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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Youth baseball/softball shooting tips
Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 5:16 PM on 07.29.11
->> There is a possibility I may be shooting some youth baseball and softball soon and I was hoping I could get some tips or advice. I've know how to shoot baseball in general, but I've never shot youth baseball or softball. I was planning on using a 300mm f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 on a 2nd body (both full frame Nikon bodies). I also have a 1.4x teleconverter and 2.0x teleconverter if they will be useful at all. All of the photography should be game action from what I understand.

Any advice for proper etiquette for youth sports? Good/proper places to shoot from? No photo wells obviously, so I wasn't sure what positions work best to stay out of the way. Any other good equipment to bring along besides the obvious monopod and cameras?

Thanks in advance.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 6:01 PM on 07.29.11
->> Contact SS member Paul Alesse - one of the masters of little kids with bats and balls.
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 6:07 PM on 07.29.11
->> Thank you, I'll do just that.
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Richard Favinger Jr, Photographer
Pottstown | PA | USA | Posted: 6:18 PM on 07.29.11
->> http://www.playballphotos.com/images/SS/regionals.html
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Eric Dituri, Photographer
Clovis | CA | USA | Posted: 6:33 PM on 07.29.11
->> Ben:
In my experience shooting high school baseball/softball in my area (Fresno/Clovis, CA) I've found that I have not had any real empediments from humans. Folks tend to be very courteous as long as it's reciprical. However, stadium designs vary quite a lot from school to school, in some cases creating various impossible angles from which to shoot. I'm game to try just about any angle I can reasonably access, in some cases the angle might be a dud or might be a pleasent surprise. I try to anticipate various actions (pick-off attempt, play at 2nd base, etc.). In all honesty, I can be a bit reckless at times, choosing to station myself directly behind the backstop, camera firmly against the net. Upon re-reading your question, it appears you may have been referring to kids younger than high school age. Sorry if I misunderstood your question, but I imagine your experience will be similar. As long as you're not blocking someone's view, go for it. Good luck!
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 6:52 PM on 07.29.11
->> It's going to be younger than high school. How does it usually work for shooting positions on smaller fields? Is it always through a fence or are there safe spots that aren't behind fences generally? I'll have to do a little digging into the actual venues of course, but just wanted a little general advice on what others have experienced on smaller fields. Thanks!
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Frank Lauri, Photographer
Larksville | PA | USA | Posted: 6:52 PM on 07.29.11
->> Ben....here is a link that Paul put together for LL from the Fred Miranda website and the other one is from Devin Dahlgren for softball and was originally on SS.com.

http://carlauerphoto.com/pdf/Shooting_LLB_Baseball_Handbook

http://carlauerphoto.com/pdf/Softball.pdf

Good luck
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 7:11 PM on 07.29.11
->> Fantastic! That was extremely helpful, thank you Frank.
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Dennis Wierzbicki, Photographer
Plainfield | IL | USA | Posted: 8:37 PM on 07.29.11
->> +1 on Paul Alesse…his LLB is beyond amazing.
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 9:53 PM on 07.29.11
->> The most difficult aspect of shooting LL or youth baseball/softball ... is decent shooting vantage points ... many fields were not laid out or designed with optimum shooting angles in mind ... with the shorter parameters and dimensions ... and ... that many fields block off backstops completely to cut down on distractions, you may find it difficult to find a comfort zone for good images ...
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:19 PM on 07.29.11
->> At the smaller age groups I would start with the 70-200 for pitchers, maybe the batters, and dives back to first. With full frame and the 300 you may need to use the TC for the rest of the infield, maybe even need it for batters.

I normally sit around first till they have batted around then move to third to get the left handed batters and then find some other stuff to shoot.

Paul's primer is top notch, and I all but refuse to shoot little people baseball/softball unless I am sitting on my butt. Another biggie is to keep up with the pitcher rotation...don't miss a pitcher or you will have a pissed off parent. :)
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 11:22 PM on 07.29.11
->> Oh yeah...NEVER lose track of where the balls are (and where they wind up if the intended catcher misses), especially during warm ups and between innings (which are great shooting oppurtunites!). Kids do not throw and catch with great precision at these ages.
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 12:24 AM on 07.30.11
->> Thanks everyone. The event is actually a little odd for shooting. It's not for the parents actually. It's a tournament and they (the client) only allowed for 30 minutes of shooting for each game and are only looking for 20 to 30 shots from each. At this point those are the only details I have, but more will be coming of course. So I'll have to make the most of those 30 minutes. I'll have to get there early to get an idea of the best vantage points to not waste time during the games.
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Clay Begrin, Photographer
Petaluma | Ca | USA | Posted: 12:47 AM on 07.30.11
->> Ben, I primarily shoot youth sports. First the link to Paul Alesse's document about shooting Little League has some really great info. I've never read it before and he has some great info in that document. I would make contact with the League's Board of Directors and make sure you have their blessing to be there, are allowed field access and have some sort of agreement with the league. If not, I would stay outside the fences but at least try to contact a board member that may be present and introduce yourself and let them know what you're doing. You don't want a board member of the league questioning you without ever hearing of you, so be the first to make contact with them. When arriving at the game if the umpire doesn't know me I'll introduce myself, explain I have the league's permission to be on the field and let him know if he has any issues with my location etc, let me know and I'll make the correction. It's his gig and field, so work with him. For LL I usually start outside the foul line and slightly beyond first base. I'm shooting with a 300 and a second body with a 70-200 or 24-70. I often will spend the first three innings with an emphasis on shooting every batter and defensive plays etc are secondary. I like to make sure a parent doesn't approach me and tell me I didn't get a photo of their child. At about inning 4 I'll move to the 3rd base line and be out of bounds and slightly beyond the bag. Now I spend more time on left handed batters and defensive players, plays at the bags, and steals, etc. Based upon the time of day and sun setting location I may reverse things and shoot from 3rd base to start and then move to 1st base line. Don't forget shooting thru the fence behind home plate, it can provide a different perspective that can look great. Often when the team is doing warm-ups between innings you can stand behind the plate and get some nice images of fielding the ball. If you have a magic arm, a pocket wizard and a spare camera consider mounting a camera on the fence near the bleachers and have it focused at the plate for any plays at the plate. As for girl’s softball, pretty much the same except I may use a 70-200 instead of the 300 as my primary lens. Hope this helps a little.
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Jon Wright, Photographer
Wayzata | MN | USA | Posted: 8:09 AM on 07.30.11
->> If the shooting angles are difficult to come by I've been able to talk to the officials and coaches to arrange to shoot from certain field positions. They basically make me part of the field in the event a ball should be deflected off of me. Just remember to keep your eye on the ball!
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Danny Munson, Photographer
San Dimas | Ca | United States | Posted: 5:19 PM on 07.30.11
->> Ben take advantage of the short field to shoot batters from behind the outfield fence. 300 2.8 and a 2x works great and are always my best selling images.

http://dmunsonphoto.exposuremanager.com/scripts/expman.pl?rm=view_photo&pho...
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Ben Krause, Photographer
Plymouth | MN | United States | Posted: 6:01 PM on 07.31.11
->> Thanks for the information everyone. So you're basically sitting in foul territory exposed, then right? Any concerns about foul balls? I should correct myself, it's actually junior high and up to high school age. If it was little kids I wouldn't be so concerned about foul balls.
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Thread Title: Youth baseball/softball shooting tips
Thread Started By: Ben Krause
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