I capture plenty of photographs in the games that I shoot. However, only a select are worthy to be included in a sports photography portfolio. I believe showing action is an important aspect of a portfolio worthy photo. The photo above was the one that got me noticed by the newspaper I freelance for now over three years ago.
Showing the emotion of an athlete is also important to me. Sports are full of emotions and our job as sports photographers is to show this emotion in our photographs. A photograph without emotion tends to be lifeless and boring. Bring emotion into a photograph and it just seems to come to life!
I also learned that showing the face and eyes is critical for a photo to come close to being great. The eyes often reveal some of the intense emotion in an athlete. The old saying is “the eyes are windows to the soul.” Well, to me, the eyes are a key element in a great portfolio worthy photograph.
A great photograph tells a story. The action is this photograph shows the catcher putting the tag on the baserunner while the umpire is looking on before calling the out at the plate! What a story it tells! It also helps that some additional elements like emotion and eyes are included in this action shot.
I know that not every photo I capture will be portfolio worthy, but I am finding that the more I keep these key elements in mind while shooting a game, my success rate increases. I am capturing more quality, winning photographs these days. I attribute this to practice, practice, and more practice. I am not quite there yet, but someday I plan on having a perfect day from behind my camera!