High School Football Photography By Dave Black

1 hr 39 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Dave and Scott cover everything from choosing your ISO, shutter speed, and white balance to the right gear for the job and the best approach for the different styles of shooting you might be interested in pursuing. Whether you are out there for the school’s sports information department, a magazine, a wire service, or a trading card company, you’ll learn all the tips and techniques the pros use to capture jaw dropping action shots as well as the peak moments that go on to define a sporting event for generations to come.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Dave and Scott introduce the class before taking a step into the studio where Dave starts to go over the gear he uses on a typical sport shoot.
Being prepared for all situations means you need to have the right gear on hand.
Back on the field and the game is getting ready to start. Dave and Scott discuss their strategies for covering a football game.
Cameras provide a lot of focus options, but you need to choose the one that will allow you to lock on to your subject and stay with them as they move around the frame.
Not every play is going to produce a picture, but you shoot it, and you look for it, and you follow the ball.
Your position on the field, from the sidelines to the end zone, is just as important as the height from which you are shooting the players.
Sometimes the action comes too close for the long lens, so having a second body with a shorter lens is critical for not missing the action.
Dave and Scott review the first half of the game and discuss the strategy for the second half.
Shooting style and purpose switches to an editorial style for the second half of the game. Dave also switches to the 70-200 for awhile.
Dave's back to the 400mm and following the action up and down the field.
Some great moments happen after the game is over, so plan to stay late and get right in there.
Profile photo of Dave Black

Meet your instructor

Dave Black


As a freelance photographer for over 30 years Dave's work has primarily centered on the sports industry for such publications as Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and the award winning TV show Sports Century on ESPN. The list of event coverage includes the Masters, Kentucky Derby, National Football League, NASCAR and extensive work regar...

Dave's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Brendan Brendan

    Can you please have a course or direct me to a course that teaches steps into getting a custom white balance for sports indoors especially for combative sports, as most including Scott were not able to ” guess” the “correct” WB IN DEGREES KELVIN. Would using a tool such as an expo disk help out? Thanks!

  2. Profile photo of Joseph Crawford Joseph Crawford

    There appears to be no way to modify my comment above, however I was referencing the wrong term. Rather than ISO I was talking about the white balance, they mentioned 5000 Kelvin when they originally stated 4550 Kelvin.

  3. Profile photo of Joseph Crawford Joseph Crawford

    FIrst I want to say that this is a great course. I will probably have to rent a camera and lens to start out with if I want to get into this more as I only have a 70D and the price of the f2.8 lens is way outside of my budget at $11k.

    In the video about camera settings Dave mentioned that his ISO was set to 4550 and that it wouldn’t change through the night. Later in the video about the second camera Scott asks Dave if his ISO is at 5500 and Dave confirms that it is 5500. Did the ISO settings change through the game or did you guys mis-state the ISO in one of the two references?

  4. Profile photo of earlemason earlemason

    Just purchased the yearly subscription and glad I did. Loved this course!! PLEASE more sports. Hockey and basketball season are upon us. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Snackem Snackem

    Great video, I learned a lot and after renting the course I’m not going to be a subscriber. I would love to see other sports covered, Basketball, Volleyball, Wrestling (with someone like Tony Rotundo, John Sachs, or Larry Slater), etc. I’m definitely going to have to watch this one again. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of TracyHardy TracyHardy

    Great course, I photograph rugby which is a little similar but we get the bonus of seeing faces and expressions. I will keep in mind some of the things I have learnt as our team is in the season finals tomorrow. I love hearing about what settings people use, as that is normally the most important thing, I don’t have a top of the range camera so it is good to hear about other options when you cannot go up to ISO 5000. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of alanjsmith93 alanjsmith93

    Must see for sports photographers! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of patcash patcash

    Awesome!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of 1144441 1144441

    Loved it — watched it a couple times. Now, please please please BASKETBALL! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of earlthesquirril earlthesquirril

    This was fantastic! I would love to see Dave cover a basketball game. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of clayteague clayteague

    I have been shooting HS football for 4 years now and still got a lot out of this class.

    Two things that are real problems that I would like to ask Dave and Scott.

    1 – How best to set white balance when the stadium lighting does not have a consistent color? Shooting on high speed continuous gives me 5 photos each with different color casts.

    2 – I find that a lot of HS football fields (and basketball) have VERY inconsistent lighting. Especially dark are the end zones. Shooting from the end zone usually ends up with players faces in shadow as the lights are positioned at the 25 yard lines. That’s why I usually cannot shoot on manual as the amount of light varies so much.

