Baseball Photo Tips

Learn How to Successfully Shoot Photos at Baseball and Softball Games

Man playing baseball
Dmytro Aksonov/Getty Images

When shooting photos for certain outdoor sports, such as baseball and softball, you’ll encounter a variety of shooting situations. You’ll have the speed of action shots, the staged team photos, and almost everything in between.

One of the great benefits to shooting baseball and softball photos versus other types of sports photography, such as basketball or volleyball, is that you'll be shooting outside, which is an easier location than shooting indoors for fast action sports photography. You'll receive better results from your baseball and softball photography when shooting during the day, rather than at night too, as you'll be able to stop the action better in good sunlight. 

Consider these nine tips

  1. One of the great things about baseball and softball photography is you aren’t limited to action photos. Shoot pictures of the players in the dugout interacting or cheering on teammates, for example. Be creative when shooting baseball and softball games.
  2. Another great thing about baseball is that you can predict where the action will be much of the time. The pitcher starts every play, allowing you to focus on him. With a runner on first base, there’s a good chance of a pickoff throw and the runner diving back to the base. If the batter hits a high popup, the fielder may settle under the ball for a few seconds, giving you time to find him and focus. Take advantage of these situations for shooting some action photos, while having time to focus. Try to anticipate the flow of the ball during a play and make sure you time your photo just right.
  3. During breaks in the action, shoot some photos of the stadium. Don’t just shoot inside the stadium, either. Try some photos on your way into the stadium, especially if you’re trying to document a special day or a special trip to the ballpark.
  1. While inside the stadium, you'll find that baseball stadiums are filled with great angles and repeating patterns, such as the stadium seats pictured above. These physical items may not have anything to do with the action on the field, but they can provide amazing photographs just the same. So look for these types of architectural features all around the ballpark.
  2. Take some time before the game to learn about the team you’re photographing. For example, does the team have any special traditions for celebrating home runs? Does the pitcher celebrate her strikeouts with her teammates inside the softball pitching circle? Anticipate those situations occurring in the game, and make sure you’re ready to capture the celebratory photo that might only happen a few times per game.
  3. Use your camera’s burst mode to capture a batter swinging or a close play at home plate. You’ll have a cool set of photos that show how a particular play unfolded by using burst mode.
  4. When shooting baseball or softball during the day, you’ll have an easier time capturing action photos because you can shoot at a high shutter speed. For a night game, the action will be tougher to “stop” because you have to shoot at a lower shutter speed, so be ready to shoot some non-action photos, too. Otherwise, for shooting at night, increase the camera's ISO, which will make the image sensor more sensitive to light, allowing you to shoot at a higher shutter speed.
  1. When shooting team photos of your son or daughter's team, you're going to want to follow many of the same principles that make a successful group photo. Make sure everyone's faces are an equal distance away from the camera, for example. If you want some posed photos, but the kids want some crazy and fun photos, ask them to pose for a few minutes first and then let them go crazy for a second set of photos.
  2. Finally, if you have a favorite player on whom you want to focus at a large professional stadium, arrive early for the game and shoot some batting practice or warm-up photos before the game. Opportunities for good photos during the game could be limited for your favorite player, but by arriving early, you’ll guarantee yourself of having several good photos for the day. During pre-game warm-ups, especially at Major League stadiums, you’ll probably be freer to roam around the stadium and get closer to the action for your photos than you will be once the game starts.