your blog.
I have been taking gymnastics photos for around 10 years now and collected experiences over the years.
I definitely agree with you on needing a good camera (I have the Canon EOS 20D - now that would be the 40D/50D compared) as well as a good lens - at least at 2.8. I have the 70-200 lens which is great. Both of this is enough to get decent shots, though if you are able to buy a better camera than that or more lenses of course that`s even better...

However, from what I have learnt from practise ISO 3200 is far too high even in dark halls. At least this way your photos`colors would not come out very nicely and it is not easy to get this corrected on the computer. It is much easier to correct photos that come out a little dark at first.
Also from what I know it is not good to also put the shutter speed higher when you already do this with the ISO. Actually you can go down with the shutter speed to 1/560 or even less. You are still able to get sharp action shots this way!!

Some examples from me:



These were taken at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/640

And this one of Mattie was shot at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/460 (if I remember right now)



Just to add the light conditions for the first two photos was very good while the conditions for the last photo were not very good at all.....
I posted this and totally agree. I found with the other moms on our team that are trying to take pix of their kids, that is the easiest way for them to get the shots. Most are only putting them on the web. When I talk about shutter speed and f stop, they seem to give up. Our moms have had some better success with the higher ISO because it is a simple fix for them and they are able to stop the motion with the higher shutter. I guess I was just trying to keep it simple.
 

mbphoto

Member
Jan 27, 2009
123
myrtle beach
I posted this and totally agree. I found with the other moms on our team that are trying to take pix of their kids, that is the easiest way for them to get the shots. Most are only putting them on the web. When I talk about shutter speed and f stop, they seem to give up. Our moms have had some better success with the higher ISO because it is a simple fix for them and they are able to stop the motion with the higher shutter. I guess I was just trying to keep it simple.
One more thing. I forgot to mention how beautiful your pictures are. My studio does not do sports photography we do mostly family beach photography which is a totally different animal. I only started personally with the gymnastics when my daughter started only a few years ago. Fortunately, I have access to decent equipment and have been learning as I go. I went a copied and pasted the bit about ISO, shutter speed and Aperture from my blog so other could understand the reply. Thanks for the helpful input.

ISO (light sensitivity): 3200 (stopping the action is probably more important to getting clear images than low noise). In a brightly lit gym, you might be able to get away with ISO 800 or 1600 if the light is bright enough (see shutter speed, below)
*
Aperture: f/2.0, Aperture priority setting on camera (Av) (or the "brightest" aperture you can use)
*

Shutter Speed: let the aperture priority setting pick the fastest speed available. You will want a shutter speed of 1/500 to 1/1000 or faster if at all possible with the light available to you. If you can only shoot at 1/250...it's tough, but you will still get some good photos if you take them when the gymnast is motionless (reversing direction in a gymnastics move)

To find out more: Myrtle Beach Photography. com

Hope every mom and dad gets out there and plays with their cameras to get those precious gymnastics photos of their DDs. It is a really fun challenge and I have been trying to improve with every meet.
 

MartinaE

Member
Mar 14, 2007
346
Germany
Thanks so much for your reply - I am really happy to hear that you like my photos.
I am always happy if I am able to help someone improve on photos as I also started from scratch myself and learnt from my own experience and talking to other people.
You are really lucky to already have the equipment on hand!! Sadly I am not able to afford a different camera or more lenses at the moment, but I try to make the most out of what I have.

I totally see you wanting to offer an easy method so that parents are able to achieve better photos of their kids. It`s understandably very important as those pics are memories for a lifetime!!

If you manage to get a sharp photo there`s also a lot you can still improve on with several softwares. I did that a lot when I started out myself. I first started with a film camera which was way too slow for gymnastics photography, but it got me started and made me fall in love with photography.
 

mbphoto

Member
Jan 27, 2009
123
myrtle beach
I just read the section on photographing gym meets on your blog.
I have been taking gymnastics photos for around 10 years now and collected experiences over the years.
I definitely agree with you on needing a good camera (I have the Canon EOS 20D - now that would be the 40D/50D compared) as well as a good lens - at least at 2.8. I have the 70-200 lens which is great. Both of this is enough to get decent shots, though if you are able to buy a better camera than that or more lenses of course that`s even better...

However, from what I have learnt from practise ISO 3200 is far too high even in dark halls. At least this way your photos`colors would not come out very nicely and it is not easy to get this corrected on the computer. It is much easier to correct photos that come out a little dark at first.
Also from what I know it is not good to also put the shutter speed higher when you already do this with the ISO. Actually you can go down with the shutter speed to 1/560 or even less. You are still able to get sharp action shots this way!!

Some examples from me:



These were taken at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/640

And this one of Mattie was shot at ISO 800 with a speed of 1/460 (if I remember right now)



Just to add the light conditions for the first two photos was very good while the conditions for the last photo were not very good at all.....
I came across this while on the web. It is from a professional photographer in MA. I thought you might find it interesting.

"For those photographers who shoot with Canon digital cameras, don't feel shy to crank up that ISO and shoot wide open. You'd be surprised what your camera can produce. If you question my rational then check this link and keep in mind that almost all these images were shot at 3200 ISO at 1.8 to 2.0. http://jeffnewcum.com/DWF/DWF07"
 
J

JustAfan

Guest
I am sorry to bump this up so late in the game but this thread went totally over my head. I will be going to the American Cup next January and would like some help with my photo taking. As it is right now I take still shots and no matter what even they never have enough light.

I have a digital camera not meant to take pictures apparently.lol. The problem I usually have is low light and blurry pictures. My camera is a Kodak z740.
 
G

glmason

Guest
it will be hard ...

... to get good pics with the Kodak z740. The highest iso available it 800. I suggest you try manual settings with iso at 800 and 1/250 or faster and set your f stop to the lowest available for your zoom level. You may or may not get anything usable depending on the gym lighting. Also use a monopod or tripod. I use a nikon d700 which is good up to iso 6400 with a fast lens and I use a monopod or tripod depending on the location.

You may be best at using a video camera to capture your gymnast and buy one or two of the pro shot pics. They have the equipment and best positioning possible (at least at the meets I've been to).

I'd try different settings on the camera during other levels and if you get acceptable pics, use it and let someone else video. Just remember that what looks good on the camera LCD may not look good when printed.

Good luck and enjoy the meet.
 
J

JustAfan

Guest
Thanks Glmason. I appreciate the help. I have just one question and sorry if iy sounds stupid but what exactly is f stop?

I am hoping they have one of those team meets before the American cup where I can practice this.

Great idea for the tripod. I should def try that and thanks for the advice:)





... to get good pics with the Kodak z740. The highest iso available it 800. I suggest you try manual settings with iso at 800 and 1/250 or faster and set your f stop to the lowest available for your zoom level. You may or may not get anything usable depending on the gym lighting. Also use a monopod or tripod. I use a nikon d700 which is good up to iso 6400 with a fast lens and I use a monopod or tripod depending on the location.

You may be best at using a video camera to capture your gymnast and buy one or two of the pro shot pics. They have the equipment and best positioning possible (at least at the meets I've been to).

I'd try different settings on the camera during other levels and if you get acceptable pics, use it and let someone else video. Just remember that what looks good on the camera LCD may not look good when printed.

Good luck and enjoy the meet.
 
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