Photographer Manuel and Shooting Guide
This info contains all you need to know about shooting for Fixed Focus Photography. Please read this thoroughly as it will be references in any and all logistics notifications you receive. This will be continuously updated so please refer back to this for each event.
These are guidelines that must be followed to shoot for Fixed Focus Photography. These are necessary to ensure a consistent quality product that our clients expect from us. Do not deviate from these guidelines or take artistic license.
- Shoot at continuous high speed mode. Single point autofocus or cluster of 4 or 9pt. Do not let the camera dictate which focus point to choose. Zone focus points and full focus points will not work for these events.
- Shoot at a minimum of 1/640 bump up to 1/1000 once you get enough light/ Adjust ISO to compensate. The exception is using flash. For flash usage, stay under camera sync speed for shutter speed and adjust ISO to compensate.
- Keep at F4 and adjust ISO. The goal here is to be at min 1/1000 at f4 and then as there is more and more light with the rising sun to bump your iso down to around ISO 800 or ISO 400. This is a better quality image. We need 1/1000 to stop action and F4 to have a nice balance of depth of field and background separation. Ok to deviate from F4 when using flash but F4 is the goal.
- Make highlight mode active on your camera. Adjust exposure accordingly. There should not be any blown out whites unless severe backlighting, then expose for runners face. Runners should never be overexposed or blown out. All photos must be shot in Aperture Priority Mode and exposed properly. Use exposure compensation to adjust exposure for highlights and backlighting.
- Do NOT use Spot Metering. Use Evaluative or Partial metering.
- Resolution/Compression: Normal (medium)/basic compression JPG. DO NOT SHOOT FINE COMPRESSION OR RAW EVER. Set resolution to at least 3000px on the long end. On most modern cameras this is usually Medium JPG. If small jpg is under 2400px bump up to the next setting. Files need to be in the 1.5 meg to 2.5 meg range.
- Always shoot action using continuous focus mode. Canon = AI SERVO. Nikon = AF-C. This is very important as all of your shots will be out of focus if you do not follow this. If you do not follow this, compensation may be reduced or not provided at all.
- Use Auto White Balance.
- Compose images with athlete centered in frame left/right/top/bottom. Do not cut off limbs unless shooting a ¾ shot. If you are, do not cut off arms/hands/fingers/etc/ A ¾ shot if from mid thigh up. Athlete should fill the frame, do not shoot loose unless the background is important to the image. Check with the team lead before hand if that is a concern.
- Shoot 3-4 full body shots of each participant unless otherwise directed differently.
- Position your camera at eye level with your subject, or below. For example, if your subject is running, you should be on your knees, seated, or prone. If your subject is crawling through mud, you should be prone, and probably in the mud yourself. You should almost never stand to take your pictures. There are exceptions. For example, if your subject is climbing, you can get directly above them, so you can see their eyes as they climb. Never take photos of the top of a runner’s head, nor their backs.
- Watch the light and composition. Don’t shoot into the sun unless you can expose the subject properly, and cleanly blow out the background. Avoid empty space at the top of the frame, cut-off body parts, etc. Err on the side of framing slightly wide. Get race branding/logo in the photo when possible. If shooting the finish, get the finish banner in the shot.
- Use zoom lenses. Your best lenses are going to be constant aperture zoom lenses in the normal to moderate telephoto range. Primes are not optimal, since we don’t have time to crop the images. Your go-to lenses are going to be the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8.
- Please be ready for weather at every event. Optech makes decent rain covers and are cheap. We shoot in all weather, so be prepared. Bring water, food, snacks and sunscreen and a good hat. BUG SPRAY is your friend as well.
- Synchronize the time on your camera bodies to www.time.gov. We sort images by the capture time, so this is extremely important. If you’ve done this in the past, do it again anyway. Make sure Daylight Savings option is active or not active depending on time of year. If you are using multiple bodies, make sure you do this to both.
- Delete unusable images on your camera, when possible. This will allow us to process pictures much more efficiently. Delete if the subject is drastically out of focus, subject’s face is not visible, subject’s body looks very unflattering, or subject is very small in the frame.
- Bring food, drink, and protection against the sun, bugs, and mud. You’ll be out in the elements for several hours with little relief. Most courses will have ants and other nasty bugs. Pack a shade that you can sit under during breaks in the action, as well as a lunch, water, and snacks. Bring plastic coverings for your camera equipment for weather.
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