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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anticipating Victory

The best photos of kids' sports capture their emotions, reactions and expressions.

Acton, Ma. Girls’ softball players react as their team explodes for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for the win in a Youth League tournament game vs. Woburn, Ma. (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
Nearly all the action was over when I arrived during the final inning of a girls’ softball game, but I didn’t want to settle for the boring picture of last resort -- a pitcher throwing the ball. Luckily for me, this Acton girls’ softball team was in the midst of rallying after trailing for most of the contest. I had never before seen a group of kids jointly react so strongly in anticipation. The players on the bench got increasingly more excited as their team scored six runs to win. Throughout Acton’s rally, these girls showed their excitement and amazement in an increasingly animated way. I didn’t take my focus off the bench players because I knew their facial expressions would far exceed anything I could shoot on the field and, therefore, I didn’t need to photograph any action plays during this game.

3 Tips:
1) Periodically focus on the faces of players on the bench or in the dugout.
2) Use a longer lens to provide close-ups of players’ facial expressions.
3) Keep shooting until you have a powerful photo of animated expressions.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Friendship among children often creates warm, touching photo opportunities.

Three friends walk arm-in-arm together in Lowell, Ma. (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
This may have been the easiest children’s photo I ever shot. As I returned from taking another picture, I saw these three kids with their arms around one another, walking ahead with their backs to me. I stopped the car, put on a long lens, and walked behind them, following until I got the photo I wanted of them walking in a group embrace. The only hard work I had was catching up to them and getting their names for the newspaper caption. It was a warm, touching moment of three young kids genuinely showing affection for one another.

3 Tips:
1) Children often show affection for one another in a way that provides strong photos.
2) In most cases it’s better if you capture the kids’ faces, but sometimes the warm embrace is powerful enough without facial expressions.
3) These types of photos need to be shot candidly, without interrupting the touching moment.