In Part I of this interview Nathan talked about the profession aspect of photography: what it's like shooting various sports, interesting moments while on the job, how to accommodate blueshift when photographing Jahvid Best. In today's installment, he gives us some tips on how to improve our own photos. He has advice for everyone, ranging from people with basic point-and-shoot cameras to those with DSLRs and advanced photo-editing software.
If you're interested in learning more, I highly recommend you check out Nathan's four-part piece titled "Football Photography Xs and Os." I found it to be a very informative piece filled with helpful examples. Additionally, you can browse through the website for the photography decal he taught while at Cal.
After the jump Nathan gives us some advice and, following CGB interview tradition, tells us who he would love to punch in the face. Many thanks to Nathan for participating in this interview and for sharing his expertise with us all!
CGB: Your site has some great tips for using SLRs to take photos, but is there any hope for people taking pictures with point-and-shoots? Any basic tips?
CGB: What about those of us who are SLR noobs? What are some basic tips we could use to improve our photos?
CGB: Your website has a lot of information about taking photos during football games, when you're dealing with natural light or stadium lights. Do you have much experience taking photos at Haas Pavilion? Do you recommend any particular settings that allow for good pictures despite the wonky lighting in Haas?
CGB: You say a wide-open aperture is great for capturing isolated subjects in a variety of lighting situations (and no blur with proper ISO manipulation!). Are there cases when a wide-open aperture is less than optimal?
Almost...(see how the subjects don't really stand apart from the background)
- Larger apertures are usually not quite as sharp. Most lenses, especially cheaper ones, will be sharper overall and have less optical problems like chromatic aberrations when used at smaller apertures - say f/5.6 or f/8 instead of the maximum f/2.8. But for most purposes (making small prints, or posting images online), this effect isn't noticeable and certainly is minor compared to the effect it has on the sharpness of the background (which you usually don't want).
- The shallower depth of field makes it harder to get correct focus. I've had many, many shots ruined by focus that is just a bit off, and it's one of the frustrating aspects about working with shallower depth of field. However, I don't think using a larger depth of field as a crutch to mask focusing errors is a good idea. For one, most focusing issues happen because the focus is set on the wrong thing (say the defender behind the subject, instead of the main player), so even with a larger depth of field the image won't look perfect, and you'll need a much, much larger depth of field to save even half the shots that are typically out of focus (you'd have to go from say f/2.8 to f/8). And lastly, you'll never learn how to effectively react quickly and focus on the fly if you always rely on this to mask mistakes.
CGB: Is there a certain shutter speed you can't seem to go below if you still want to capture great action shots?
CGB: If we break photography into four categories: the camera, the lens, the photographer's intuition, and the proper settings, how much would you say each category contributes to a spectacular photograph?
CGB: Who would you most like to punch in the face and why?