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San Jose Sharks Photo Tips: Use of Light

by Brandon Magnus, Team Photographer @sanjosesharks /

First off, I would like to say that I hope that all our fans are staying healthy and safe with their families. I know this is a difficult time for many of us, and not being able to watch our favorite hockey players out on the ice can make it even more challenging, but our health comes first and I have no doubt that we will all come back from this as an even stronger community than before.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to capture moments throughout this Sharks season and share them with all of you. To help pass the time, I've created some helpful tips that you can use at home to work on your photography skills!

Finding the light:

"Finding the light" is a concept I've mentioned before and it is something that I will continue to bring up because it is so important. Always look for where the best light might be when you are shooting - it can make all the difference between a good and bad photo.

On gamedays, I arrive at work a few hours before puck drop to capture photos of the players arriving at the arena. These photos are great to highlight each players' mood, personality, and fashion before they put on their Sharks Jersey.

One of my favorite spots to shoot in is the hallway right before they enter their locker room. There are three giant walls with Sharks branding on them and the photos really "pop" with the teal.

The only issue though, is that the hallways are pretty dark with only a few overhead lights in certain areas. That means I need to have my timing down and know when each player will walk right under one of the overhead lights.

Here is an example of "finding the light":

As you can see in the photo to the left, Sharks forward Melker Karlsson has a nice light above him and is exposed properly, but as soon as he walked forward/past the light above him like in the photo to the right, he looks much darker and he appears underexposed. There is a pretty big difference in these two photos even though they were taken seconds apart.

Sometimes none of your lighting will be good and you will have to use whatever ambient light you have available. In that case, your best bet is to shoot with a low shutter speed, a wide aperture (f 2.8 or lower), and a higher ISO. So, while you're at home, try to photograph your subject (or furry friend!) by a lamp, overhead light, or even a flashlight to see how different your results will be.

NOTE: When shooting at a low shutter speed, try not to go under 1/100 or else you're likely to get a blurry image. The aperture is what controls how much light goes into the lens, so a wide aperture provides a larger hole to bring more light in, this would be f1.2-f4. Finally, you can set your ISO to auto to help with exposure if you need to but remember, the higher the ISO (2500 or above) the grainier your images will look.

Window Light:

Window light can be your best friend, especially for portraits! And fortunately for you, there are more windows in your home than there are in the Sharks locker room.

Different size windows will give you a range of results - bigger windows will give you more light to wrap around the subject, while smaller windows will give you a more focused beam of light with less wrap around.

Take a look at the image below of Radim Simek looking out of an AirShark window:

(Shot with 24-70mm lens. Shutter speed 1/640, f2.8, ISO 1600)

Since the window is pretty small only the front of Simek's face/arm is lit and the rest of him is dark. If this window were larger, the light would reach further and wrap around him with less shadows.

Take your subject, person or item, (or did I mention furry friend?) to a nearby window and snap some photos with different camera settings and angles to see what you can create.

NOTE: When most people start photography, they have their camera set to Auto (that includes myself way back when). This lets the camera do all the hard work for you by figuring out the exposure, but now is a great time for you to work on using the Manual setting. The Manual setting puts you in full control of deciding the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Once you have a better understanding of these three and can shoot on Manual your photography will grow to the next level.

I hope these tips help you grow and expand your photography knowledge little by little. I look forward to sharing more ideas with you and feel free to let us know what you would like to learn about and hear as well!

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