Updated: May 3, 2020
Golf is a frustratingly addicting game that I attempt to enjoy. I've found that the best way to salvage a round of golf is to bring my camera along. I have a much better chance at getting a good shot with my camera than I do with my 5 iron.
The best thing about photography and golf is that it combines scenic shots with sports action photos. Some of my favorite photos have been taken on the golf course; lakes, gardens, deer, swans.
I routinely volunteer as a photographer for charity golf tournaments. This is a great way to donate to a cause while capturing memories for participants. My formula for shooting golf outings - outlined below - follows is fairly simple.
- Pick a par three hole where pace of play usually slows. This will give you some extra time to capture photos of the entire foursome.
- Ask players if they mind if you take pictures during their swing - some golfers don't like having their photo taken. (Golf is a sport where tempers flare quickly).
- Also ask if anyone in the group plays left handed - you'll need to station yourself on a different side of the tee box depending how the players dominant hand.
- Stand far off the tee box and only slightly ahead of the golfer - just in case a player shanks a ball in your direction. The shot featured in this blog is a shining example of a tee shot gone wrong, fortunately the ball went straight up - shortest drive of the day - didn't even make it past the tee box much less the ladies tee.
- Set your shutter speed to 1/800 or faster to capture the swing. Slower will blur motion and effectively show the club and ball path - a faster shutter speed will capture the ball more sharply.
- Set the camera to continuous mode so that multiple exposures may be captured rapidly.
- Place the shutter in quiet mode so that the snapping of the lens does not annoy players.
- Take a few photos as the player takes practice swings to make sure your setting are good. In fact sometimes I don't take photos during their actual shot as the ones I took in advance are acceptable.
- Don't zoom in too close or you portions of the player or the club swing path could be out of frame.
- Swing completion and finish make great shots, while ball contact is more difficult to capture.
- Understand where the sun is and how that will effect your shots.
- Include a nature or course feature in the background if possible.
- Add some graphics in post production to commemorate the event (sample below).