Did you get that [soccer goal]?

Oh. How I despise those words.

Why? Let me backtrack first. I’ve photographed my kid’s soccer teams for many years now. It’s fun and challenging and keeps me active during the game, but there is one question that I get asked every year when a kid makes a goal. In an age of instant replay, people think photos are just like video. It is not.

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There are rare times when I’m lined up just right to get that tight, well composed, perfectly timed photo. Many years ago, I beat myself up for not being in the right spot or not having a fast enough camera (fps), but neither of these would make a difference.

Why?

  1. Professionals don’t get this shot every time either (without a team of photographers from multiple angles). And if you are on the wrong side of the goal, your shot could be blocked by the net.
  2. People expect the expression on the player’s face to be the same between when they kick the ball to when the ball is past the goalie. It does not. This is worse with non-professional players as the ball is not as fast (and takes longer to get to the goal).

Photos are not video. In an instant replay:

  1. You remember the expression when they kick that ball,
  2. (You stop watching the player’s face)
  3. and then watch the ball go in.

Your memory is a composite of the parts that stick.

Journalism/documentary photography is not a composite. Photoshopping also doesn’t make sense as the ball would be at both the players foot and past the goalie.

Plea

So please, please, PLEASE don’t ask your team photographer if they got the [goal] shot. If they are like me, I try to position myself for shooting:

  • ALL the game
  • (and as many of the players — not just the forwards)
  • and not just the goal shot.

And if you are a novice team photographer, don’t fret! It isn’t easy on the best day and there are plenty of other shots that are worth pursuing.

I, personally, like the shots showing perseverance, players struggling to keep the ball, the initial take off after a ball (not the kick off) or the wind up to really giving the ball a big kick.

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