Sports Photography Tips with Phil Hillyard

Sports Photography Tips with Phil Hillyard

my name is Phil Hillier I've been a professional photographer for over 25 years specializing in sport Eddie is father of one of the first 15 who is an avid photographer we're here to shoot some school boys rugby today Riverview taking on Kings we thought it would be a good idea to go along and lend a hand and see if we could help improve his technique got a real photographer this time when I play 30 odd years ago my dad was a bit of an amateur photographer but running up and down the sidelines wasn't his thing so I don't have any records at all I'm a bit of a sort of just shoot and hope what I'm looking for it your advice and experience to be able to make sure I can frame a shot get the lighting right really challenge myself to take the photography to another level good to see you got a monopod which is a pretty important thing for a sports photographer to have lens wise this is what I would use which is a 402a and we use a 1 DX mark – you've got the same focal length and you've also got the zoom as well so you'll be able to zoom out and get stuff that I can't get with that don't underestimate what you can do with the small lens as well if I'm running the sidelines I'll shoot a 24 to 70 and some great sports pictures actually happen with that small lens there's plenty of decent auto exposures you can use I'll probably recommend shooting an aperture priority because when we're shooting action I don't want to shoot depth of field what you need to do is make sure you've got a fast enough shutter speed to be able to freeze the action so you want to shoot at least one thousandth of a second let's go out Eddie had been asked to shoot a pregame picture of the team just before their warmup Phil helped me think that through like what's your backdrop how are you framing it and where's your light and came up with this lovely line which I don't even see there is this black foreground which was the shadow of the building behind us not only to give the boys a reference point the line up against it automatically created the bottom frame to the picture but that being dark then your eyes obviously go straight to the boys they've left the warmup and there's this transition and the intensity that the focus has really started to come into them and it was challenging because none of them was in the shadows of the tree others weren't and I talked through with Phil how do I get the light right that I can get that emotion coming out onto the ground shots is pretty difficult it's a pretty narrow guard of honor that they make so it's hard to actually get in there but you just need to blend in and be one of the people in the line it's a really emotive time you're getting the back-slapping their friends are there the intensity they're about to go out for the big game it's a really interesting little window and it's got a lot of emotion and passion around it but they have it down and is shoot away trying to get crucial moments the matter for example in rugby you know a try picture you've got to do your best to read the game we had a progression of play that was looking towards scoring a try rush down into the end goal as the prop the front row I came around the corner and then this sort of Inspector Gadget reach out to score the Tri got it did you good first strike the year I think is it I'm sure he means mum will be happy there's no better feeling when that moment happens in front of you and you release the shutter hats off to Eddie great picture line out photography is probably the go-to picture in rugby and you consider a number of ways Eddie shot this picture was probably a little bit more depth of field better capture the atmosphere of the day showed the number of the people over there there's actually worked you can try and predict and anticipate and that's a lot of what we do is try and give yourself the best opportunity put yourself in the best possible position to get the picture don't be afraid to just drop that clot to do when you see something really never take your hand off that shutter because even if it's not to your eye you can quickly move it back to your eye as long as your fingers on that shutter bang hit the autofocus and grab the picture neither of us were in a good position for it but I managed to swing and just quickly get the picture last three minutes the heart rate going and you've got to think have you got your setup right at half time that's a pretty short break why not go for a wander with your camera and have a look and see if you can make a picture someone might be tipping a drink bottle over them or you might have a coach screaming or in this example Eddie's just got a nice picture of the guys in the huddle all arm-in-arm ready to go back out with the war cries in the emotion the passion the simple fact with young boys is you put a camera in front of them they'll put on a coat for you they chant they yell they scream they love it they're responding and you're always going to get a great backdrop as well as the emotion of who's leading the chant we're pretty much all in the same light now so you can afford to get your exposure set manual don't risk the auto exposure picking up the highlights in the background we're now working as a team Eddie's going to the middle over the post see how we're in deep shadow now low and we've still got a beautiful blue sky why don't we just try and get a clean silhouette of the line here we're gonna take our exposure off the sky so we can do a quick test on anybody standing there check your settings do a test frame we worked on the line outs from a couple of angles and one of them was this silhouette shot and I struggled with it to get it right I saw the way Phil created them so that's in the bag for the next match pensee son so this minor mode son pretty proud about trying to capture it he's history he can go and tell his kids and grandkids later on what he did when he went to school and when he comes back and looks at them and says you know I'm bad old man you sort of got that one alright that's that's a nice little rap what would I do differently next time I'd be more conscious of light and the settings in the past that look in the viewfinder wouldn't really absorb all the numbers that were floating around all that stuff will end up coming automatic to you and you don't really have to think about it I've just enjoyed the opportunity to grab something I'm the son playing the game the emotion of what's going on and capture it for his history we got a favor of anything to do

14 Replies to “Sports Photography Tips with Phil Hillyard”

  1. F2.8 iso 1250 at at 3200 shutter. Why not bump down the iso a scooch? In the rush or is this combo a sweet spot on that camera body?

  2. Awesome information, thanks for that. As a beginner these types of videos I find very helpful. Just had a couple questions if you don’t mind. So you start in AV mode and lock you shutter high? Your ISO just adjusts itself?


  3. Comment at 6:10 "We've got a fair bit of editing to do.." Story of most photographers lives..1hr event..4 hrs in front of PC..LOL

  4. Sensational informative video Well done Phil it is nice to see Professionals sharing their wealth of Knowledge

  5. I think this shows why the Aussies beat us Brits so often as much as it shows us photography. Even at schoolboy level it means so much, how often do our schoolboys have a crowd?

  6. Guys this is really awesome. I am a teenage video-maker and amateur photographer from Poland. I am currently saving up money to buy an 800d for my video work and stills. That dual pixel AF and 45 cross type points will be great for my commercial work also your lines selection is amazing. Hope that this body paired with 50mm f 1,4 and 28mm f 2.8 will give me some stunning results. Take your time and develop a really good 4K codec for your budget dslrs and you will be second to none Canon!
    Greetings from Poland

  7. Again canon Australia showed how to do it. Canon Europe need to get there finger out. These canon Australia videos are brilliant

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