by Karin Baker
This is a picture of my son pitching at a Legion baseball game. I was
sitting behind the backstop net in the bleachers.
The photo has been edited in photoshop -- colors were enhanced using the Curves tool as well as slightly sharpened using the unsharp mask tool.
What do you think??
(For convenience, all links below open in new windows)
This is a lovely action shot, well done Karin!
Sporting photos like this are all about capturing action. And here it has certainly been captured well.
One of the most strike-ing(!) aspects of this photo is the pose.
The pitcher has just launched the ball, and is caught in a great pose.
The way to achieve this sort of shot is NOT to just take hundreds of pictures. Before you take any photos just sit back and watch the action.
By doing this you will begin to notice patterns in the action. Let's take that pitcher – his pattern could well be to start with the ball behind his back, then he brings it up to his chin, then he looks to where he's pitching, then launches the ball, then keeps his eye on the ball until it hits its target.
By observing first, and noticing patterns like this, you can time your photos. And your success rate will definitely improve.
In our example above here's what you would do. To get a photo like Karin's you focus on the pitcher (half-press the shutter button to pre-focus). Wait until he's gone through his own personal sequence until he's about to pitch. As his arm goes back, get ready . . . press the shutter all the way down to take the shot - just before he launches the ball.
The reason you do this just before he gets in the position you want is because there will be a slight delay in both your reactions, and the camera's (cameras need a fraction of a second to take a photo after you press the button).
Other good things about Karin's shot are the position of the pitcher in the frame. The rule of thirds has been followed here which usually helps in composition. Click to read more about the rule of thirds.
If I were being picky (and I often am!) I would prefer to see a little more of the batter. If the camera were moved to the left a touch it would give us more of the batter and move the pitcher over to the right a bit. This would break the rule of thirds, but sometimes it's good to break the rules!
I would also like to say something about the use of Photoshop – well done!
With just a few tweaks contrast can be improved and colours look more saturated. And as a final step a little sharpening always helps too.
And as I've said here before, this is not cheating! Photographers have been making these changes to photos for decades – in the darkroom. Software is simply a digital version of that darkroom.
Thanks for the submission Karin.
Want to learn some powerful photography techniques? Get our recommended eBook, and start shooting like a pro!
Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, July 2008.