Basic Hockey Photography Tips for Parents

The hockey season is in full swing and most of you parents with hockey kids are in the arena several days a week. Catching your young Crosby in action is very important, you never know when you will have to produce a great photo of your young guy/girl for Sportsnet or a Tim Hortons commercial. Ha! That’s what we hockey parents can only dream about. Here are a few tips that may help with those great hockey photos.

ISO, Shutter Speeds, and White Balance

Most arenas are poorly lit, therefore you must use a higher ISO speed to accommodate a higher shutter speed for action stopping photos. Arenas are usually lit by mercury vapor lights, which are very blue. Most cameras have a very good Auto White Balance (AWB), but if you would like to have better control of the light, play with the manual white balance on your camera. If you set the manual white balance yourself, you will have more consistency in all your photos and this will make it easier to correct (if needed) later. The key is to make sure that your ice is white and not blue.

Adjusting Your Camera’s Light Meter

Shooting hockey photos are very similar to shooting in winter, the players are surrounded by white ice. This fools the light meter in your camera and if you shoot on “Auto”, your photos will be underexposed and your ice will appear grey. Therefore, if you are shooting on “Auto”, adjust the compensation “+/-“ to +0.5 or +1. If you are shooting on manual, overexpose your photos by +0.5 or +1 stop.

Capture More Than What’s on The Ice

Photography is about opening your eyes, look off the ice for interesting photos. This tip should be used in all your photography. It could be the kids playing mini sticks off to the side, it could be a grandpa standing at the glass, it might be a coach talking to a kid or maybe the coach talking to the team. These pictures are sometimes more impactful than the on-ice photos that we spend so much time trying to get.

Personally, my father went to every single hockey game of both my kids, he’s gone now and do you think that I have any photos of him sitting in the rink or patting my son’s head after the big game? Now those memories are only in my head. Remember, photography is about capturing those emotions of our everyday life. Once in a while they become art, and that is what we try to accomplish with every shutter that we release.

Keep shooting and don’t miss those moments! For more hockey tips, be sure to read Hockey Photography Techniques to Help You Capture Great Photos.

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