Posing for Baseball and Softball

Spring sports means baseball and softball and one of THE best opportunities to cash in on the millions of T-ball, Little League and high school and middle school players that will lace’em up and head out to a local diamond.  But even before you begin taking photographs, you need to logically decide what poses you’ll be using on the specific age groups you’ll be shooting.  Making decisions like this in advance can save you a lot of time on photo day and keep you, your shooting crew, and parents happy.

Frequently at a team and individual photo shoot, photographers fall behind and are unable to stay on time because they squander too much time posing the individual photos.  Though your photos may look fantastic and your on-time delivery may be quick, all that the league and the parents will remember is that you were running 30 minutes behind on every team.
When deciding what poses to use you have to keep in mind the age of the athlete.  For the most part, four to six-year olds simply cannot be put into the same poses as older children or teenagers. Conversely, you wouldn’t put a high school athlete into a pose best suited for an inexperienced T-baller. Keeping your posing simple for any age athlete will keep you on schedule as well as provide great looking photos.

It’s important to shoot more than one pose as we have found the more poses and images taken, the more opportunities you have to sell photos. When posing young children it is best to keep them in a standing pose.  Trying to get them to balance themselves on one knee is impractical and will cost you time as smaller children tend to “fold up” in a one knee pose (see below). Also, it makes it easier to transition from one pose to another if they can accomplish both poses while standing.

They have a hard enough time just standing; don’t press your luck with a fancy pose. The two poses in images 2 & 3 will work well with young kids.

Also, when using a baseball bat as a prop in posing it’s important to use a batting POSE and not a batting STANCE.  There is a major difference and it can affect the look for your photographs.  Note the two poses in images 4 & 5.  The one in image 4 is a batting pose; while the one in image 4 is a batting stance.  The batting stance creates a smaller face size (to include the whole bat) and takes longer to pose the child.  Remember, staying on time is critical!

As the athletes get older they are able to execute more sophisticated poses which gives you more freedom to vary your posing like the poses in images 6-10.

Strategies for Posing Teams

There are several strategies that can be used when posing teams. We have provided simple diagrams that are a good guide for posing teams up to 20 people. It is important to state at the beginning that there are always exceptions to these arrangements; smaller venues, subjects of extremely varying sizes, and the position of the photographer can all change the situation.

These arrangements are all designed to allow the subjects to fill the frame as completely as possible while still allowing for an 8×10 crop.

Two basic strategies can be employed in most situations to achieve multiple rows of varying heights: the use of risers and posing subjects. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Risers allow you to pose each subject the same. Whether or not you prefer this depends on the mood you are trying to achieve. Conversely, not using risers requires you to pose each person slightly differently which lends a more dynamic and active photo. This is a decision best made before a shoot and not on the spot.

Instead of risers you can also use a wide stairway, a set of chairs or step stools, or any other sturdy object at hand. I often use chairs when shooting basketball team photos so that the goal may be placed in the background. A set of small painting benches found at a hardware store have been very helpful with small children as well.

If you are posing a team without risers, chairs, or stairs, you must get a little creative. Depending on the subjects you can sometimes just have tall subjects in the back, shorter subjects in the front, and another row of subjects kneeling. If you need more rows, a row of subjects sitting down and a row of subjects with their hand on their knees will look pleasing as well; this generally only works for girls’ sports teams. The possibilities change in each situation.

Outside the arrangement of your subjects, your most powerful tool when working with and posing a group is your rapport. Take a few minutes to talk to your subjects, explain to them what’s going on, show them some photos, and relax.

Sports Photography Part Two

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Topics covered in part two: basic and action posing, camera capture settings, camera positioning and lenses.
[podcast format="video"]http://podcasts.candid.com/CCSSports02.m4v[/podcast]

Sports Photography Part One

View video from the CCS Summer Workshops last July. Brian Allan is presenting Outdoor Sports Photography. From posed shots to simulated action, camera and lighting setups, and tips and tricks for marketing to customers. There is a lot of information in his presentation so we have broken it up into three parts.

Part 1: Topics covered: Event and booth setup, showcasing print samples, banners, traffic flow managing kids and parents. Equipment transportation considerations.

[podcast format="video"]http://podcasts.candid.com/CCSSports01.m4v[/podcast]

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