Below is some guidance on equipment and techniques I use for photographing cricket matches;

Local cricket grounds vary in size but tend to be a lot smaller than those of county cricket grounds, where very large telephoto lenses  would be required to capture the action. Access at major cricket grounds may also be restricted, so make the most of the relatively unrestricted access you have at smaller local grounds. 

There is no one ideal place to set your camera up at a cricket match. It is useful to walk around the boundary to get an idea of the different angles and different shots you can get. But remember not to walk behind the bowlers arm when they are bowling - you'll upset the batsman! 

To get the shot, you need to anticipate the action, cricket can be a very fast game. Watch how the batsman moves when a ball is being delivered, and anticipate when he or she is about to hit it. Press the shutter button just before they hit the ball, otherwise  you probably won't get the ball in the picture. Keep shooting when the player swings the bat and you may be lucky to get a photo of the ball hitting the wicket - always a favourite. When the player has hit the ball and starts their run, listen out for players shouting for the ball to be thrown to the wicket keepers end or bowlers end, this suggests that there may be a run out, train your camera on the end the ball is thrown and you may be lucky to get a picture of the run-out. 

Don't just concentrate on the batsman and bowlers, remember to look out for interactions between fielders and between players and umpires.  Don't let rain put you off either, some good shots can be had by photographing players and umpires running off the pitch, or players moving the covers into place.

You can use different focal length lenses, smaller focal lengths will give you a good overview of the ground and its surroundings. If your aim is to capture action, then ideally you will need to capture the expressions of the cricketers faces therefore, for capturing action and expressions, you will probably be looking at focal lengths greater than 500mm. The majority of cricket  photographs on this site were taken with a combination of a 400mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter (equivalent of 560mm) or a 600mm lens, even then expect to crop the images for greater impact.

Currently I use Nikon DSLR cameras with a variety of lenses. For cricket, the favourite and most useful combination is the 400mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter or a 600mm lens. For T20 matches and one day matches I tend to use a monopod with these lenses as I can move around the ground quicker. For 4 and 5 day matches I will use a tripod.  I also use 24-70mm and 70-200mm zoom for more general shots. Digital images are now edited/captioned and cropped using Photo-Mechanic. Post production is undertaken on RAW images using Adobe Lightroom. 

For camera settings I use manual mode, using shutter speeds from  1/1250 - 1/2000. F stops generally between f4 and f5.6. I will generally use the auto ISO setting. With auto ISO you can still tweek settings using the exposure compensation dial (+/-). Alternatively, try some panning shots and use a low shutter speed, or try multiple exposures to get the effect of movement.

Unless I need to transmit photos quickly, I use camera Raw quality setting, as this will allow more control over editing once the images have been download to the photo-editing software.

If I do need to transmit photos quickly (whilst the match is still in progress) to send photos via email or for use on social media, I  shoot Jpegs. Using picture controls on the Nikon D5 and Nikon D4 (Photo Shooting Menu) I can set the overall 'look' of the picture eg standard, neutral, vibrant, and then alter specific elements such as sharpening, contrast, saturation. I use standard, and increase the sharpening to around 6 and add a small amount of contrast. I tend not to alter the saturation, hue or brightness. These picture controls enables the pictures to be 'processed' in-camera, avoiding the need to undertake time consuming post-processing.   The Nikon D4 and D5 allows you to shoot both Raw and Jpegs at the same time. This means I can transmit small Jpeg files for use on social media/websites and use the larger Raw files to export to Lightroom for post production for making prints to sell.

On my Nikon cameras the auto focus setting is 'Continuous' (AF-C), dynamic-area AF (either single or 9 point), assign AF-ON button for focusing (back button focusing). Aperture priority or manual exposure settings are used. 

I try to watch out for distracting backgrounds when taking photos, but this isn't always easy,  the use of a wide aperture to help blur  backgrounds helps and makes the subject stand-out. A wider aperture also helps obtain a faster shutter speed . 

The key to getting sharp images with long lenses is to use a good camera support. I currently use a Gitzo GT5543LS Systematic tripod with Manfrotto 808RC4 head and Gitzo monopod.  

Most of the equipment I use is 'pre-used' to avoid the high cost of new equipment. I have found that retailers such as Grays of Westminster and WEX are good sources of used equipment.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In