Four years ago when my daughter started playing lacrosse, I watched her 1st game from the side lines & got dragged into the excitement of the crowd. On the 3rd game I decided this heated excitement wasn't for me, so I decided to drag my D70 along on to get away from the fans. This allowed me to get lost in the game by following the ball making it almost as much fun for me as it was for the players.
From that point on, I didn't go to the games without my camera. I have upgraded my equipment over the years, and greatly improved on my skills. (Still room for more)
My daughters friends started asking her why I didn't cover their other sports games, so I expanded my experience and knowledge. I greatly enjoy getting out to shoot these young athletes who are genuinely into the sport and play with all of their passion for the game. Through my lens I do seem to see a lot of calls the officials miss, but have found it best not to get involved as they happen on both sides.
Now that I have been shooting sports for a few years, I look at the big sports photography business in the area and have lost all respect for them as action or sports photographers. They hire photographers to go to the games and shoot 3 images per player, and pretty much tell them what pose to shoot. The photographers get most of these shots during the warm up practice and don't shoot much during the game. For tournaments, they will shoot pictures on the first day and have a booth up for the second day selling their shots. I know they are providing a service for the parents and understand the overhead they have with the business so I feel their prices are reasonable. My problem though is when they pass themselves off as sports photographers.
Regardless of what they do, I still remember why I got into this and enjoy what I do. I do have a full time job, so I don't have to rely upon photography. When coworkers ask when I'm going to do this full time, I just tell them I enjoy it too much to make it my full time job.
Photo credits: James Boardman.
How to shoot events