Youth Sports – The Color and the Light

Covering high school football and youth sports in general can be fun and challenging. Fun because there is very little stress and pressure on the photographer to get the key plays and the opportunity to look for nice images to capture. Challenging because some of the lighting conditions can be difficult to deal with as a photographer, in addition to following the game and knowing how to capture good “football” images.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

In the example above, the way the sunset light played off the Chaparral Firebirds Freshman football player’s helmets and the look on the player’s face is what makes images like this “pop” for me.

Click the more link below to see the rest of my youth sports, color and light story.

HS JV Football: SEP 15 - Pinnacle at North Canyon

The trees in the background and the golden sunlight hitting the quarterback’s face of the North Canyon Rattlers JV football team give this image a bit of depth and make it one of my favorites.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

I just loved the water dripping off the face of this Sunnyslope freshman football player’s chin.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

Some of the player’s on the Washington Rams JV football team were wondering about that guy with the giant camera, they had no idea I was getting great sideline portraits because of the lighting conditions.

HS JV Football: SEP 15 - Pinnacle at North Canyon

It seems like this image is a little bit cluttered, but when a player runs for a touchdown right at you, it is hard not to grab a few nice shots. The Pinnacle Pioneers JV football player brings the action right to me with his touchdown run.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

The afternoon sun and the purple and white uniform of the Washington Rams JV quarterback gave me some nice colors, and who doesn’t love a nice shot of the quarterback.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

Sometimes the sun can be a bit harsh and you have to balance your exposure between the bright, direct-sun and shadows. Not always an easy task, but I managed to get a nice shot of the Sunnyslope freshman receiver stepping up to the line.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

One of the keys to non-action shots is good bright faces where you can clearly see the players eyes. Getting shots with bright faces and the persons eyes is often more difficult that you would think. When I see opportunities for good sideline portraits like this Washington Rams player, I make sure to get some good images.

HS JV Football: SEP 15 - Pinnacle at North Canyon

Sometimes part of the field is covered in bright sun while other parts of the field are in full shade, when that happens you need to adjust your exposure, but getting full detail on a white uniform like this shot of the Pinnacle Pioneers JV football player is much better than just worrying about exposing just for the player’s face.

HS JV Football: SEP 15 - Pinnacle at North Canyon

I liked the way the green color background and dark purple uniforms of the North Canyon Rattlers worked together for a few brief moments that afternoon and made several nice images of the players stepping up to the line.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

I didn’t think that when the Washington Rams player’s were all getting water there would be any good opportunities to create nice pictures because of all the drink bottles in front of their faces and drink logos, but this image worked out perfectly.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

This young man was just staring at me waiting for me to take the picture and I thank him for that, great colors in the background and bright eyes make this the kind of image that I’m sure his parents would love to have hanging in their home.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

Sometimes the bright afternoon sun can play off the red uniforms and give things a “neon” red glow. The fact that it looks like that in real life is not easily translated to a photograph, it tends to look over-saturated and unnatural so I tend to turn the saturation down when players are wearing red uniforms in full sun. On a side note, I loved the reflection in the Chaparral Firebirds coach’s sun glasses, so I grabbed a few “picture within a picture” frames.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

I was firing away like some crazy madman with a camera at the Washington Rams JV football at Paradise Valley Trojans game, the lighting conditions just created some perfect light and I wanted to take advantage of it for the short period of time it lasted.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

Like I said “firing away like a crazy madman with a camera” at the Washington Rams JV football players on the sideline.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

Shooting directing into the sun is a challenge, shooting directly into the sun with players wearing red uniforms can raise the difficulty factor twofold, but I love a good challenge so I gave it a shot.

Washington @ Paradise Valley

More from the Washington Rams game, this time in full shade, but still nice lighting conditions.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

Harsh sun and a distracting background made this shot difficult to pull off, somehow I still like it for the story it tells of the Sunnyslope freshman quarterback looking over the defense and calling a play at the line.

Sunnyslope at Chaparral Freshman Football

I wish I could have gotten a cleaner background when I got this shot of the Sunnyslope freshman quarterback rolling out for a pass but I liked the light and the mood it created so I added it to my list of favorites.

HS JV Football: SEP 15 - Pinnacle at North Canyon

Once the sun dips below the horizon, and if you are shooting for MaxPreps, you have to use a flash which has an entirely different set of challenges that I will discuss in another blog post. For now I’ll keep looking for the color and the light.

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