  12. Profile photo of welgemoedr welgemoedr

    Very nice course, I would really like to see one or two un-retouched photos in the high ISO ranges like 5000 ISO, just to see what is capable/possible and to compare my high ISO photos which is not so great at the moment :)

  13. Profile photo of Steve Steve

    great course, hope you do some other sports..hockey etc —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of tthoenen@gmail.com tthoenen@gmail.com

    I’ve been doing High Schools Sports for a local paper since the fall of 2008, and everything you said in the course was what I have experienced. I started; believe it or not, with a Kodak Z1012. I also covered three local colleges and Ohio State – Michigan game with it. No the shots were not great but I learned a lot about timing and patience. The z1012 had a three shot burst, so if you didn’t get it in there then you didn’t get the shot. I now cover all of Stark County and go to many different stadiums with different lighting. I was glad to hear you include the shooters that don’t have deep pockets. I used a Tamron 70-200 for over 3 seasons and now I have Canon L 70-200 IS, waht a difference I shoot with a Canon 40D with a high of 3200 ISO at time to noisy so I have to use a flash with an torpedo extender on it. What do you think about using a flash for sports? Thank you for the course, I took advantage of your trial offer and watched other videos as well a lot of good infromation. I’ve have pretty much taught myself through trial and error (long process with a lot of mistakes) but i love it. I have also received a lot of assistance from other pros in the area. Thank you again and keep the courses coming. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of spkenney spkenney

    I just watched this for the third time. I am using the tips for both highschool and college shooting. I would love it if the guys did a live critique of football/sports photography on the Grid. Also would love to here about post processing of the game shots. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Steve Bargelt Steve Bargelt

    I’d love to see more final pics from this course… what Scott took, what Dave took. I shoot a lot of HS football and I’d love to see what you two professionals came away with. Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of Big Stig Big Stig

    Great Class. still watching it but I wish you added a sectioin on changing light conditions When I shoot up here in Mi. earl season games start in daylight and change to stadium light. Also on my home pitch there is almost a stopand half difference between the center of the field and the end zones. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of SportsCircuit SportsCircuit

    Dave and Scott awesome job,you taught me so much from your video course on football, will you be creating a learning video on College or High School Womens & Mens soccer anytime soon? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of munoz45 munoz45

    Great learning video. Will be doing High School footbal soon and will use the knowledge of Mr. Black with my 70-200mm 2.8 lens untill I can afford a 400mm 2.8 lens. Need to see both basketball and volleyball instructional viseos. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of jterryjr jterryjr

    Excellent Course!!!! Just a some much information that can be applied probably to any sport. Please create a course for baseball next! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of Jerry Matthews Jerry Matthews

    I have really enjoyed this and watched it about 4 or 5 times.

    Now we need volleyball and basketball. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of nikonrick nikonrick

    Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! I ask for this tut over a year ago, and I don’t know if my comment had anything to do with filming this tut or not……but Thank you!!! I do have one comment though…… I like Dave’s idea of shooting WB set to Kelvin, BUT…….for me it wont work. I don’t know what kind of lights you were under, but ALL of the lights I shoot under cycle, and therefore you cannot pick a specific WB. AUTO is the only thing that works for me, and I just have to fix it in post. Thanks again for this tutorial. I’ve shoot high school sports for over a year now for the local paper, but I still learned A LOT……Thanks Scott and Dave!!!!! Richard —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of kfmdesigns kfmdesigns

    Awesome love it thanks for sharing —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of ramblinman ramblinman

    Dave Black’s enthusiasm is contagious! While I don’t follow football nor shoot sports, I truly enjoyed this tutorial (as I have so many on Kelby Training). Dave is simply an awesome photographer and instructor. He is also a riot and adds an element of humor to the game of photography. Hockey? Scott and Dave? Game On! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Not only is Dave Black a super photographer and teacher, I am going to nominate him for the title of “World’s nicest guy” —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of Shawn M. Knox Shawn M. Knox

    I have actually sold a lot of high school kicker photos :-) but definitely not any of college kickers, unless it is the winning score. Great course. Despite shooting a lot of high school and college football I was able to glean several good tips and Dave reenforces some things that I know but sometimes get sloppy and forget (i.e., follow the celebrations and emotions after scores). —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of didge109 didge109

    Well done. Probably more meaniful to me since I shoot football with Nikon D3S and now a D4 in the family. Liked the suggestion of turning the 400 camera around and swinging it out from the monopod and picking up the second camera with one hand for the closer photos. Curious what you did with the 400 camera when shooting with the flash and second camera, Security of my equipment is a concern. All in all I enjoyed this lesson a lot! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of Blinkygin Blinkygin

