4. Show the player’s facial expression, if possible.
In photojournalism, they call this a “reaction shot.” This is one of many important baseball photography tips: It’s the look of triumph or tragedy written indelibly on the player’s face. It’s what every good photo editor looks for in baseball photos that will make tomorrow’s sports section.
And reaction shots — facial expressions — will make your baseball pictures too. What types of facial expressions? We’ve already referred to the look of triumph or tragedy — on television, what they refer to as the look of “agony or ecstasy.” That’s what you want to capture in your picture: The joyous grin of the batter as he watches the ball sail over the fence. The exultation of the pitcher after he throws a third strike. The look of disgust as the batter slams his bat down after striking out. The cheers — or dejection — of the waiting players in the dugout as they watch their teammate get a crucial hit…or strike out. The grimace of distress on the pitcher’s face as the umpire calls “Ball Four.” And, of course, the angry look of the coach as he argues with the umpire.
But, don’t forget, all reaction shots are not on the field. Turn around and take pictures of the fans in the stands whose faces reflect the action on the field. There’s human action everywhere you look – on the field and in the stands. And good reaction photos are winners!
Realize this: You can’t always capture the critical moment of the action. Sometimes it takes place out of your camera range. Sometimes you just plain miss it. But you can, and should, try to get great reaction shots at every game.
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