Submitting a photo? Here’s a few pointers

Published 10:19 am Thursday, June 23, 2016

Here at the Vicksburg Post, we love it when our readers submit photos. Whether it’s a simple team picture or a top-notch sports action photo, a landscape of a sunset on the river or a bird in flight, we’ll happily take them all in and run them when and where we can.

It’s always a bummer, however, when I open an e-mail with a photo and it looks like a herd of Bigfoots walking through the woods — grainy, out of focus, seemingly taken from three towns over and ultimately unusable.

So, with that in mind, here are some tips on how to take some good sports photos when you’re out on your field of choice this summer. Even if you don’t submit them to us (e-mail at sports@vicksburgpost.com is the best way) for publication, hopefully it’ll help you get some better quality keepsakes for your personal albums.

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• Know your equipment, and what it can and can’t do. This is probably the most important piece of knowledge for a photographer to have. It’s extremely difficult to take a good action photo with a cellphone or many low-end cameras. It’s impossible at night. They simply can’t focus fast enough to capture the image. So don’t try to do too much.

If all you have is your phone, take a picture of the subject when they’re standing still, like in the batter’s box, or posed in a group.

• Get close and fill up the frame. We get a lot of submitted photos that look like they were taken from space. In reality, they were taken from about 100 feet away or in the stands. If you’re too far away, you end up losing the subject in the background of the photo. A quality photo has a focal point that draws you in. Too much open or “dead” space on either side, and that attribute is lost.

• Be aware of your lighting. If you’re taking a group photo, make sure the sun is to the side or at your back. If it’s behind the group, it’s like looking into the high beams of an oncoming truck. You can’t see anyone’s faces. If it’s at night, use a flash or gather everyone under a bright light.

• Get everyone’s names. If you’re submitting a photo to us for publication, please make sure to include who is in it and a brief description of what’s going on. It helps us to write a better caption and get our facts straight.

Good luck to all of our amateur photographers out there. Hopefully these tips will help everyone up their game this summer.

Ernest Bowker can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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