    This was a great class. Enjoyed it from beginning to end even though I have problems with video artifacts. Can’t wait for Dave Black’s 3rd Painting with Light class. Love his easy going style. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of bradlymcclendon bradlymcclendon

    Awesome course. I’ve only been shooting football for 1 season; I found the information conveyed to be extremely useful. My hit rate & my overall shot quality should improve for the upcoming season. Thanks to Dave for sharing the “how to’s” he’s learned over the last 30+ years; thanks to Scott for asking so many questions that got Dave to elaborate on his techniques. And the added bonus, I answered several of the trivia questions. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of Joseph Spoto Joseph Spoto

    I really enjoyed this course and appreciate Kelby Training paying attention to suggestions. I had requested a class like this a while back. I would love to see one on high school basketball. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of becky ruppel becky ruppel

    This was one of the best courses I’ve watched. I’ve done 2 seasons of high school football and my next season will be greatly improved. thanks Dave and Scott —- Yes, please post my feedback

  32. Profile photo of Robert Mohr Robert Mohr

    Love the format and banter between Dave and Scott. The photography style was great to see in action. A totally useful seminar. More in the heat of the moment realism would be good to see. Thanks for all you do.

    My only concern was the lack of using a White Balance Preset in the camera which both Nikons have the option of doing. Even a X-Rite or similar target under the stadium lights could have worked well. Both Scott and Dave commented about getting “close” with the White Balance. As a school sports director I would like the color of our uniforms to be as close as possible. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of viclewchenko viclewchenko

    Great class, this is just what I need. Only suggestion would be to provide more focus on shooting with cropped sensor, non-pro camera. I have a Canon 60D and 7D. Would like to learn more about dealing with high ISO noise when shooting these kinds of events. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  34. Profile photo of Ronald Vezzani Ronald Vezzani

    Great video series Scott. Thanks for sharing.

    RV —- Yes, please post my feedback

  35. Profile photo of 781556 781556

    TREMENDOUS! Scott – thanks for putting this together. And Dave is the best. I had a chance to work with him in Colorado Springs. Its not only his deep experience, but his enthusiasm for what he is doing that makes it so very enjoyable to watch. The relationship between Scott and Dave came across loud and clear in the clips – great back and forth.

    I agree with what others have said. I want to see Scott and Dave do a lot more sports photography episodes. Basketball, soccer, volleyball, hockey, LaCrosse – there are so many that I would like to see! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  36. Profile photo of martwalt martwalt

    The course helped me clarify some the of the appropriate camera settings. Some people emphasize the use of flash during action shots at high school football games as a way to capture good color and focu. It would have been helpful to comment whether flash is an intrusion into the game or not. Similar videos for other sports would be helpful. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  37. Profile photo of RPanick RPanick

    Great session, definitely one of the best sessions on Kelby training. The only thing I think you missed, what makes a good shot from a composition point of view. I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear what the two of you think. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  38. Profile photo of scottzinn scottzinn

    I loved the parts where Dave Black was shooting solo and just giving his comments on what he was doing. The back and forth with Scott was distracting and seemed to slow down the flow of information. I want to know what it’s like to shoot a game. Break the series into two parts. Show Dave Black shooting the game with ONLY Dave and as a part 2 have Scott interview Dave AWAY from the shoot and ask detailed all well constructed questions about what Dave did. THAT would add significant value. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  39. Profile photo of Scott Wiggins Scott Wiggins

    A great class with lots of tips for shooting sports, not just football. I’d love to see one on shooting ice hockey too; and not just with strobes.

    Is there any chance of making the screen with all the settings available as a PDF to download for subscribers? It would really make a good reference. Thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  40. Profile photo of jpw002 jpw002

    Thanks to Dave & Scott, allot of content that I can relate to…..look forward to more from Dave’s sports photography outings. Question to Dave, I might of missed the settings you used when you were sidelining using a flash. What where your settings? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  41. Profile photo of david6101 david6101

    Great course! I do have a question about white balance…when you shoot a high speed burst, do you find the color changing on every frame due to the lights on the stadium poles cycling up and down at 60 or 120 Hz? This has been a problem with my high school shooting experience, and I’m just wondering how you deal with that most effectively?

    Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  42. Profile photo of Stephanie1999 Stephanie1999

    Fantastic! Now I can’t want to shoot! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  43. Profile photo of alfpatricio alfpatricio

    Really really great!. But just one correction: Seņor does not really means senior. The best translation should be Sir or Mister. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  44. Profile photo of Matt Daugherty Matt Daugherty

    As usual Dave Black is awesome. Keep it coming!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  45. Profile photo of ottotekteecher ottotekteecher

    Dave Black is Awesome. Yes more please. Hockey Basketball and maybe soccer? Excellent instructor…but you already knew that!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  46. Profile photo of jonmcguffin jonmcguffin

    This was really a great lesson. Dave Black is just fantastic and very complete offering in this lesson.

