Shooting Images Through A Fence
OK, here is a problem many mom’s and dad’s run across trying to get shots of their kids at a sporting event. Getting stuck behind a wire fence when trying to shoot your child’s game can be a real challenge.
So how do you minimize the impact of the fence in your shots? Here’s a few quick tips:
Switch to Manual Focusing
A challenge you may face shooting through any kind of fence is that your camera may not know what to focus on – the fence or the object behind it. Switch to manual focus mode and you’ll be in complete control of what is in and out of focus.
Get close the the Fence
Ideally your best bet is to try to make the fence so out of focus that it can be barely seen in your shot. To do this one strategy is to get up very close to the fence – so close your lens has no chance of focusing on it. It may not be possible to be right up against a fence. The closer the better.
Use a Large Aperture
Choose a large aperture (making the number of your aperture as small as possible) will help to narrow the depth of focus and will hopefully through the lens even further out of focus.
Wait Until your Subject is away from the fence
If your subject is moving around behind the fence – wait until they are a little further back from the fence to take the shot. The closer they are to the fence the more the fence will be in focus.
If shooting through a part of a fence where there are reflections from the sun or other lights coming off the fence you’ll find the fence will become even more noticeable. As a result try to find a part of the fence that is shaded – or get someone to stand in a way that casts a shadow on the fence.
Incorporate the fence into your composition
It may be that the fence can become an important part of your composition – so consider breaking all the above rules to try that out!
1. Watch for action and movement. Sports like Basketball and Volleyball are consistently fast paced. Your job is not simply to capture the event, but also the connection between players. This takes some skill and anticipation.
2. Set your camera to a high ISO setting. Most recent SLR cameras will now allow you to shoot on 1000 ISO or even 1250 ISO. These options will reduce your concern for noticeable film grain (from ISO 1600). At the same time, your camera’s sensor will be more sensitive to what little available light you have.
3. Shoot with a fast shutter speed – at least TV/200 if you can. Once again, because you need to capture movement, a fast shutter speed will freeze the motion of the athletes, giving you a clear photo. [And if it comes down to it, settle for an underexposed image in camera. You can always adjust a sharp photo later].
4. Use a lens with the lowest aperture possible, say f4.0 to f2.8. Because you don’t have much available light, and you are working with a faster shutter speed, a wide aperture is your best friend in this setting. A wider aperture will increase the intensity of the light hitting your sensor, maximizing the available light.
5. Look for expression. Anger. Aggression. Rivalry. Teamwork. Excitement. Victory. You cannot successfully shoot any sport without watching, waiting, and capturing the emotions and relationships of the game. You will win at the end of the day if you have an emotional picture that isn’t completely sharp.
6. Shoot in RAW. The likelihood that you will achieve perfect coloring in camera is slim. Gym lighting is as notorious for green tinted lighting as it is for low lighting in general. Shooting in RAW will enable you to fix the colors in your post processing.