    One main component was left out though that I wish he could have touched on and that is simply a little on the business end of shooting sports. With two backpacks full of over $30,000 in gear, what can a photographer charge and expect to get paid for this type of work. I wouldn’t think much at the high school level. —- Yes, please post my feedback —- Yes, please post my feedback

  47. Profile photo of future128 future128

    I am new to sports photography, lucky to connect with a local semi-pro team where I can walk the sidelines. The information in this course will be a great help when I go back next season. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  48. Profile photo of yvonnelandis yvonnelandis

    That was fun and very educational, couldn’t have come at a better time as we start to get excited for football season. I would love to see other HS sports venues as well. I do have a question about the second camera settings as the shots seemed to have more depth of field and was wondering if they were shot at 2.8? and is the focus priority the same when you use your camera “off your eye”, held up above your head? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  49. Profile photo of paulscheible paulscheible

    I really enjoyed the course. I would love to see a volleyball one soon as in many states it is during the same season as football —- Yes, please post my feedback

  50. Profile photo of sbeattie sbeattie

    I really enjoyed this training, however I would love to see more of the photos that were made during the video. In fact, it would be really great if you guys posted a gallery of photos associated with this training so that we could really study them to see the composition, focus, timing, etc. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  51. Profile photo of PaulFrocchi PaulFrocchi

    What’s not to love. DaveBlack is a superstar. Thanks Dave and Kelby for continued great lessons. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  52. Profile photo of HenriStraub HenriStraub

    FANTASTIC. Over the shoulder of Dave Black is that what i wanted. Nice guy, top video-crew. And donīt forget the interviewer, Mr. Scott Kelby himself. Great job. Please more from Dave Black, soccer, hockey, whatever comes his way, i want to join him on the field. Amazing course. Thanks from germany. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  53. Profile photo of Doug Dillon Doug Dillon

    I just want to thank Scott and Dave for a fantastic job!!!! I’m not a sports shooter but it gave so much insight into it and great tips! I love the fact it was a high school game. If I was ever going to shoot any sports, it would be local stuff with local kids (even little league baseball, etc.). So many great thoughts you shared that I had never even thought about. It’s always so good to get out of our niche and stretch some. Thanks again! As Dave said…..I’ll be going back and watching parts of this again and again. Kelby Training is sooooooo great!!! I’ve learned so much over the last few years watching all these folks that are so good at what they do. It’s not just the trainers either. My hats off to all the production folks, camera folks, and behind the scene folks that make Kelby Training the most professionally done photography and photoshop training I’ve seen anywhere!!!! Thanks to all of you and keep it coming!!!! You have a fan here!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  54. Profile photo of Charles McGill Charles McGill

    Loved it. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  55. Profile photo of sarslee sarslee

    Great course on sports photography, lots of information, but american football! I just don’t get it. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  56. Profile photo of dwgustaf dwgustaf

    Another awesome course! I love these “Day with” type of courses. Not saying that the rest are bad, just that it is a very interesting style. Thank you, guys! I learned a lot! P. S. I thought I heard Mr. Kelby say it was the Cougars that won. My high school alma matter is the Niwot Cougars from Niwot, CO. Different schools, but a Cougar is a Cougar, so go Cougars! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  57. Profile photo of Rick Luiten Rick Luiten

    This was a geat course, a lot of information. You both are great teachers. My only complaint was lack of photos. I would have loved to see a great deal more. I was expecting to see a bunch at the end of the lesson. All in all I enjoyed the course thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  58. Profile photo of Robbie Robbie

    Great course – lots of useful information. I would love to see Dave and Scott cover other high school sports such as volleyball and basketball (with strobes). —- Yes, please post my feedback

  59. Profile photo of Panther1 Panther1

    Wow! This is one incredible video. As informative and down to earth as any of the classes I’ve viewed. Dave and Scott, you’re the greatest. Thanks for putting this video on. I can’t wait for the next one. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  60. Profile photo of Alexander Cordeiro Alexander Cordeiro

    As always a great class with David Black. He’s amazing. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  61. Profile photo of 1324559 1324559

    Wow that was an amazing class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would love to see a series of other high school sports. The reason to see high school is they usually do not have the most fantastic lighting or backgrounds or room to shoot. Also this is a staple among a lot of photographers. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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